The 2019 Volkswagen Atlas midsize 3-row crossover moves into its second year of existence. It adds some more equipment to the entry level S trim, including some safety features. That kind of move is always a welcome one. This makes the Atlas even more competitive in its class and it was already doing a pretty good job at that.
The Atlas is the product of a German company, but it was designed and developed especially for the U.S. So that means it’s a roomy crossover with seating for up to seven occupants where no one is far away from a cup holder, and it’s wide enough for three adults in the second row. It’s even built in Tennessee.
Volkswagen is eager to please its American market in other ways too. If anyone is a little unsure about getting a VW instead of something Japanese or Korean, they may feel reassured by the company’s transferable drivetrain warranty that lasts 6 years/72,000 miles (whichever arrives the soonest).
What’s New for 2019?
Forward-collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking/pedestrian detection and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert are now standard in the lowest trim level, along with automatic headlights, heated side mirrors and rain-sensing wipers. Two new trims — SE w/Technology R-Line and SEL R-Line — join the range. The SE trim gains tri-zone automatic climate control, while the SE w/Technology trims now offer the options of a panoramic sunroof, garage door opener and 20-in alloy wheels. And SEL trims receive the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, upgraded infotainment system with navigation, heated steering wheel and LED taillights as standard.
Behind the Wheel
Comfort and serenity are the hallmarks of the driving experience. The Atlas feels stable and composed, and the high driving position will please many. The main downside is that neither engine has much muscle. A full complement of family and vacation gear is going to require patience. This is one of the roomiest vehicles in its class, but also one of the slowest.
Those in the front will see cabin materials that are almost premium quality, the kids behind get the less classy stuff that’s harder and can take more punishment. Third-row seating in many crossovers is a cramped and awkwardly accessed affair. Not in the Atlas. There are 33.7 inches of legroom, which is remarkable. It isn’t just for kids back there, even a couple of lanky teenagers will find it bearable (whether you’ll find the lanky teenagers bearable is another matter).