Volkswagen has just revealed their newest and biggest SUV. The three-row SUV is all new, and slots above the Touareg in the automaker’s lineup. Moving away from Volkswagen’s traditional wind-based naming system, the new SUV is called the Atlas. It will be built at VW’s Chattanooga Tennessee plant and will arrive at dealers around June of 2017.
Powertrain choices will be from existing VW vehicles. Base is a 2.0L turbocharged and direct-injected four cylinder that produces 238 hp. Top engine choice is a 3.6L VR6 narrow-angled V6 with 280 hp. Both engines get an eight-speed automatic, and VR6 models can have optional all-wheel drive.
This is a big SUV, falling within three centimetres in every exterior dimension of a Ford Explorer. With great size comes great interior room, and Volkswagen says that all three rows will fit adult-sized passengers. VW claims that the innovative folding middle row seats can fold forward to allow rear seat access even with a child seat attached.
Apple CarPlan and Android Auto will be available along with a 12-speaker Fender audio system. The Atlas will get a large range of optional active safety features, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with emergency braking, blind spot assist, lane departure assist, and park steering assist. A unique-in-class feature for the Atlas will be post-collision braking. It applies and holds full braking when a collision is detected. That works to ensure that if the driver fails to, or is unable to brake after the collision, that the SUV will come to a stop as quickly as possible.
The look of the new SUV shares some resemblance with the Touareg and Tiguan, but with added toughness. It’s more square, and the standard LED headlights are more bold. The interior looks very much like the Touareg, but bigger, with a broad and flat dash. The gauges will get an optional digital cockpit screen, much like Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.
Pricing and fuel economy ratings will be available closer to the on-sale date in the first half of 2017.
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