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The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Volkswagen Unveils Three-Row Atlas SUV for 2018

October 28, 2016

Photo of 2018 Atlas courtesy of Volkswagen.
Photo of 2018 Atlas courtesy of Volkswagen.

Volkswagen has revealed its new flagship SUV, called Atlas, ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show — a three-row utility vehicle that brings the automaker into a highly competitive category.

Volkswagen will offer Atlas with the 2018 model year and display it at the show, which begins Nov. 18. The automaker unveiled it at the Santa Monica Pier at the end of historic Route 66 on Oct. 27. The SUV, which will be built at the company's Chattanooga, Tenn., assembly plant, will likely replace the Touareg luxury SUV. It will arrive at dealer lots in the spring.

The 2018 Atlas will be offered in five trim grades. Buyers have a choice of two engines, including the standard 2.0L turbocharged, direct-injection TSI four-cylinder that makes 238 hp and optional 3.6L VR6 six-cylinder that makes 280 hp. An 8-speed automatic transmission will deliver power to a standard front-wheel drivetrain or optional 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.

The VR6 engine is the same V-6 found in the Touareg and Passat. The 2.0L (EA888) is sourced from Audi and powers several Volkswagen Group models including the A3, A4, and Volkswagen Golf, said Mark Gillis, a Volkswagen spokesman.

Schematic of 2018 Atlas seating courtesy of Volkswagen.
Schematic of 2018 Atlas seating courtesy of Volkswagen.

The Atlas is built on Volkswagen's Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) platform. It will measure 198.3 inches in length, 77.9 inches width, and 69.6 inches high. It's length is inline with the Ford Explorer (198.3 inches) and exceeds several other mid-size three-row SUVs such as the Nissan Pathfinder (197.2 inches), Honda Pilot (194.5 inches), and Toyota Highlander (191.1 inches).

Other competitive vehicles include the Dodge Durango, Mazda CX-9, GMC Acadia, and Hyundai Santa Fe.

Optional driver-assisting features include adaptive cruise control; forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking; blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert; lane departure warning, which helps the driver steer the car back into its lane; and park assist.

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