Volkswagen has officially revealed its brand-new, seven-seater SUV – the Atlas, an important model for the American market where a tenth of all new registrations in the United States in 2015 are mid-size SUVs. The new model slots in between the Tiguan and the Touareg, and is claimed to be “fully tailored to American needs.”

If you think you’re looking at the automaker’s CrossBlue Concept from 2013, we won’t blame you. The Atlas looks nearly identical to the concept that previewed it, with several changes introduced. For starters, the front fascia has an Amarok-inspired grille between a pair of standard LED headlamps with signature DRLs.

Below that, the lower apron has been tweaked to incorporate a pair of fog lamps, along with a grey skid plate. Progressing towards the rear, you’ll also noticed that the third window near the D-pillar has a more pronounced kink than on the concept. The muscular lines that flow over the wheel arches are carried over as well.


At the rear, the taillights, available with optional LEDs, have been redesigned to include a thin chrome stripe bearing the SUV’s name. The dual exhaust outlets are also highlighted by a grey surround this time, within a black bumper.

Though it may look like a carbon copy of the CrossBlue, the Atlas is actually longer and taller than the concept, measuring 5,037 mm in length (+51 mm) and 1,768 mm in height (+36 mm). However, it is only 1,979 mm wide, which is 35 mm less than the show car. This body rests on Volkswagen’s modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform, the same one used for the Golf.

Moving inside, the Atlas offers seating for seven, one more than available on the concept. Volkswagen says that the SUV’s innovative folding seat solution allows for easy access to the third row, as well as range of different configurations that even allows for a canoe to be slotted inside.


The two-tone dashboard mimics the layout found on the concept, and features Volkswagen’s Active Info Display (or Volkswagen Digital Cockpit if you’re from the US). There’s also the Volkswagen Car-Net infotainment system that offers smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or MirrorLink. The system is paired with a Fender Premium Audio System has twelve speakers and a 480-watt amplifier.

Compared to the concept, the Atlas gets the Mk7 Golf’s steering wheel and gear lever, while the switchgear for the air-con is less futuristic in appearance. The door cards also get replaced to feature more conventional-type handles, with the side mirror controls being repositioned as well.

Powering the Atlas is a choice of two powertrains – a 2.0 litre four-cylinder TSI turbocharged engine that develops 238 PS, and a 3.6 litre VR6 with 280 PS. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed transmission, with power being sent to the front wheels, or via the brand’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system to all four of them. The latter gets a Driving Mode Selection feature so drivers can adjust the car to suit driving conditions.

In terms of safety and driver assistance, the Atlas (depending on trim level) gets Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist), Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist), and Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist).

Volkswagen also claims the Atlas is the only vehicle in its class to offer the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. The safety feature automatically decelerates the car when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors, thus helping reduce residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage.

As mentioned previously, the Atlas will be built for North America at the VW plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, alongside the Passat. From the end of 2017, the seven-seater SUV will be offered in the Russia and Middle East markets.