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July 10, 2017
By Mario Cywinski


Volkswagen launched its first sport utility vehicle, the Tourag, in Canada in 2004. The vehicle rode on the same architecture as the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne and enjoyed modest success here. in 2009, VW brought the Tiguan to North American shores as it expanded its SUV offerings. This was VW’s first entry into the crossover/small SUV segment in North America, which has been growing exponentially since their introduction. Tiguan, while being a favourite among fleets, was considered by some as being just a tad too small. VW rectified that by introducing a larger Tiguan for the 2018 model year. However, for those with even larger appetites, a new North American built model, the Atlas, has arrived.

With vehicles growing ever larger to accommodate consumers wishes for more space, Volkswagen expects the Atlas to shoulder that load. Built at its Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly plant, which also builds the Passat, Atlas will replace the Touareg in VW’s North American line-up while still being sold elsewhere in the world.

“The Atlas is big news for Volkswagen Canada, in more ways than one. As our entry in the growing mid-sized SUV segment, the Atlas opens up a market that we previously were not represented in and gives our customers something to step up to as their needs for size and space increase,” said Thomas Tetzlaff, Manager, Public Relations, Volkswagen Canada. “We are quite proud of this vehicle, as it is every bit a Volkswagen, while at the same time offering a tremendous amount of interior space and carrying capacity.”

The Atlas is definitely the largest VW ever sold in Canada and the first to offer seven seats, a popular fleet requirement. With dimensions of: 5,036 millimetres length, 1,978 mm width and 1,769 mm height, its bigger in every way then its predecessor, including increased cargo capacity of more than 1571L behind the second row seats.

In 2016, VW sold 1,608 Tiguans and 114 Touaregs into fleet in Canada, according to IHS Markit. With the popularity of the CUV and SUV class in the North American market, VW believes the Atlas will compete favorably in this continually growing segment.

Atlas comes with two engine options, a 2.0 litre turbocharged inline-four TSI engine with 235 horsepower and 258 foot/pounds of torque available on front-wheel-drive models; and a 3.6L VR-6 FSI engine with 276hp and 266 ft/lbs of torque on all-wheel-drive models. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. For fleets that have a towing requirement The Atlas can pull up to 5,000 pounds.

Atlas has a rugged North American look to it, complete with a large front fascia, grille, 18 or 20-inch wheels and tires, and offers standard LED headlights and LED DRLs with the option of available LED taillights.

Safety features on the Atlas are plentiful, including Automatic Post-Collision Braking system, which applies the brakes after an initial (primary) collision is detected, by use of the airbag sensor, and helps to reduce the chance of a secondary collision and further damage. Other available safety features are: adaptive cruse control, forward collision warning with front assist (automatic emergency braking), pedestrian monitoring, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, and parking steering assist.

App-Connect is standard and integrates with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink. A Fender Premium audio system is available with a 400-watt amp with 12 speakers. Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, which allows users to reconfigure how they see information in their gauge cluster, is available.

With over 14 years experience in the Canadian SUV/CUV market, Volkswagen has offered a small and medium sized solution. The Atlas is VW’s first foray into larger SUVs. With lots of cargo capacity, 7 passenger seating, advanced safety features and choice of powerful engines, VW hopes the Atlas’ broad shoulders will put it on the map.

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