BY H. THROTTLE– AUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST
Volkswagen became famous with the “Beetle” that swept American popularity for decades. I owned three different models over several decades and enjoyed them all.
VW introduced the Atlas in 2018 as a three-row SUV with a 235-turbo-charged 2.0L engine generating 235 horsepower. The peppy engine is linked to a “Tiptronic 4Motion” eight-speed transmission made in Japan with the engine manufactured in Mexico demonstrating VW’s world auto diversity and dominance with the final assembly of the Atlas in Chattanooga, TN. The engine and transmission are especially efficient driving on mountain roads.
This is a large all-wheel drive family-styled vehicle for work and play. Loaded with the latest electronics, UBS portals, and safety features. The eight-speaker sound system is easy to operate and easy on the ears. There is some road noise and some ride discomfort from the 20” tires and firm suspension system. While VW doesn’t detail the suspension system, Atlas engineers might examine shocks and suspension attributes for additional riding comfort. The Atlas is fast and handles the road excellently, with sharp precise electromechanical steering featuring variable assistance.
The exterior is attractive with vivid “Tourmaline blue” paint and the interior is designed in black leatherette. The heated rearview mirrors are large and give a wide view of traffic lanes. The windshield wipers are rain sensing and work well with our summer rain showers.
Atlas radar cruise control works very well and maintains perfect speeds and distance behind a lead vehicle. VW has an advanced ABS braking system that is one of the best in the business. It is amazing how fast this Atlas can accelerate and reach high speeds quickly.
VW has a base manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $38,795 on the test drive model that includes many attractive options. They offer a 4-year/50,000-mile limited warranty that includes the powertrain. Also, a 3-year 36,000 roadside assistance program for towing and emergency services. This could be my fourth VW model.