Volkswagen pulled the wraps off its new mid-sized American-built SUV – due next spring – and has dubbed the new 3-row sport utility Atlas. The seven-passenger Atlas has almost exactly the same exterior dimensions as the Ford Explorer, at a price VW promises will “draw customers’ attention in the family SUV segment” without clarifying for us exactly what that price would be.
For reference, the best-selling Ford Explorer ranges from the lower $30,000s to the lower $50,000s.
Two engines are available in the Atlas: a 238-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection TSI four or a 280-hp 3.6-liter VR6. Both engines power the front wheels but the VR6 can also be mated to VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. Both powertrains include an eight-speed automatic.
The Atlas is yet another variant of the MQB architecture that supports every front-transverse-engine Volkswagen product from the Golf to the Tiguan, including Audis and Skodas. Volkswagen promises an “innovative” folding second row seat that allows access to the third row even when child seats are in the second row, a feature already found on the new Chrysler Pacifica.
Connectivity is important to buyers nowadays and the Atlas will offer App-Connect that works with smart phones’ Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink. Available audio tops out with a 12-speaker Fender Premium Audio System. There will also be a number of electronic safety features available including: Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (which includes Post-Collision Braking to keep your Atlas in place after a crash), Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Departure Warning, and Park Assist.
The Atlas will be built in Chattanooga alongside the Passat.