VW Atlas named ‘Best 3-Row SUV’ in Cars.com Challenge
For years, Volkswagen has been trying to find the formula it needed to crack the SUV market in the U.S. First, the Touareg, a midsized two-row crossover, which achieved a bit of success but was not the breakthrough the automaker had hoped. Then came the Tiguan, a compact crossover, however, it turned out to be a limited-audience niche CUV. Both Touareg and Tiguan were not the breakthroughs VW had hoped.
Atlas is VW’s first U.S.-designed three-row SUV
Enter the Atlas, the first American-designed full-sized three-row SUV made by VW. Atlas is unique among VW offerings. VW listened to its dealers and designed a vehicle specifically for the U.S. market. It was not a vehicle designed and built in Europe for the U.S. market; VW developed the Atlas for the U.S. market, designed to meet its needs. For VW, the Atlas is unique. Before committed Atlas to this market first, vehicles had to meet policies developed and implemented in Wolfsburg. In effect, VW-developed cars for the U.S. market had a distinctly European tilt. Somehow, the design team almost achieved their aim, but, as is said, almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. They didn’t get it quite right.
However, when they let the U.S. folks in on the design and naming of the vehicle – unheard of in Wolfsburg and VW circles – the dynamic changes. At last, they hit the mark for the U.S. market. The three-row Atlas has been greeted with growing sales since it went on sale in July. And now, as if to validate the view of the American branch of VW that it knows its market, the Atlas has been named the “Best 3-Row SUV of 2017” by Cars.com. VW Tiguan wins Cars.com honors, too.
Cars.com put four family vehicles through an exhaustive set of tests aimed determining the best option for shoppers. The other SUVs tested were:
VW Atlas ‘stole the show’
Jenn Newman, Cars.com editor-in-chief,” said that Atlas was VW’s Atlas “won this competition by one of the larger margins in the Cars.com Challenge history.” She said the Atlas “stole the show with its refined driving manners, ample passenger and cargo space, and easy-to-use technology.”
An enthusiastic Derrick Hatami, executive VP of sales and marketing for VW of America, said in an interview that the automaker is “proud of this win for the all-new Atlas. Adding a three-row SUV to our lineup has been a long time coming, so it was paramount to get it right. Coming out first a head-to-head comparison with several key competitors is evidence that we are doing just that.”
For the Challenge, the vehicles could not exceed $46,000 (suggested retail), including all options and destination charges. The judges looked at 12 categories: interior quality, front-seat comfort, second-row comfort, third-row comfort, cargo storage, in-cabin storage, multimedia, powertrain, ride quality, noise, visibility, and value. Models also received points for advanced active safety features as well as the unique Cars.com Car Seat Check, which gauges how accommodating each vehicle is to various child-safety seats.
The results were:
1. 2018 VW Atlas (SEL, V-6 4Motion (AWD))
2. 2018 Chevrolet Traverse
3. 2017 Honda Pilot
4. 2017 Toyota Highlander
Atlas’ victory follows one by redesigned Tiguan
The Atlas’ victory is the second recent win for VW in the Cars.com Challenge. The redesigned Tiguan (“long Tiguan”) scored number one ranking in the 2017 Compact SUV Challenge.