Our 2019 Volkswagen Atlas Rolls through 10,000 Miles with Mixed Blessings

With half a year and nearly 12,000 miles on its clock, our long-term 2019 Volkswagen Atlas has begun showing its true colors. A popular for moving huge amounts of individuals and things, it has been employed like a weekend getaway vehicle to northern Michigan and a few neighboring states, and staffers have begun to weigh along with some critical observations and informed opinions.

Most concur that as the interior is organized logically as well as the controls are put intuitively, the product quality and feel from the plastic materials certainly are a little out of place taking into consideration the nearly $50K as-tested price of our top-trim V6 SEL 4MOTION model. As the 276-hp 3.6-liter narrow-angle V-6 isn't the brawniest engine within the segment, associate online editor Joey Capparella noted that "It sounds weirdly good and almost burbly with this application." Senior editor Mike Sutton commented around the powertrain aswell, remarking that "The aggressive throttle tip-in can't mask a shortness of easy low-down torque." Other drivers noted that once it's up to date, the engine, rated for 266 lb-ft at 2750 rpm, made merging into highway traffic and conducting passing maneuvers comparatively stress-free.

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Dave VanderWerpCar and Driver

Nonetheless it was director of vehicle testing Dave VanderWerp's six-passenger, 2034-mile spring-break family adventure from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Hilton Head, SC, and back that basically tested the Atlas's abilities. Ever the observant technician, VanderWerp spared no ink in recording his findings. "The front-row seats are being among the most long-haul comfortable I've experienced." To which he added, "The next row is massive (there's a lot more space than necessary for my six-foot, five-inch frame), and the 3rd row is near adult friendly aswell. Importantly, the area behind the 3rd row is right up there with the biggest with this class." While that's impressive, VanderWerp highlights that this Atlas isn't a minivan, along with a hitch-mounted luggage carrier was necessary to transport the total amount of his family's belongings.

Using the Atlas fully packed with people and gear, VanderWerp also noted that this aggressive throttle tip-in as well as the transmission's known tendency to upshift early, ostensibly inside a search for improved fuel economy, are a lot more pronounced. Learning from your errors reveals that selecting the VW's Sport drive mode and matting the throttle really helps to somewhat alleviate the first shift syndrome, but even then, both upshifts and downshifts can lack refinement. The Atlas's ride quality, previously called out by other editors because of its unique capability to alternate from harsh around town to soft and wallowy over large undulations at speed, also seemed magnified under heavy cargo loads. Having said that, the Atlas handles and corners much better than it includes a to on its big 20-inch wheels and 255/50R-20 Continental CrossContact LX Sport tires, rendering it feel less massive than its profile suggests.

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Michael SimariCar and Driver

The Atlas's highway range, or lack thereof, became a annoyance, though. Despite traveling exclusively on the road, the VanderWerp clan found that the VW routinely needed refueling prior to passengers required a food or restroom break. To his point, the Atlas has so far returned typically 19 mpg, which, given the 18.6-gallon fuel tank, computes to about 350 miles between fill-ups. VanderWerp also collected a subset of dedicated fuel-economy numbers during his family's excursion, including a calculated 23 mpg for just one 376-mile leg of highway travel; the Atlas's trip computer on the same stretch indicated 22 mpg.

As the Atlas's first chunk of miles around have passed without the unscheduled dealer visits, the VW's first scheduled visit 10,090 miles did relieve us of $272.41 to have an oil change, tire rotation, and inspection. With the summertime travel season definately not over, the capacious Atlas surely will attempt at least a couple of more long-distance treks under close observation.

Months in Fleet: 5 months Current Mileage: 11,754 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 19 mpg 
Fuel Tank Size: 18.6 gal Observed Fuel Range: 350 miles
Service: $272.41 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0
Damage and Destruction: $0

Introduction
 2019 Volkswagen Atlas
Michael SimariCar and Driver

Think about the Volkswagen Atlas like a rolling act of German-American diplomacy. An authentic three-row mid-size crossover, it is the first Volkswagen SUV configured right away to interest Americans and their oversize appetites for, well, everything. Introduced for that 2018 model year, the Atlas is assembled in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which increases its cross-cultural identity. To observe how well it endures beneath the unyielding weight of real-world domestic duty, we collected a 2019 Volkswagen Atlas V6 SEL with VW's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system as well as the $5200 Premium package for any 40,000-mile long-term evaluation.

The Atlas starts in a class-competitive $31,890 with front-wheel drive, but our top-of-the-line model rings in at $49,390. The upside is, that sum carries a full complement of equipment, including our example's Pacific Blue metallic paint, a leather interior, and VW's latest infotainment and connectivity features, among other niceties. Other extras that people offered include second-row captain's chairs ($695), a frameless auto-dim rearview mirror ($235), and some additional interior and exterior options such as for example floor mats, roof rack accessories, and side steps. Our test car has 20-inch, six-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in 255/50R-20 Continental Cross Contact LX Sport all-season tires, although 21-inchers are for sale to a $700 upcharge.

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Michael SimariCar and Driver

Initial Results
Although we enjoyed the low-rpm torque and fleet-footed moves of the front-drive 2018 Atlas powered by way of a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four we tested previously, we felt the naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V-6 with all-wheel drive was more in tune with this mission. Rated at 276 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, the narrow-angle V-6 funnels its output via an eight-speed automatic transmission, while an electronically controlled clutch metes out torque to the trunk wheels once the system detects slip at the front end. Following a short break-in period, the Atlas clicked off an 8.0-second zero-to-60-mph run along with a quarter-mile pass of 16.1 seconds at 90 mph. It's worth noting our long-termer trails these 2.0T model by 0.8 second to 60 mph and 0.5 second with the quarter, largely because of the two 2.0-liter version's 491-pound weight advantage.

Our V-6 model is EPA rated at 17 mpg in the town and 23 mpg on the road; up to now, we’ve matched the EPA's city estimate on the VW's first 2756 miles, this means the Atlas often struggles to top 300 miles on the fill of its 18.6-gallon fuel tank. Slightly more impressive, though, may be the 4759-pound Atlas's respectable level of road adhesion, which helped it stop from 70 mph in 165 feet and orbit the skidpad at a good 0.88 g.

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Michael SimariCar and Driver

The Atlas's boxy shape could be without adventurous styling, nonetheless it pays huge dividends with regards to interior space, specially the adult-friendly third row. Just days after arriving, the best VW became a preferred vehicle for office lunch sorties and weekend excursions. Having said that, it's only strayed from your home on two occasions: a weekend jaunt to Toronto along with a trek to NY. The overall consensus up to now is that it drives smaller than its footprint indicate, and that the inside plastics and fit and finish is probably not up to exactly the same standard as that of certain Volkswagen products with a little more Teutonic breeding within their lineage.

Towing Trials
Pulling a trailer is really a required extracurricular activity for some from the pickups and SUVs inside our long-term fleet, and we were very happy to discover that the V-6-powered Atlas is rated to tow 5000 pounds from its standard trailer hitch (2.0-liter models are rated to tow only 2000 pounds). We were somewhat bemused, however, to get that-despite being wired for towing in the factory-the Atlas didn't arrive having a connector to interface the automobile wiring with a typical trailer wiring plug. An instant visit to the dealer got us the parts for $54. The dealer wanted to install it for any fee, nonetheless it took only 5 minutes along with a Torx bit screwdriver to set up it back at C/D HQ. With this sorted, it will not be a long time before the Atlas is named upon to tug our usual selection of small to mid-size trailers.

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Brad FickCar and Driver

Several critiques have previously appeared within the VW's logbook during its presumed honeymoon period. Reviews editor Josh Jacquot noted that dimming the lights around the instrument panel and center stack takes a dive in to the infotainment menu-which, frustratingly, VW only allows once the vehicle isn't in motion. Jacquot also known as out the engine stop-start system for automatically shutting down the engine each and every time the automobile is devote park, and then own it restart when tapping the button to deactivate the feature. With springtime upon us, the Atlas will accumulate plenty of additional observations, and a lot of miles, as our staffers commence to enlist it and its own capacious interior for that a lot of American of vehicular pastimes, the street trip.

Months in Fleet: 2 months Current Mileage: 2756 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 17 mpg 
Fuel Tank Size: 18.6 gal Observed Fuel Range: 310 miles 
Service: $0 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0 
Damage and Destruction: $0 

Specifications
SPECIFICATIONS

2019 Volkswagen Atlas V6 SEL 4Motion

VEHICLE TYPE
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door hatchback

PRICE AS TESTED
$49,390 (base price: $44,190)

ENGINE TYPE
DOHC 24-valve V-6, iron block and aluminum head, direct fuel injection

Displacement
220 cu in, 3597 cc 
Power
276 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque
266 lb-ft @ 2750 rpm

TRANSMISSION
8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

CHASSIS
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 13.2-in vented disc/12.2-in disc
Tires: Continental CrossContact LX Sport, 255/50R-20 105T M+S

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 117.3 in 
Length: 198.3 in 
Width: 78.3 in
Height: 70.0 in 
Passenger volume: 153 cu ft 
Cargo volume: 21 cu ft 
Curb weight: 4759 lb

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