2018 Volkswagen Atlas Driving Impressions

On the road, an Atlas feels lighter than expected for a vehicle of its size and weight. Even with optional 20-inch tires mounted, occupants can anticipate a soft ride. Untroubled by undulating pavement, the fully independent suspension absorbs bumps capably and confidently.

Feeling like a smaller vehicle, the Atlas ranks among class leaders for roadgoing behavior. When pushed assertively into a curve or corner, this crossover remains composed and refined.

Though far from frugal by today’s fuel-efficiency standards, the smooth, near-silent V6 is both muscular and refined. With several passengers aboard a 4,500-pound vehicle, acceptable acceleration even with the V6 may require hearty stabs at the gas pedal.

Steering can be adjusted for a heavier feel, while the transmission may be altered to downshift quicker. Despite 8-inch ground clearance, the Atlas is not intended for more than the mildest off-road treks. Also, the tires don’t grip well in slippery mud on unpaved roads. With a factory towing package, an Atlas is rated to haul 5,000 pounds.

Fuel economy with V6 power ranks with the worst-in-class. The all-wheel-drive Atlas EPA-rated at 17/23 mpg City/Highway, or 19 mpg Combined. Front-drive raises that estimate to 18/25/20 mpg. Estimates are not yet available for the four-cylinder engine.

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