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Volkswagen’s seven-seat Atlas SUV uncovered

Atlas shrugged: Although the new Atlas SUV model is not confirmed for an Australian debut, Volkswagen’s local division has indicated it would be keen to sell the model if a right-hand-drive version was made available.

Seven-seat Atlas revealed by Volkswagen US, but new large SUV not likely for Aus

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Volkswagen logo28 Oct 2016

By TUNG NGUYEN

VOLKSWAGEN has finally unveiled its Atlas large SUV, a seven-seat crossover targeted towards the huge United States market, but an Australian debut remains unlikely.

Speaking to GoAuto, Volkswagen Group Australia general manager of corporate communications Paul Pottinger said the Atlas could slot into VW’s current SUV range, but is currently restricted to left-hand-drive production.

“It is something we’d definitively look at if it becomes available in right-hand drive, but right-hand drive is not planned that we know of,” he said.

“But it would be a welcome addition to our ongoing SUV roll-out.” The largest vehicle in the Volkswagen US stable, the Atlas measures 5037mm long, 1979mm wide and 1768mm tall, making it bigger than the Touareg (4796mm long, 1941mm wide, 1709mm tall) and the Tiguan (4486mm long, 1839mm wide, 1643mm tall).

However, in terms of VW’s SUV pecking order, Mr Pottinger revealed the Atlas actually sits below the Touareg – which shares its same platform with the Porsche Cayenne and previous-generation Audi A7 and features higher levels of comfort and refinement.

“It would fit between Tiguan long-wheelbase and Touareg if it came to us, but again it is a capital if,” he said.

“In terms of what it represents, it has a bit more space than the Tiguan long-wheelbase, which is a seven seater and a forthcoming product, but it would be beneath the new Touareg, which will come to us later.” The upcoming Tiguan seven-seater will plug the German brand’s lack of additional pews in its SUV range, but a large-sized crossover with three rows would give it a competitor to the likes of the the Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Kluger.

In the Atlas, VW has utilised a new second-row seat-folding design which allows access to the sixth and seventh seats even with child seats installed in the middle row.

Powering the new crossover will be a choice of either a 175kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine or a 206kW 3.6-litre VR6. No diesel engine options are available.

Power will be fed through an eight-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels or all-four corners as an option with the VR6 engine.

On the outside, the Atlas features LED headlights and daytime running lights (DRLs) with the option of LED tail-lights in the rear.

Inside, the Atlas makes use of all-digital instrumentation and a touchscreen that features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink connectivity, as well as an optional Fender 12-speaker premium sound system with 12 channels and a 480-watt amplifier.

A wide array of safety features comes standard with the Atlas, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and park assist.

Volkswagen North America CEO Hinrich Woebcken hopes the Atlas SUV will resonate with US buyers.

“This is the biggest and boldest Volkswagen we have ever built in the United States, delivering the distinctive design and craftsmanship we’re known for, now with room for seven,” he said.

“The Atlas marks a brand new journey for Volkswagen to enter into the heart of the America market.”

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