The Volkswagen Atlas: A Spacious and Capable SUV for the Family

The Volkswagen Atlas: A Spacious and Capable SUV for the Family

The Volkswagen Atlas is a mid-size SUV that has carved a niche for itself in the ever-competitive family car market. Introduced in 2017, the Atlas has earned praise for its spacious interior, comfortable ride, and impressive safety features. As of 2024, the Atlas continues to be a compelling option for those seeking a feature-rich and practical SUV.

Built for Families: Spacious Interior and Flexible Seating

One of the Atlas's biggest strengths is its interior space. With three rows of seating, the Atlas can comfortably accommodate up to seven passengers. The second-row seats offer ample legroom and headroom, even for adults. The third row, while best suited for children, can also provide usable seating for adults on shorter trips.

The Atlas boasts a versatile cargo area. Behind the third row, there's still a decent 20.6 cubic feet of cargo space. Folding the third row down expands that to a much more generous 55.5 cubic feet, and folding down all the rear seats opens up a cavernous 96.8 cubic feet of space, perfect for hauling large items.

Volkswagen engineers have cleverly incorporated numerous storage compartments throughout the cabin, making it easy to keep clutter at bay. This includes features like a hidden compartment under the front passenger seat, perfect for storing valuables or electronics.

Powertrain Options and Driving Dynamics

For the 2024 model year, Volkswagen has simplified the Atlas's engine lineup. All models now come equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 269 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. This engine provides adequate power for most driving situations. An eight-speed automatic transmission handles shifting duties, and buyers can choose between front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) configurations.

The Atlas prioritizes a comfortable ride over sporty handling. The suspension delivers a smooth ride, soaking up bumps and road imperfections with ease. However, the steering feels light and numb, and the Atlas won't inspire enthusiastic cornering. This shouldn't be a dealbreaker for most family car buyers who prioritize comfort over agility.

When properly equipped, the Atlas can tow up to 5,000 pounds, which is a respectable figure for a mid-size SUV. This allows you to tow a trailer, camper, or boat with relative ease.

Fuel Economy Considerations

Fuel efficiency isn't the Atlas's strongest suit. According to the EPA, the front-wheel-drive Atlas achieves up to 20 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined. Opting for all-wheel drive reduces those figures slightly to 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined. While these numbers aren't terrible, some competitors in the segment offer better fuel economy.

Tech Features and Safety

The Atlas comes loaded with technology features to keep everyone entertained and connected. The base model features an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Higher trims offer a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen with built-in navigation and a premium sound system.

Safety is a top priority for Volkswagen, and the Atlas is packed with an array of driver-assistance features. These include automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane departure warning. Some trims also offer adaptive cruise control and a surround-view camera system.

The Atlas has received excellent safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This gives peace of mind to families who prioritize safety when choosing a vehicle.

Trims and Pricing

The 2024 Volkswagen Atlas comes in five trims: SE, SE with Technology, Peak Edition SE with Technology, SEL, and SEL Premium R-Line. The base SE trim starts at $39,420 and comes with the aforementioned standard features. Higher trims add amenities like a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated seats, a digital instrument cluster, and a more powerful Fender sound system. The top-of-the-line SEL Premium R-Line starts at $54,315 and boasts a sportier appearance with unique exterior styling elements and upgraded interior materials.

Conclusion: Is the Volkswagen Atlas Right for You?

The Volkswagen Atlas is a compelling choice for families seeking a spacious, comfortable, and feature-rich SUV. It offers a versatile interior, a powerful enough engine, and a long list of standard and available features. While fuel economy isn't its strongest point, the Atlas makes up for it in other areas.

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