On October 27, German car maker Volkswagen introduced its new seven-seat SUV at an event in Santa Monica, California, and followed with an interview from two of its leading developers on the company’s newsroom.
The Atlas 2018 will be Volkswagen biggest vehicle produced in the United States to date. There are going to be two versions featuring two different engines and a variety of technological improvements regarding safety and driver assistance.
Volkswagen Atlas 2018: Features and specs
The Atlas will stand in Volkswagen’s signature MQB platform and will be approximately 198.3 inches long, 77.9 inches wide, and 69.6 inches tall (5m x 2m x 1.7m).
The Atlas will be the first VW entirely built in America, with production taking place at their plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The standard Atlas wil have a 2 lt 238 hp turbocharged 4V engine while the Volkswagen upgraded version of the SUV will have a 3.6-liter VR6 engine with 280 hp.
Volkswagen Atlas will come with an eight-speed automatic transmission that can change to manual shift and front-wheel drive. The VR6 variant will include VW’s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system, with settings for different terrains, including ‘Snow’ and ‘Off Road.’
Safety features will include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, emergency systems on the brakes, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, a parking assistant, and post-collision braking technology, aimed to reduce further crashes after the first impact.
The Atlas introduces a new type of digital gauge cluster, big and customizable. Also, an LCD screen for its entertainment applications, which support Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink integration.
Volkswagen has not confirmed an expeced price or release date yet for the Atlas 2018.
Volkswagen Atlas 2018, an SUV for outgoing American families
Volkswagen said in an interview the Atlas would feel like a premium car but that the price would not be too high.
The designers highlighted the car’s roominess as its primary appealing feature. James Burch, the Product Manager at VW of America, said the third-row seats were for everyone, not just for children.
“WE WANTED TO COMBINE VOLKSWAGEN’S SPECIFIC STRENGTHS WITH THE AMERICAN MARKET NEEDS, AND BUILD A VEHICLE FOR AN ACTIVE FAMILY THAT NEEDS SPACE, WITH SEVEN SEATS. IT’S BUILT IN THE U.S., FOR THE U.S., AND IT’S SPECIFICALLY TAILORED FOR THIS MARKET,” said Elmar Licharz, Product Line Manager for Midsize SUVs.
He added Volkswagen’s shift from compact-car maker to leading producer of SUVs would start to change with the introduction of the Atlas, built with their customer base in mind, and catering to their growing families and changing lifestyles.