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Entry price: $30,895

Price as tested: $40,239

Likes: Great interior, enhanced safety, exterior motif, big cargo.

Dislikes: V6 acceleration could be better, city MPG suspect, can get expensive moving up in trim.

This week, we’re reviewing the 2019 VW Atlas, the all-new three-row SUV that debuted to positive reviews. New for 2019 are standard features across the line including automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. Notable is that the entry Atlas S base price moves up just $500, which is certainly a fair increase for such high-tech safety additions.

Other than these safety features and the four-cylinder Turbo-4 available only on the entry S, the 2019 Atlas is identical to last year’s all-new creation and features a three-row, seven-passenger standard seating. Replacing the five-passenger Toureg, Atlas sits alongside smaller crossover Tiguan at the VW stores, the latter which also received a major makeover for 2018. 

Starting with the aforementioned Atlas S, which is a front-drive unit powered by a Turbo-4 for $30,875, consumers then move up through another 12 (yes, 12) V6 powered front-drive and VW’s famous 4Motion 4x4s with active control to arrive at the summit SEL 4Motion V6, retailing for $48,395 fully loaded. The entry price for our Atlas V6 SE Tech 4Motion is $39,095, and comes delivered with just about every standard feature you’ll need. If you live in a warm climate state, this same Atlas SE Tech vehicle with front-drive starts at $37,295. Our tester had just one option, interior floor Mojo Mats for just $149 more, bringing the final tally to $40,239 with $995 destination included. (Check with your dealer for any incentives).

 A change in engine offerings for 2019 finds the V6 powering all but the entry S, while last year you could drive a mid-level SE with four-cylinder power. I feel VW made the right choice as I did recommend the more powerful V6 over the Turbocharged 4-cylinder for obvious power and towing advantages. 

Specifically, the 3.6-liter V6 develops 276 horses and 266 lb. ft. of torque versus the small 2.0-liter inline turbo 4-cylinder that delivers 235 horses and 258 lbs. of torque. When you load your Atlas up with a food order and some passengers, the extra 41 horses will surely be used and highly appreciated. All Atlas models utilize a fine shifting eight-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission for optimum low RPM cruising and city performance. 

Of all the trims available, the Atlas SE V6 w/technology 4Motion may well be the best value overall. Standard features include all the high-tech items like Apple and Android compatibility, Volkswagen App-Connect, (which starts when you plug in your Smartphone) adaptive cruise, enhanced rear view camera, front collision warning, emergency braking, lane assist, lane departure, eight-speaker SiriusXM with CD player, power liftgate and much more. 

Then you add SE’s leatherette trim interior, 18-inch tires on nice alloy wheels, power driver seat, heated front seats, rear sunshades, blind-spot monitor, eight-inch touchscreen, three zone climate control, remote push button start and you have a near fully loaded Atlas. 

Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at greg@gregzyla.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.


Auto bits

People are attacking self-driving vehicles

Not everyone is ready to embrace a future full of autonomous vehicles. Despite this resistance, companies like Waymo have vehicles out on the streets right now as part of the testing process. This seems to be hitting a nerve with reports of those vehicles being attacked in Chandler, Arizona.

It seems that not everyone wants testing to happen in their neighborhood, which is understandable. These are vehicles driving the streets on their own, which is a scary proposition. While there are still human drivers at the wheel to take over if needed, the mere idea of driverless cars testing on public roads is making people in Chandler a bit testy.

The attacks have varied from slashed tires to more frightening incidents. There are reports of people throwing rocks at Waymo vehicles and even of people trying to run them off the road. One man brandished a gun in defiance of the self-driving technology.

There have been 21 reported attacks on Waymo vehicles. This is a small number given how many miles are driven every day, but there’s no way of knowing how many attacks went unreported. 

Best Ride/Nicole Wakelin


Auto News

The rate of motor vehicle crash deaths per million children younger than 13 is now less than a quarter of what it was in 1975, according to studies.