The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is an all-new three-row crossover aimed at the family market in the U.S. It offers more room, more seating, and a strong six-cylinder engine for getting people around and occasional towing. Slotting between the smaller Tiguan and the more expensive Touareg, the Atlas is a good contender in the three-row crossover segment. It scored an “A” on CarNewsCafe and was well-received in my review on NewAtlas.
The beefy curb appeal of the 2018 VW Atlas is unusual for Volkswagen, but nicely done. The strong fenders and wide grille give the Atlas an SUV-like look to emphasize its larger size and interior roominess. The interior layout for the 2018 Atlas is well thought out and nicely organized. The usual attention to simplicity of form that VW is known for is ever present in the Atlas and it’s better for it.
The first and second rows are roomy, comfortable, and have plenty of headroom and legroom. The third row in the Atlas is largely for kids, but is easy to get to. The second row can be a bench, splitting in a 60/40 configuration, or captain’s chairs with a space between.
Cargo space in the 2018 VW Atlas is good at 20.6 cubic feet behind the third row and 96.8 cubes when all rows are folded.
How Useful Is the VW Atlas As a Family Hauler?
The Atlas is a great family hauler with plenty of room and lots of storage configurations. Fuel economy is good and get-around capability is also good. The Atlas isn’t a sports car, of course, but it isn’t sluggish either. Especially when the V6 is equipped.
After two separate weeks in two different models of the Atlas, we can definitely recommend the engine upgrade to the V6 and attest to the family-friendliness of this Volkswagen.
Expected Reliability/Dependability and Value
These are difficult metrics given that the Atlas is all-new for 2018. J.D. Power gives the Atlas an expected reliability of “About Average.” We do note that the Atlas has received very good crash test safety scores from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Which Version of the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas Would We Buy?
Most recommended is the mid-level V6-powered model with all-wheel drive. The well-done R-Line model is well worth considering as a base buy option.
Radio Setting and Kid Approvals
The kids liked the roominess of the big Atlas and were happy with the abundance of USB ports inside. The 2018 VW Atlas seemed happiest on SiriusXM’s Classic Rewind station (channel 25). Songs from the Cars, the Police, and the Boss seemed to fit the Atlas’ overall persona.
A Note on Our Process: Reviews here are based on Aaron’s reviews found around the Web. The goal here is to forego the usual “horsepower and capability” jargon of most automotive reviews and instead focus on how well the vehicle is as a regular family hauler for a single dad. Links to full, formal reviews are included in this review in order to provide more information should you wish to have it.