Brad Leach | Oct 31, 2016

Volkswagen chose an iconic North American location to whip the covers from its all-new Atlas SUV - the Santa Monica pier which is the West Coast (Californian) end of the historic Route 66.

Now in production at Volkswagen’s North American plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee (which also manufactures the North American Passat), the seven-seat Atlas provides the German superbrand a crucial shift into the large SUV segment which is so popular stateside (where it is actually a ‘mid-size’ SUV - the ‘large’ segment reserved for cars like the Lincoln Navigator and Chevrolet Tahoe).

As TMR reported a few weeks back, Volkswagen Australia boss Michael Bartsch is desperate to get the Atlas on-sale here, but needs to ignite further interest from major markets like the U.K. and South Africa in order to secure viability of right-hand-drive production.

Volkswagen North America has launched the all-new Atlas with a choice of two petrol engines - the 175kW 2.0-litre TSI turbocharged four-cylinder or the 206kW 3.6-litre VR6.

Drive is to the front wheels (4Motion all-wheel-drive optional on VR6 only) via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Sitting on a new version of Volkswagen’s MQB modular chassis architecture, the Atlas is 5037mm long, 1979mm wide and stands 1768mm tall - making it the largest Volkswagen model sold in North America.

Plenty of technology on-board too with the Atlas driver presented with Volkswagen Group’s configurable digital cockpit and a 12-speaker, 480W audio system from Fender with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink integration.

Safety features are numerous: adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert, lane departure warning, park assist and – a first for this segment – automatic post-collision braking.

MORE: Volkswagen News and Reviews

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