2019 Atlas New Car Test Drive
Introduced as a 2018 model, the mid-size Volkswagen Atlas crossover SUV is the larger cousin of Volkswagen's compact Tiguan. Manufactured in Tennessee, aimed squarely at the larger-family market, the Atlas comes with three rows of seats, for seven-passenger capacity.
For the 2019 model year, all Atlas crossovers include previously-optional automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors. Forward-collision warnings with pedestrian detection also are standard. The SEL trim level gains navigation, a heated steering wheel, LED taillights, and a configurable instrument cluster. The base S model adds automatic headlights, heated mirrors, and rain-sensing wipers, while the SE gains tri-zone automatic climate control.
S, SE, and SEL trim levels are offered, with four variants among them: seven choices in all, starting near $32,000 (including destination charge).
Two engines are available: a turbo-4 and a V-6. Offered only with front-wheel drive, the 2.0-liter turbo-4 develops 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque (achieved with premium gasoline).
Stronger but thirstier for fuel, the 3.6-liter V-6 generates 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet ? not a huge increase over the turbo-4. The V-6 may mate with either front-drive or all-wheel drive. Both engines work with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
With its Atlas, Volkswagen doesn't skimp on standard safety technology. Automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alert are installed on every Atlas. Adaptive cruise control and active lane control are optional on the Atlas SE and standard for SEL trim.
Crash-test results have been impressive. The NHTSA gave the Atlas a five-star rating overall and for frontal and side impacts. The only four-star score was for rollover prevention (a calculated figure, not based on actual testing).
In addition to rating the Atlas “Good” in each of its crash tests, the IIHS gave the crossover its Top Safety Pick award. Only its headlights, rated either 'Marginal'? or “Poor,” kept it from earning Top Safety Pick+ recognition. The insurance industry-funded organization rated frontal collision-avoidance technology 'Superior.'?.
Prices do not include $995 destination charge.
The Atlas S 2.0T ($30,895) comes only with front-wheel drive and the turbo-4 engine. It has cloth-upholstered seats, a 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, dual-zone automatic climate control, automatic headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a roof rack. Safety technology includes forward-collision warnings, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, and rear traffic alerts.
S V-6 with 4Motion AWD ($34,095) substitutes a 3.6-liter V-6 engine for the turbo-four.
SE V-6 ($35,495 with front-drive, $37,295 with 4Motion all-wheel drive) includes synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, tri-zone climate control, additional USB charging ports, pushbutton start, and leather-wrapped steering wheel.
SE V-6 w/Technology ($37,295 with FWD, $39,095 with 4Motion AWD) adds a power liftgate, heated steering wheel, lane-keeping assist, active blind-spot monitors, and adaptive cruise control.
SE V-6 R-Line w/Technology ($39,245 with FWD, $41,045 with 4Motion AWD) adds R-Line appearance equipment.
SEL V-6 ($41,395 with FWD, $43,195 with 4Motion AWD) comes with leather upholstery, power front seats, parking sensors, LED taillights, a panoramic moonroof, navigation, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.
SEL V-6 R-Line ($43,345 with FWD, $45,145 with 4Motion AWD) comes with R-Line appearance equipment.
SEL V-6 Premium with 4Motion AWD ($48,395) includes all-wheel drive, cooled leather front seats, 12-speaker Fender audio, power-folding mirrors, and heated rear seats..