In February, inspire earlier than the coronavirus received proper right here for our alternate reveals, I lamented the current want amongst the auto-seeking out public for ever extra wide SUVs. By month’s waste, I stumbled on myself on the inspire of the wheel of 1—on the whole one thing we activity Managing Editor Bangeman with, for he likes his autos on the bigger facet. It’s Volkswagen’s modern Atlas Incorrect Sport, a five-seater that is mechanically a very like the three-row Atlas, although it sports activities actions a further rakish stare above the belt line. It proved to be fairly a idea-provoking drive, now not for any vivid modern abilities or radically diversified driving experience nevertheless because of what it finds about Individuals and their attitudes in path of autos—a couple of of you can also procure unpalatable.
The reality is, Individuals construct love hatchbacks
A pair of years throughout the previous, I known as the VW Jetta a “quintessentially American Volkswagen.” I might maybe properly properly wish to safe that used headline now, because of regardless of the reality that the Jetta become as soon as accountable for a methods of VW’s improve in pre-dieselgate events, I become as soon as completely off-imperfect. It’s trustworthy, including a trunk to the globally present Golf hatchback become as soon as the lacking step to selling smaller autos throughout the US. Nonetheless opposite to present notion, Individuals possess now not disfavor the hatchback per-se—they acceptable possess now not want ’em exiguous. Nonetheless whereas you had been to make use of that exiguous hatchback and self-discipline it to a improve ray or no matter the CAD instrument an identical is, it seems they cruise off the cupboards. VW’s gross sales had been up for the previous three years, and that is the rationale all down to 2 fashions, the Tiguan and the Atlas, which made up 53 % of its gross sales in 2019.
So, the Atlas Incorrect Sport (and the Atlas before it) is a exceptional more true instance of an American of us’s wagon.
No matter their wildly diversified sizes and automotive niches, the Jetta and Atlas Incorrect Sport are exceptional further carefully linked than you would possibly properly properly properly focal stage on. They’re each merchandise of VW’s MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten, or Modular Transverse Toolkit) construction, which lets it construct an enormous amount of machines with transverse-mounted engines and a complete lot long-established elements. MQB autos possess a set speed-to-axle ratio, nevertheless the designers possess heaps of freedom in practically each different dimension, and throughout the Atlas and now the Atlas Incorrect Sport, they hit the supersize button.
The utilization of MQB additionally contrivance that the waste product is exceptional further low cost than the in an identical vogue sized Touareg SUV. That one shares a diversified, longitudinally mounted engine construction with Audi and Porsche, and a mixture of manufacturing costs and import duties contrivance VW now now not imports it to the US. Which is why we’d now not gape the 456hp (340kW) slump-in hybrid Touareg R this facet of the Atlantic.
Here is the 21st-century decision to the corpulent-measurement sedan of the ’70s
All through the product presentation, VW defined why the Atlas Incorrect Sport exists at a time when it will probably maybe properly perchance properly properly properly promote as many conventional Atlases as Chattanooga can churn out. The reply is as uncomplicated as “we’re leaving cash on the desk.” The Atlas is a three-row SUV, and folk are the whole rage with households, acceptable love the minivan weak to be and the put wagon earlier than it. Nonetheless of us age and their youngsters switch out, and that third row turns into surplus to requirements. And a few of us by no contrivance wished seven seats throughout the first residing nevertheless mute wish to drive one thing mighty and imposing. Inside the used days, they’d take a corpulent-measurement sedan; now, proper right here, throughout the lengthy wander, they’re going to take this 16.25-foot (4.95m) gigantohatch as a substitute.
It’s laborious to sing there might maybe be widespread sense on the inspire of that want. Crash assessments pork up the reality that larger autos are safer than smaller ones. A hatchback cargo area is extra easy to load and dump than the trunk of a sedan, and or not it’s further extensible because of you would possibly properly properly properly fold each or each of the seats flat. The older you procure, the extra easy it is a methods to climb into an factual SUV in residing of a low-using sedan. And there might maybe be one thing to be talked about regarding the commanding perceive you procure from the motive force’s seat, regardless of the reality that it does conceal a baby-swallowing blindspot up entrance.
So the Atlas Incorrect Sport exists for these of us that, throughout the previous, might maybe properly properly want lengthy gone for a Passat. Or further doubtlessly, of us that would not possess thought to be a VW throughout the previous, when it become as soon as higher recognized for selling environment friendly itsy-bitsy autos—exceptional of VW’s improve over the previous three years has been from of us modern to the ticket.
Individuals don’t care about dieselgate
In 2015, Volkswagen purchased caught mendacity to the US authorities regarding the contents of its diesel spend, at which stage Uncle Sam made an instance of the carmaker with billions of dollars in fines. And whereas you had been tasked with estimating VW’s gross sales prowess principally based mostly on feedback to on-line articles, you would possibly properly properly properly focal stage on the company become as soon as on the doorways of business break. Internet commenters might maybe properly properly mute grunt by no approach to darken the ticket’s doorways once more, nevertheless as already talked about, VW gross sales possess elevated One yr on One yr for the previous three years. 2019’s effectivity is further notable as a result of it occurred when the remainder of the auto market become as soon as contracting. It seems, most Individuals acceptable possess now not care about dieselgate. Both they forgave VW for what become out to be an industry-huge word, or they by no contrivance even seen throughout the first residing.
While you’re a car-purchaser who cares regarding the environment, the Atlas Incorrect Sport doubtlessly mustn’t be on your having a watch guidelines. A FWD 2.0L Atlas Incorrect Sport (235hp/175kW and 258lb-toes/350Nm) manages acceptable 22mpg blended (10.7l/100km), and each FWD and AWD V6es (276hp/205kW and 266lb-toes/360Nm) stop a mere 19mpg (12.4l/100km). Hilariously, the EPA additionally categorizes the Atlas Incorrect Sport as a “exiguous SUV,” a reality that I best realized this morning and am mute making an attempt to route of.
OK, pretend I don’t care about that mpg and dispute me further
The Atlas Incorrect Sport begins at $30,425 in stripped-out front-wheel-drive spec. AWD is a $1,900 prime price over FWD, and a V6 will add $2,000 to the MSRP, nevertheless a totally loaded V6, all-wheel drive SEL Premium R-Line mute is accessible in under $50,000. So that you simply needn’t work at a hedge fund or Bay Predicament unicorn to find the money for one. Besides you indicate to tow larger than 2,000lbs (907kg), we’d skip the additional pricey, further thirsty V6 as a result of or not it’s barely any further extraordinarily efficient, and as extended as you match snow tires when it snows, you’ll doubtlessly be pleasing with the front-driving Atlas Incorrect Sport. As a alternative, make use of that cash to move up the neat-degree escalator.
Each Atlas Incorrect Sport will get points love LED headlights, ahead collision warning and emergency braking (alongside facet pedestrian detection), blind-space displays, and rear defective-traffic indicators, and most of them procure adaptive cruise resolve a watch on as neatly. All nevertheless the imperfect Atlas Incorrect Sport S procure an 8-trot MIB II infotainment gadget, and throughout the SEL neat, this additionally accommodates navigation. Even the 6.5-trot unit throughout the Atlas Incorrect Sport S has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, alternatively it does best advance with two USB ports when put subsequent to the 5 you procure with the 8-trot model. You might maybe properly properly want the SEL or SEL Premium trims whereas you crave VW’s digital major instrument mannequin.
The Atlas Incorrect Sport I drove received proper right here fitted with a reasonably sombre unhappy inside, regardless of the reality that VW’s stock pictures stage to there are much less funereal options to brighten its insides. On the SEL and SEL Premium, proper right here is alleviated significantly by the panoramic glass roof. The plastics all really feel hard-wearing, and given the nice rear leg room—40.Four inches (1m)—I might gape an Atlas Incorrect Sport working neatly as a car-carrier car, ferrying of us to the airport and such love. With the rear seats in make use of, there might maybe be mute 40.three cubic toes (1,141l) of cargo area; fold them down and that grows to 77.Eight cubic toes (2,203l).
The driving experience is handiest described as unobjectionable. The car rolls a itsy-bitsy of throughout the corners, nevertheless the hunch is type of factual at filtering out dejected freeway surfaces. It’s now not what you’ll name speedy, even with six cylinders under the hood.
VW will undoubtedly promote Atlas Incorrect Sports activities by the tens of hundreds, which acceptable reinforces to me how out of step I appear to be with mainstream The US.
Itemizing picture by Jonathan Gitlin