Volkswagen Atlas: Bigger is better

Volkswagen Atlas

Styling is typically restrained, like most other Volkswagen models

In the land of plenty everyone gets a seat. Yes, when America builds a people’s car, America builds a gosh-darned people’s car…This one takes seven people.

Coming at you from Chattanooga, Tennessee, this is the all-new Atlas SUV, and it’s the biggest thing Volkswagen’s ever built in the States. The Atlas is 200mm longer than a seven-seater Range Rover, yet it sits on Wolfsburg’s Modular Transverse Matrix MQB platform that also underpins Golf GTIs and Audi TTs.

As such the Atlas comes with a choice of front-drive or all-wheel drive options and two powertrains, a 2.0-litre 238bhp four-cylinder or a 280 horsepower 3.6-litre V6 both mated to eight-speed dual-clutch automatics.

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Volkswagen invested $900 million into its Chattanooga plant and the Atlas will reach its first American customers late next year —Volkswagen will additionally sell the car in Russia and the Middle East.

With five trim levels available, standard LEDs up front (optional LED rears), and a suite of connectivity options such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the Atlas also features adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance systems and park assist.

Take note of the name, it says a lot. For starters it doesn’t start with a T like Volkswagen’s other people movers, the Touran, Tiguan, Touareg…Volkswagen would rather you kind of forgot this more recent soot-stained past and looked towards a bright future full of seats, and exciting new letters that aren’t T, and way less diesel.

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As for the design, presumably not much of that $900 mil went to styling efforts. The Atlas is as generic as a vehicle outline on a road sign. Certainly, it’s universally appealing. No one will mistake the Atlas for a kebab stand or a llama. Lights, wheels, doors, grille, some panels, windows, yup, check, all there.

Since the five-seater Touareg starts from Dh164,000 in the UAE, you can gauge the pricing for Volkswagen’s all new seven-seater Atlas once it reaches our shores as a 2018 model.