Designing a new vehicle is exciting stuff: You get to brainstorm, flex your creative muscles, imagine all the possibilities. You get to think about what the eventual drivers and passengers would want — really want — and how you can execute that into a livable, drivable machine.
So it was with Volkswagen designers when they started crafting an all-new Volkswagen SUV. What did families want when they carted kids to baseball games and ballet practice? What did adventurous friends want when they piled in, turned toward the open road, and faced a day of hiking, biking, or other pursuits? How could they successfully incorporate all the needs and wants of those competing goals and people — parents, kids, friends, more friends, extended family, groceries, gear, books, bags — into one SUV?
Lucky for everyone, the all-new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas was what they came up with. Here’s why it’s special.
Designed for America, Built in America
It’s no secret that the Volkswagen Passat sedan is manufactured at the Volkswagen Chattanooga assembly plant in Tennessee. The state-of-the-art facility was also the perfect fit to build the Atlas; the first finished models are expected to be available in the spring of 2017. The vehicles reflect a planned investment of an additional $900 million in the Chattanooga plant, which is part of the Volkswagen Group’s $7 billion commitment to the North American market.
In addition to building the Atlas in America, Volkswagen designers were committed to taking the pulse of those families and friends living in America. Mid-size was key: Sometimes it’s great to drive alone, but it’s also great to take kids, and kids’ friends. That led, very naturally, to a third row and space for seven. (And space for everyone’s water bottle and then some: There are 17 — yes 17 — cupholders).
But building a third row is something entirely different from building a comfortable third row. VW designers stretched out the Atlas — 198.3 inches nose-to-tail, 77.9 inches wide, and 69.6 inches high — giving it the distinction of being the biggest Volkswagen currently offered in the United States. It also exhibits bold yet sophisticated lines, including the must-haves (that signature horizontal two-bar VW grill, to name one), and distinctive LED lighting. Another thing families will love: The available Panoramic Sunroof with sunshade. Combined together, all those features create a look that’s sleek and powerful.
How did Volkswagen designers approach the creation of the new Volkswagen Atlas? Watch this video to find out.
Purposeful and Practical
There are lots of products that claim to make life easier. But do they? That was a question that Volkswagen asked: How can the Atlas offer flexibility and comfort, with features that are just as easy for an owner to use as they are for a friend?
For starters, there’s that second- and third-row engineering. The second-row seats can slide backward and forward, and include a clever seat-folding mechanism for the second row to make it easier to step into the third row. With a forward-facing child-safety seat installed, the second row slides and tilts forward for entry into the third row. Both rows can fold flat (to find out how much space you can get, view “5 VW Atlas Features Families Will Love”), or you can quickly execute either a 50/50-split third row and 60/40-split second row for even more storage options.
There’s no escaping technology: Americans want and need adaptability inside their vehicles — so they can get where they need to go, so they can get in touch when they need to, and so they can offer convenience to passengers. To help ensure that adaptability VW designers created a Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, available on the Atlas. It’s advanced, of course, but it’s practical: Drivers can choose what information they want to see on the available 12.3″ instrument cluster. That might just be the speedometer and tachometer — or the system can expand the view of the navigation map.
The standard VW Car-Net® App-Connect1 technology, also part of the Atlas’ design, allows access, through compatible smartphones, to select apps and enables capabilities such as streaming music into the available Fender® Premium Audio System, with a 480-watt amplifier and 12 speakers.
Looking for more convenience while you log miles? Available driver’s seat Memory Function offers three save-able seating profiles, as well as standard compatible device charging ports and outlets for both first and second rows. And features such as available Power Tailgate with Easy Open and available Remote Start are designed for families who have their hands full — from car seats to sporting gear and library books — and want a vehicle that can help make every little step less stressful.
What You Can’t See, You’ll Still Love
Ever pop the hood and wonder how all that works? In the Atlas, there’s a lot of that at work to help deliver smooth handling with options, too.
For starters, VW engineers took the highly-flexible Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture to underpin the vehicle. Mounted transversely, it saves space; by sharing components with other models, the MQB also helps reduce manufacturing costs.
Even if you are more focused on how the interior feels, VW designers and engineers wanted to offer choices, and Atlas has choices aplenty. There’s the 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® four-cylinder, packing 238 horsepower. For V6 lovers there’s the available 3.6-liter VR6 with 280 horsepower. Both are coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission and are offered with standard front-wheel drive. Or get optional 4MOTION® all-wheel drive with the VR6.
And then there’s the Driving Mode Selection, great for using your Atlas to adapt to a variety of road conditions. It enables selection of four different driving modes — Eco, Normal, Sport, and Individual — that can help change the way the Atlas feels to drive.
And all those internal workings didn’t skip on the technology that can help you during difficult driving situations. In the Atlas, the nine available Driver Assistance features can provide you with greater peace of mind on the road. Some of the highlights include available Park Assist, Blind Spot Monitor and Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist), which can help prevent accidents involving pedestrians. For a feature such as Pedestrian Monitoring (included in Front Assist), a radar sensor works within system limitations to help detect if a pedestrian is headed into the vehicle’s path, and to alert the driver. If the driver brakes too lightly in response to an audible and visual warning, the system can increase braking pressure to help avoid or mitigate the impact of an impending collision. If the driver does not brake at all, the car can apply the brakes automatically.2
Another available Driver Assistance feature is Area View: A push of the parking aid button or a shift into reverse provides a combined overhead image from four cameras. The system assists the driver by offering a variety of perspectives and views.
From day to day and year to year, there’s a lot to do, to keep track of, to work at. The all-new 2018 Atlas is ready for those adventures and those people, too.