— One of the competitors we were excited to test in our forthcoming 2017 Three-Row SUV Challenge was the all-new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas.
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The Atlas enters the lineup as Volkswagen 's largest vehicle, and the SUV impresses with good cargo and passenger room. Our Atlas was an SEL model with the V-6 Used Engine and all-wheel drive equipped. The 3.6-liter V-6 makes 276-horsepower and 266 pounds-feet of torque, and it comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Atlas offers a few different drive modes, so drivers can adjust the steering weight and throttle and transmission response to their liking.
Our test vehicle came with a second-row bench, which pushes seating capacity up to seven; optional captain's chairs reduce capacity to six. The Atlas can legitimately fit seven adults; third-row legroom and headroom are very good for this class, aided by 7.7 inches of second-row seat movement.
The SEL offers an impressive amount of standard equipment, including a panoramic sunroof, trailer hitch, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, an 8-inch touchscreen, a power liftgate and leatherette seating surfaces. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come standard as a part of the multimedia system, which has a sharp display and easy-to-navigate menus.
The Atlas also comes with plenty of safety technology and driver aids. Standard on the SEL are adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, lane keep assist, blind spot warnings and a unique rearview camera setup. The Atlas offers several different rear views depending on what you're trying to do — for example, one helps with hooking up a trailer and another with parallel parking.
Our Atlas had a final price tag of $43,615. Volkswagen also extended its warranty program for most models this year, and the Atlas comes with six years or 72,000-miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage.