The 2023 Volkswagen Atlas is the largest, most-advanced, most-expensive, and most capable full-size family VW SUV. The Atlas isn’t sold in places such as Europe which gets the Touareg instead, but in reality, the Atlas is much larger than the Touareg and the largest VW car ever. The Atlas has been around for two generations, and there are many good and bad things about it.
In this article, we are going to mention the most surprising facts about the VW Atlas which will include stuff you probably never heard of and stuff you never expected from an SUV such as the Atlas. So, if you are in the market for a new, or even a used Atlas, be sure to consider these facts as they can sometimes make or break the deal!
Made In the US for the US
The Volkswagen Atlas is not a VW global model which means that it is being sold in a few selected markets worldwide. However, the VW Atlas is only being made in the US and is only being sold in the US. The Atlas never came, was made, or is going to be made in Europe which means that the VW Atlas is what VW believes is a perfect SUV for US customers.
You can’t get the Atlas anywhere else in the world either which means that the Atlas is likely going to stay in NA, and only in NA.
It Comes as A Coupe
Yes, you read that right. The VW Atlas SUV was joined by a new VW Atlas Sport a year or two ago as a sportier “coupe” version of the VW Atlas. Even though that might sound silly, it actually makes a lot of sense. The large SUV coupe trend was started by BMW when they released the first generation of the BMW X6.
The X6 was really popular which later meant that Mercedes will come out with the GLE, Porsche with the Cayenne Coupe, and Audi with the Q8.
It comes as no surprise that an SUV as large as the Atlas is practical and comfortable, but what is surprising about that is that VW also came out with a few clever ideas as to how to make the VW Atlas practicality even more practical.
For instance, the Atlas comes with three rows of seats, but if you rarely ever use the 3rd row, or not at all, you can actually fold the third row of seats down and slide the second row over them which will give you both massive trunk space and loads of space in the 2nd row.
If you go for a well-equipped model, the Atlas will let you set up your personal experience to an incredibly personal level. Yes, the car gets all the usual memory seats and stuff, but it also offers you the choice to set up your in-cabin A/C preferences which the car will remember and set itself next time. Also, you can also set up your Bluetooth preferences and your radio preferences in the same way.
These are only a few examples of how the VW Atlas can be set up when you first enter the car and the car will always keep those settings as you want them which means that you don’t need to adjust these functions ever again.
You Can Hide the Cargo Cover
This is essential for every family car geek who hates the fact that most cars these days that come with removable parcel shelf cargo covers can’t be placed anywhere inside the car when you want to take them off. This means that you will either have to leave it in place or leave it at home which somewhat renders it useless.
The Atlas has a clever solution where you can place the storage cover underneath the trunk bed liner and completely hide it from sight if you don’t want to use it. This may sound a bit strange to some, but it is extremely rare these days that you can actually store the cargo cover somewhere inside the car while not using it.
It’s Made on the Same Platform as the Golf
Believe it or not, the VW Atlas is actually made on the same platform as the VW Golf which is impressive since the VW Golf is a small hatchback while the Atlas is a large, three-row full-size SUV. This is made possible by VW’s scalable modular MQB platform which can be altered in almost every direction so it can be used both for smaller and larger cars.
What is Good About the VW Atlas?
The Volkswagen Atlas is a really good full-size SUV because it is as big as it is which means that it comes with all the inherent benefits of a full-size SUV. As such, it’s large, safe, and comfortable, but the VW Atlas is also really easy to drive, its infotainment system is intuitive and easy to use, it has great all-around visibility, and is surprisingly agile for its size.
The overall exterior design has also been revamped recently which made the Atlas look better than ever. You can get one with AWD if you want the best all-season experience and the Atlas also comes with loads of safety technology, some of which even come standard on lower-end models.
What is Bad About the VW Atlas?
Many have criticized VW for using rather cheap materials in some parts of the interior of the VW Atlas as that affects the overall appeal and feel of the Atlas. When you hear that the top-spec Atlas comes with a frugal 3.6L V6, you’d expect such as engine to push good power and make the Atlas comparable to some 8-cylinder large SUVs.
Sadly, that is not the case as the 3.6L naturally-aspirated V6 only pushes out 276hp which is on par with many 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo engines these days, if not even weaker. Lastly, the fuel economy of the Atlas is under 19MPG which is a shame since it does not even come with an engine that deserves sub-20MPG fuel efficiency.