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2018 Volkswagen Atlas


The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas: Volkswagen’s potential “knight in shining armor” in the U.S. Market.

Some automakers find the U.S.A. automobile market quite a gold mine, for others it quite a struggle to make any significant sales. One of the automakers in the latter group is Volkswagen. For decades, Volkswagen has been striving to tame the American market without any significant success except for the original Beetle, which had managed to conquer the expansive country.

When the automaker was nearly figuring out the market, the diesel gate scandal broke out eroding all the gains that had been made. Now as the dust settles on the scandal, the automaker is set to launch a new model in an attempt to lure the market to its fold.  With the new model, the automaker hopes to strike the heights the original Beetle reached. From the look of it, I think VW has gotten it right this time in terms of design, I just hope they will also get it right in terms of its pricing strategy. Read along to find out what the Volkswagen Atlas has in store for the American market:

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2018 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is based on the Cross Blue Concept. The Audi Q7 is also based on the same concept, which means the Atlas shares a lot of exterior design cues with the Audi Q7. At the front, the model features the same grille we saw earlier on the CrossBlue concept. However, the grille is slightly revised to give the Atlas its own unique look. Unlike the concept, on the Atlas, the grille is rectangular and is slotted between the headlamps and blinker assemblies. Unlike the crossover, there is no opening above the air dam. The model also features gray-accented fog lights, which augurs well with the black trimmed lower fascia. The hood is carried over unchanged from the concept.

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Onto the sides, the model looks identical to the Q7. The Atlas fender flares, however look more pronounced than those of the Q7. The fenders are joined by a bodyline that strikes right in the middle of the crossover. The side profile also features a weird insert, which we have not seen on the Q7 or its other sister the Skoda Kodiaq.

Moving over to the rear, the Atlas is a bit unique as it features taillights that are connected by a chrome strip that extends the entire width of the rear hatch. However, the Atlas borrows its rear overhang from the Skoda Kodiaq. The bottom part of the rear fascia is characterized by a black cladding. To finish off the rear look are rectangular-shaped exhaust tips with a gray insert.

Dimension-wise, the model stretches 198.3 inches long with a width of 77.9 inches and a height of 69.6 inches. These dimensions make it the largest VW model in the USA market.

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2018 Volkswagen Atlas Interior

The interior has a premium look. The premium features begin with the flat-bottomed steering wheel. The unit is integrated with thumb buttons on its side spokes. The model also features the automakers new digital cockpit. The driver can customize the gauges in the cluster to his/her preferences. You will find a small storage area at the center top of the dash. Below the storage compartment, you will find a large display screen for the vehicle’s infotainment system.  I understand that the VW’s Car-Net system will be offered as an option. The system adds Smartphone connectivity via Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink.

For the audiophiles, the Atlas comes with an option for an audio system that features 12 speakers and a 480-Watt amplifier. The automaker was quick to note that this is the most advanced audio system in any VW model.

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The cabin accommodates 7 passengers spread over three rows. The seats are upholstered in quality materials with top trims featuring leather upholstery. In addition, the seats feature center cushions and backrests that are perforated meaning they will likely be heated and ventilated. The second row of seats has a 60/40 split-folding function while the third row has a 50/50 split-folding capability functions that come in handy when there are large items to haul. The second row seats can also slide forward to create extra space for third-row passengers that VW says, can accommodate two fully-grown adults.

For safety, in addition to offering a full package of airbags, the crossover features a parking assist system, post-collision braking system, forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring system, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning as well as an automatic braking system.

What’s more, the crossover features an option for sunshades that prevent sunrays from harming young children riding at the rear.

Engine Specs and performance

According to credible reports, the Atlas will be offered in two different drive-trains. The base engine will be a turbocharged 2.0 L, direct injected, 4-cylinder engine. The engine is good for 238 hp.  For more power, Volkswagen offers a 3.6 L,

For more power, Volkswagen offers a 3.6 L, V-6 mill that produces 280 horses. Buyers who choose this engine will have an option to select a 4Motion AWD system. The system offers different driving modes for different driving conditions.

Both engines will be mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission system. Information on torque, acceleration, fuel consumption and top speed will be availed close to the models sales debut in the spring next year.

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Price and release date

Volkswagen has not announced official prices of the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas. However, considering the not so impressive performance of the Touareg, Volkswagen will most definitely make the Atlas affordable to achieve any significant market share in the US.  As such, I think the base model could start at around $35,000 and go up to as much as $45,000.

I think the automaker has learned a lesson from the pricing strategy of the Touareg that starts at $49,495 and goes up to as much as $60,195. This pricing has greatly affected sales in the U.S.A. as there are a host of competing models priced much less

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Competition

Volkswagen must really get all things right to stand a chance of earning a significant market share in the US market currently commanded by the likes of  Ford Expedition and Nissan Armada.

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