2018 Volkswagen Atlas SEL R-Line
three.6-liter V6 (276 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm; 266 lb-ft @ 2,750 rpm)
Eight-velocity automated, entrance-wheel drive
18 metropolis / 25 freeway / 20 mixed (EPA Score, MPG)
10.eight metropolis, eight.9 freeway, 10.zero mixed. (NRCan Score, L/100km)
Base Worth: $forty,890 (U.S) / $forty eight,990 (Canada)
As Examined: $forty three,775 (U.S.) / $50,950 (Canada)
Costs embrace $925 vacation spot cost in the USA and $1,945 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, due to cross-border gear variations, can’t be immediately in contrast.
All of us like consolation meals. It’s not attractive, it might even be bland, nevertheless it retains us feeling full and fulfilled. Meatloaf, a basic steak and potatoes, a scorching turkey plate – all of these things serve that objective.
I don’t know sufficient about German delicacies to guess what constitutes consolation meals in Wolfsburg, and I don’t need to stereotype with guesses about spaetzle and schnitzel. No matter passes for hale and hearty fare in Decrease Saxony probably shares quite a bit with the texture of the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas.
Huge, boxy, and brawny-wanting, the blocky Atlas has one fundamental mission – rise up to seven people from level A to B merely and comfortably. Whereas there are many trendy features, that doesn’t imply there’s frills or design silliness, and whereas it presents sufficient energy to do the job, it’s not exactly constructed for velocity.
Full disclosure: Typically an auto journalist can organize a press-car mortgage when touring. I used to be in Los Angeles and Orange County for a full week for occasions, so I organized for a press mortgage. I selected the Atlas as a result of I hadn’t pushed one but. Additionally, I obtained nailed for Orange County tolls since I’ve no FastPass, and have since paid the $12 owed.
I used to be ready for boredom once I picked the Atlas up on the parking storage simply east of LAX. My test vehicle was white with an all-black interior, and the boxy form doesn’t precisely encourage. However automobiles are rather more than their styling, so I hopped in and headed out.
Most of my preliminary mileage got here on the freeway, and the Atlas feels best suited to the leisurely cruise. Certainly the MQB platform deserves some credit score for that – the Atlas might look truck-based mostly to non-car-individuals, however everyone knows it shares its underpinnings with the Jetta and Passat and Arteon. I can’t say the Atlas feels as “car-like” as different unibody SUVs, however the journey continues to be higher than what a physique-on-body SUV would’ve offered prior to now.
Volkswagen touts its weight-saving measures, however even with the eye paid to slicing kilos, my entrance-drive tester nonetheless weighed in at four,336 of them. Not obscenely heavy, however sufficient to tax the 276 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque from the three.6-liter V6. The excellent news is that peak torque comes into play at lower than three,000 rpm, so it’s there if you want it for passing.
I might’ve spent all my time within the Atlas on the freeway and floor streets, like most Angelinos do, however I had a pair hours to kill and was leaving a lodge that was a brief drive away from Malibu’s most well-known roads, together with the Mulholland Snake. So I did what any proprietor of a seven-seat kidmobile would do – I took it to the canyons and drove it onerous. I think I perplexed the bros who movie the Snake for additional YouTube perusing – I do know the California Freeway patrolman who was hanging out gave me a bemused look as I roared up the hill.
The Atlas reacted predictably – numerous physique roll and a way of unease when pushed a bit of too onerous. Not surprising – it’s not meant for this obligation, even when it does have an unbiased suspension throughout.
At the very least the steering felt fairly related to the street and nicely weighted, and the eight-velocity automated by no means fouled up the proceedings.
What was surprising was that the Atlas and I settled right into a rhythm as soon as I discovered how far I might push it. Once more, it wasn’t completely happy within the canyons, nevertheless it turned manageable after some time.
Circling again to freeway cruising – not solely does the Atlas really feel nicely-suited to that from a journey perspective, it’s additionally obtained the right interior for lengthy drives. My physique by no means complained after an extended trek, and I had a couple of two-hour-plus stints behind the wheel. I had loads of room up entrance, as nicely.
I typically roll my eyes at that maudlin Atlas advert that includes a household hauling an aged lady of Irish respectable throughout America to deposit her late husband’s ashes, however cynical heartstring tugging apart, the advert’s rivalry that the Atlas is snug for lengthy street journeys with seven passengers is truthful. This factor is function-constructed for that.
The interior is standard Volkswagen fare – numerous Vader black, easy switchgear, few frills. My test vehicle included Apple CarPlay/smartphone integration, leatherette seat surfaces, USB, satellite tv for pc radio, tri-zone local weather management, and heated entrance seats. Apparently, you’ll be able to’t get navigation with the SEL V6.
The R-Line look package deal added 20-inch wheels, distinctive bumpers and trim, particular badging, and chrome steel pedals. It’s not a lot of a efficiency enhancer – it’s extra about present than go.
Different features included adaptive cruise management, rear-view digital camera, ahead-collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, park-distance management entrance and rear, lane-departure warning, energy liftgate, and blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-visitors alert.
Comfort meals is meant to be reasonably priced, and that is the place the Atlas loses the plot. The SEL I examined began at $forty,890. That’s with out nav, VW’s digital cockpit/configurable-gauge system (you’ll have to step as much as Premium trim for that), and all-wheel drive. Want any of these, and also you’re spending additional cash.
The one choice was the R-Line package deal. In order that’s $1,960, plus the $925 vacation spot charge, for a complete of $forty three,775. A tad steep, a minimum of on this scribe’s opinion.
As a commuter SUV, the Atlas is a high-quality vehicle – I even managed 20.2 mixed mpg regardless of the hefty weight and V6 energy. It’s cozy on the freeway, roomy, and interior supplies really feel upscale. However the $43K price tag for FWD and no nav provides me pause.
I assume even the upscale joints serve consolation meals lately.
[Images © 2018 Tim Healey/TTAC, Volkswagen]
– 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SEL R-Line Review – German Comfort Food –
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