2018 Atlas: The Happy Truth About Volkswagen’s Spacious Claim – Forbes


2018 Atlas – Photo courtesy of Volkswagen

By Christopher Jensen

It will come as no surprise to anyone that automakers exaggerate, including boasting of five or six or seven-passenger capacity while merrily ignoring the question of whether there is any anguish involved.

The latest automaker to make such a claim is Volkswagen, with the 2018 Atlas, its new mid-size SUV. It boast seven-passenger capacity.

Riding around the block with a bunch of people to test an occupancy rating is one thing. It’s another to load six adults and their luggage into an Atlas for a round trip from the White Mountains of New Hampshire to Montreal, about three hours and 170 miles away. So, that’s what we did.

There’s nothing nice about teasing and everyone’s busy, so here’s the answer: Volkswagen has massive credibility problems when it comes to the emissions of its diesel engines.

But it is not kidding about the Atlas. It will comfortably carry six occupants for something more than a ride across town – and two of them don’t have to be sedated five-year olds.

It helps that the second rows slides fore and aft 7.7 inches, allowing tailoring for different-size occupants.It also easily flips way forward, making it easy for someone who’s not a seven-year-old gymnast to reach the third row with dignity and joints intact.

There are two minor downsides to the third row. One is that the seat cushions are a bit short. The other is that the seat back can’t be reclined more.

But I’m almost 6’4” and could sit there with another adult in the second row, in front of me. It’s not limo seating, but it’s tolerable, which is a huge improvement over most third rows.


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