I spent every week in a V6 SEL mannequin with 4Motion in Reflex Silver over black leatherette, with solely a few choices. It featured 20-inch black alloy wheels and second row captain’s chairs, bringing it to a grand complete of $forty five,235.
It is giant, in and out
General, the Atlas looks like a pleasant compromise between three-row roominess and exterior dimensions. Whereas it is a subjective evaluation, some three-row crossovers drive “greater” than they’re – the Atlas, however, feels good. Good sightlines helped. And whereas Shopper Editor Jeremy Korzeniewsky, on our first drive review of the Atlas, felt the exterior styling was vanilla and inoffensive (fact), its sharp creasing and exaggerated character strains approached good-looking to my eyes. Bolder colours would definitely assist, just like the obtainable Tourmaline Blue, Kurkuma Yellow, or Fortana Purple, though in the actual world most automobiles can be black, white, or silver, as is the overwhelming American choice.
Third-row entry and luxury is superb
The third row is one way or the other grownup pleasant. Not simply when it comes to headroom, though there’s loads of that. The second-row captain’s chairs may be pulled up an inexpensive distance permitting for good knee room for each second and third rows. Most significantly, giant and ethereal aspect home windows forestall issues from seeming too darkish and claustrophobic again there. Even the seat cushions themselves, often an afterthought since fold-flat potential is paramount, are snug.
The journey is not as much as snuff
Now for some gripes. Most obvious is the journey high quality. The 20-inch wheels possible do not assist, however the Atlas bucks, tosses, and rolls via delicate street imperfections. Typically it looks like every nook has its personal damping calibration, given the wild physique motions imparted to the driving force. Volkswagen historically tuned its suspensions nearer to the European best, agency however properly-damped, which by the way made even non-fanatic Volkswagens extra nice than common to drive (with a couple of current exceptions). However Volkswagen made a acutely aware choice to melt up the Jetta for American tastes, past what softening Volkswagen historically utilized, and it looks like this philosophy scaled as much as the a lot bigger Atlas. Perhaps the delicate experience impresses on test drives, however a firmer setup would doubtless make life nicer for occupants over the lengthy haul.
Obscure steering lets the Atlas down
The steering can also be numb to the purpose of imprecision. Many overboosted, electrically-assisted steering racks are lifeless, and nobody expects the Atlas to offer Porsche-like crispness. However the degree of disconnect between steering wheel and entrance tires proves disconcerting. This isn’t a small vehicle, and it takes an additional degree of consideration to guess-and-examine lane placement. Over the course of the week, I adjusted to the rack’s peculiarities, however it took quite a bit longer than regular. Volkswagen is aware of tips on how to make an electrically-assisted steering rack work correctly, so maybe that is one thing the corporate will tackle in a refresh. The Atlas is, in any case, a model new vehicle.
Wishing for a extra distinctive interior design
One final gripe: the interior design, whereas completely inoffensive, is not terribly distinctive. It is basic Volkswagen, scaled as much as match the bigger Atlas interior dimensions, however with out a lot character of its personal. Nothing actually says “Atlas” about it – extra to the purpose, there is a generic high quality to the wooden inlay throughout the passenger sprint, and the chunky and really plastic HVAC vents. Volkswagen appears to be saving some cash by avoiding extra premium supplies and designs, which even the 2019 Jetta incorporates. That car has extra fascinating shapes and interfaces between numerous parts, and if Volkswagen would have scaled it as much as match the Atlas’ size, it would be a way more profitable interior. Alas, we’re caught with the Atlas’ mediocre interior for at the least a couple of years.
Gripes apart, the Atlas has quite a bit to supply
What Atlas will get proper is sufficient to justify its existence: distinctive however inoffensive exterior styling and superior interior packaging. The journey high quality, steering, and interior design are sub-par, however possible will not offend any potential consumers to the purpose of selecting a competitor. What is going on to be actually fascinating is to see what Volkswagen decides to enhance at its eventual mid-cycle refresh, and whether or not that may take this three-row crossover excessive.
– 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SEL V6 Quick Spin Review –
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