Everything We Know About the Volkswagen Atlas

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

Volkswagen’s new seven-seat SUV will be introduced later this month.

Called the Volkswagen Atlas, the new SUV will enjoy its public debut in Santa Monica at the end of October, where the German automaker will spill all the details on the three-row seven-seater. Until then, here’s everything we know about the Volkswagen Atlas so far.

SEE ALSO: Volkswagen Atlas Seven-Seat SUV to Debut October 27

It’s a Three-Row SUV with Seating for Seven

Volkswagen hasn’t announced any specifications for the Atlas yet, so its cargo capacity is an unknown. But it will offer three rows of seating for up to seven, and both the second and third rows will fold down. The German automaker has said it wants the model’s cargo capacity to be competitive in its segment, so expect it to be generous.

It’s Based on the CrossBlue Concept

The Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept originally debuted in the U.S. at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show boasting very generous dimensions. As a concept, it measured 196 inches long (4,987 mm) and 79 inches wide (2,015 mm) with a height of 68 inches (1,733 mm). The production Atlas is expected to be similar in dimensions and will likely resemble the Audi Q7’s footprint.

It’s Going to be a City Slicker

Volkswagen won’t be focusing on any sorts of off-road capabilities with the Atlas. So don’t expect it to be like a Jeep or even Land Rover. The company wants a family-oriented, seven-seat SUV and that’s what it plans on delivering with its latest model.

It Will be Front-Wheel Drive with All-Wheel Drive Optional

Expect the Atlas to use familiar engines found in current Volkswagen models, like the ubiquitous 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which makes 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque in the Volkswagen Tiguan, though the same powertrain makes 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque in the GTI. It will also offer a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 280 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque in the Chattanooga-built Passat. It’s very unlikely that a diesel engine will be offered in North America considering the massive dieselgate scandal, but a hybrid variant is a strong possibility.

It Will be Built in the U.S.

Production on the Volkswagen Atlas is expected to begin later this year at the automaker’s factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It will ride on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform and will focus on the North American and Chinese markets. For now, it doesn’t appear that it will be heading to Europe. For China, Volkswagen will likely produce it at one of its jointly-operated plants in the country.

It Will Slot Between the Tiguan and the Touareg

Although the Atlas will be larger than the Touareg, its pricing will slot it between the existing Tiguan and the Touareg. Volkswagen’s goal is to compete with the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander models. Currently, the Tiguan starts from $24,995 excluding destination, while the Touareg has a starting price of $49,495. It’s a big gap between the two existing models, so it’s a good thing Volkswagen is filling it.

It’s an Important Model for Volkswagen

As the company works on changing its image and turning the page from its massive diesel scandal, the Volkswagen Atlas will be a key model in the North American markets. Crossovers and SUVs are one of the most popular segments in North America, and Volkswagen has invested heavily to focus on capturing a larger piece of the pie. We’ll know more about how it stacks up against the competition when it bows later this month.

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