From Edmunds: Edmunds' Expert Review Overall rating 7.8 / 10 Volkswagen designed its Atlas specifically for the American market, so that explains this big SUV's abundance of passenger and cargo space. It's got three rows of seating and one of the highest cargo capacities you'll find. But it also possesses all of the typical Volkswagen touches such as high-quality interior surfaces, abundantly available safety tech and excellent on-road performance. On the highway, the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas is comfortable and quiet. In the city, it's easier to maneuver than you'd expect. Power is lacking a bit when you compare it to top rivals, but that's the one minor flaw we've been able to find in its on-road performance. Otherwise, the Atlas has a long list of virtues. You also get more standard features on some trim levels this year. We specifically like that every Atlas now comes with forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. On the SE, you get three-zone climate control, and on the SEL you get Digital Cockpit instrumentation, LED taillights, a navigation system and a heated steering wheel. Overall, we're quite pleased with the 2019 Atlas. Alongside other top rivals such as the Honda Pilot and the Mazda CX-9, it should be one of your top models to consider for a three-row crossover SUV this year. Notably, we picked the 2019 Atlas as one of Edmunds' Best Midsize SUVs for this year. Volkswagen Atlas models The Atlas is offered in seven trim levels: S, SE, SE with Technology, SE with Technology R-Line, SEL, SEL R-Line and SEL Premium. The base S comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine (235 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque). All other trim levels come with a 3.6-liter V6 engine (276 hp, 266 lb-ft). Front-wheel drive is standard, and V6 models can also be ordered with all-wheel drive (standard on the SEL Premium). Regardless of engine, every Atlas gets an eight-speed automatic transmission. Base Atlas S models have cloth seating, a bench seat in the second row, LED automatic headlights, dual-zone manual climate control, a rearview camera and cruise control. For 2019, Volkswagen makes forward collision mitigation, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert standard for all Atlas trim levels. The Atlas S also has a 6.5-inch touchscreen interface that offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity. Upgrading to the SE adds simulated-leather upholstery, push-button start, a power driver's seat, heated front seats, rear sunshades, three-zone automatic climate control, a larger 8-inch touchscreen interface, Car-Net subscription services, and the option of captain's chairs in the second row. The SE with Technology builds on the SE's equipment list with the addition of remote engine start, a power rear liftgate, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and an active blind-spot monitor. Moving up to the SEL adds a panoramic sunroof, LED taillights, a power-adjustable front passenger's seat, a heated steering wheel, a hands-free rear liftgate, park distance control, an upgraded touchscreen display with navigation, and the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit. Digital Cockpit is a display that replaces the standard gauge cluster with a reconfigurable video screen that shows a wide variety of information beyond basic speed, fuel and temperature readings. Both the SE with Technology and the SEL are available with the R-Line upgrade, which adds 20-inch wheels, unique bumpers, side skirts and badging, and some unique interior trim. The top-of-the-line SEL Premium adds standard all-wheel drive, automatic high-beam headlights, power-folding mirrors with puddle lamps, full leather seating, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a 12-speaker Fender sound system, a 360-degree surround-view parking camera, and a parking assist system. The SEL Premium also gets its own unique 20-inch wheels, with 21-inchers as an available option. Trim tested Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium (3.6-liter V6 | 8-speed automatic | AWD). Driving 8.0 With the exception of a horsepower deficit, the Atlas is a pretty pleasant crossover to wheel around, especially considering its size. Effortless but direct steering, a quick-shifting transmission and confident brakes are the main components to credit for the enjoyable driving experience. Acceleration 7.0 The optional V6 engine delivers decent acceleration off the line, but it feels just barely adequate when merging at speed, even with an empty cabin. Both the Honda Pilot and the Toyota Highlander are quicker, with the Atlas needing a full 8 seconds to cover 0-60 mph. Braking 8.0 Braking in the Atlas is confident, smooth and effortless. It's also one of the SUV's stronger performance qualities, needing only 115 feet to execute a panic stop from 60 mph. That's not only better than average, but it's also a surprise because the Atlas is heavier than most of its segment competition. Steering 9.0 The way the steering is tuned is a big reason the Atlas drives much smaller than it is. It feels light, quick and precise, but it also manages to avoid feeling disconnected like so many overboosted steering systems. It is a hard balance to achieve, but Volkswagen managed to get it right. Handling 7.5 As much as the steering helps the Atlas feel nimble, it's no athlete. Sure, its ultimate road-holding grip is above average, but mostly it feels heavy and resistant to midcorner adjustments. The Atlas is great to wheel around town, just don't expect agility on curvy roads. Drivability 8.0 The eight-speed automatic is a good match to the V6, delivering smooth and quick shifts in both casual and spirited situations. We thought we might have heard some odd noises at some point during the test, but it didn't affect performance and we couldn't replicate it a second time. Off-road 7.5 With an approach angle that's top of the class, a departure angle that's squarely midpack, and VW 4Motion all-wheel drive, the Atlas should hold its own against the rest of the class. Three-row unibody crossovers are meant for light off-road duty and inclement weather, not trailblazing exploration. Comfort 8.0 The Atlas is well-suited to long-distance trips. Ample climate system capacity and vents for all rows will keep passengers from fighting over the controls. Ride quality is good, too, even with the optional 20-inch wheels. But we found the front seats a little flat and lacking in adjustability. Seat comfort 7.0 The front seats lack some adjustability, and the bottom cushions feel a little flat and long, which might be uncomfortable for short drivers. Both back rows recline, the second row slides and has a slightly firmer middle seat. All armrests have excellent padding with the exception of the third row. Ride comfort 8.0 Ride comfort in the Atlas is pretty nice even with the large 20-inch wheels. The ride feels settled and not floaty, yet it manages to suppress most small and large bumps it rolls over. The standard 18-inch wheels might even ride a little better, but they don't look nearly as nice. Noise & vibration 7.5 Some big vehicle cabins can sound boomy when empty, but the Atlas' isn't one of them. There's some road noise, and the large mirrors generate wind noise at highway speeds, but it's nothing the audio system can't conceal. The VR6 engine makes a pleasant noise when you rev it out. Climate control 9.0 The front seats are heated and ventilated, with heating available for the second row. The climate dials provide easy access, but you can also control everything through the touchscreen, even adjusting, syncing or locking out the rear controls. The system provides plenty of heating and cooling capacity, and the third row has air vents. Interior 8.0 Space, space, space! That's what the Atlas is all about. But it also gets high marks for its clever sliding second-row seat with good rear visibility to boot. The available Digital Cockpit interface offers a ton of functionality to go with its good looks. Ease of use 7.5 The Atlas is pretty easy to figure out. It does take some time to become familiar with VW's Digital Cockpit, but once you're accustomed, functionality is wide-ranging. One downside to the touchscreen interface is having to look at what you're pressing, which takes attention away from driving. Getting in/getting out 8.0 Entry and exit are about as easy as they get for this class. The Atlas is low enough that it doesn't require a step rail, and there's virtually no sill to step over. Third-row passengers have decent access to the back because of the clever sliding second-row seat, but you'll need to be somewhat limber. Driving position 7.5 You can sit low to maximize headroom or high for a more commanding view of the road, which is what most people want in an SUV. The steering column has a good range of tilt and reach adjustments, too. The driver's seat lacks a little bit of fine-tuning in terms of adjustment, but that doesn't compromise the driving position. Roominess 9.5 Space is one of the Atlas' biggest strengths. Up front, it has plenty of room in all directions and enough second-row seat width for three adults across. Also, the third row will accommodate adults 6 feet tall or shorter with surprisingly little compromise to comfort. This roomy cabin uses space well. Visibility 8.0 Visibility is good for a vehicle this big. The windows are large all around, and the rear headrests don't impede the rear view unless people are seated in the third row. Big side mirrors create small blind spots at the 45-degree front view, but the available 360-degree camera system helps. Quality 7.5 The cabin's build quality is a m
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