2018 VW Atlas V6 SEL Premium w/ 4Motion – Road Test Review + Video

A recent comment on our amazing VW Atlas youtube drive review has really stuck in my craw.

“Atlas is not a Tahoe competitor,” they say.

“Atlas competes with Pilot and Highlander, dude,” is the refrain.

And I used to agree with these guys.

On paper, Atlas with its seating for 8 and pricing from $30k, might seem like a natural rival to car-based midsize crossovers.  It even runs a standard turbo four and front-wheel drive, after all!  (Same for new Q7 on the turbo four…)

But Atlas is so much more than a proper three-row rival to Explorer and Durango.


Atlas is huge.  Experience it in person before saying this is no Tahoe rival!

That’s exactly what we did.  Foot on the floor, as usual, and loving that trademark VR6 growl up the rev range.

Kick things off with a few minutes of this drive review. Features drone cams, chase cams, on-car cameras and even dynamic handling shots from the exterior.  And then heads inside for normal POV performance driving.  It might be the best video CRD has ever done, if we’re honest.

and same might go for VW and SUVs.  Atlas is best yet.

Making it our 2018 Best of Award winner for a new three-row SUV.  One that is *thisclose* to full-size.




The Atlas is all block-jawed Bentayga to these eyes.  The giant alloys of the SEL are not even the coolest spec.  That would be the R-Line!

But all are chic as F.

The LEDs are things of special beauty.  Heck, the whole lamp setup is divine and gorgeous.  Seriously Bugatti-levels of excellence thanks to the VW Group.

The lines are unlike just about any other big SUV on the streets.  It rides lower than the truck-based SUVs it sizes against.

But holy moly is this a macho and beautiful hunk of granite.  Just check out those flexing lines in the hood in the Youtube cover above.  Just rippling and bristling with muscle from the outside, this Atlas.


Cabin is another level of brilliant, too.

But at a price.

The base running low low 30s climbs right away when you add the Audi-style in-gauge Nav and displays.  Leather and giant moonroof, of course, and even the VR6 and AWD are yet more options.


You’re the king of VW at the helm of the top models.  Everything.  Heated and cooled (giant, wide and deep) leather seats.  Yes.

Heated and Cooled at the same time!

Yes!  Imagine a chilly wet ski-suit scenario and this is instant genius.

Remote start on a German car?!


It goes on and on and on.

The second row.

The second row is where you really realize the scale of this flat-floored monster.

Three individual, real seats!  Seriously huge knee and foot room.  Oh, and shoulder and head room.  And leg room.

The touchable, Panamera-style black screens for the rear HVAC and entertainment is a nice touch too.


It pulls strongly, handles like a proper VW, and is nimble versus rivals.

Sums it up!

The eight-speed is a trusty partner, but mileage numbers are — on paper at least — no better than its V8 Tahoe chums.


“It’s a family racecar!” we yell on the above video review.

Is it?

Sure as the sunrise!

There is no better three-row, midsize SUV — at doing a full-size job.