Fresh from showing the Cross Sport in October last year, Volkswagen has given the model on which it is based, the seven-seat Atlas, a mid-life refresh at the Chicago Auto Show.
Currently Wolfsburg’s flagship SUV in North America following the discontinuing of the Touareg three years ago, the Atlas, which debuted in 2016 as the first USA market specific Volkswagen after the widely publicised diesel emissions scandal, receives a new three-bar grille, redesigned front and rear bumpers, newly designed head-and-taillights and a tweaked R-Line styling pack that brings new alloy wheels measuring up to 21-inches.
Inside, the interior boasts a new steering wheel, optional contrasted stitching on the seats, an eight-inch Composition Media infotainment system on all but the entry-level S model, Car-to-X connectivity with on-board Wi-Fi and an extensive array of options such as a 12-speaker Fender sound system, quad-zone climate control, ventilated and heated front seats, the Active Info Display instrument cluster and wireless smartphone charging.
Like the Cross Sport, the Atlas comes with a choice of eight trim levels; S, SE, SE Tech, SE Tech R-Line, SEL, SEL R-Line SEL Premium and SEL Premium R-Line with motivation coming from two petrol engines; a 2.0 TSI outputting 175kW/350Nm and a 3.6 VR6 that delivers 206kW/360Nm. While the eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox is again the sole option across the range, the 2.0 TSI can now be specified with the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system that has been a V6 exclusive until now.
Built alongside the Cross Sport and Passat at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga Plant in Tennessee, the Atlas will go on sale in North America around June with pricing set to be a tad higher than the $30 895 (R462 316) starting price of the current front-wheel-drive 2.0 TSI S. Although it was reported back in 2018 that the Atlas could become available in right-hand-drive around 2023, it remains left-hand-drive only for now and therefore a no-no for South Africa.