Sunday, October 22, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Pros and Cons

By: Sebastien Bell
We here at the VW Vortex offices always seek to give you the best possible advice when it comes to shopping for cars. Sadly, we just can’t tell you about the full ownership experience of every car in VW’s illustrious history, though we’d certainly like to. So when our team of algorithm monkeys—former Blackberry programmers we found begging outside a cybersecurity conference—came up with a forum-crunching algorithm to dive deep into VW Vortex’s comments, we immediately set it work.
In this ongoing series, we’ll be taking a look at the good and the bad sides of vehicle ownership as reported by you. This week, the algorithm machine—no, you don’t know how math works!—has been set loose on the Atlas forum to find the out exactly what real owners like and don’t like about VW’s latest SUV.
After firing up the Algorithmotron 3000 for the first time, we’ve discovered a bunch of interesting things. There are a lot of really happy Atlas buyers, though the car hasn’t been totally problem-free. Volkswagen, for instance, still needs some time figuring out this whole towing thing.


Dieslpwr says of the towing:
“There’s a small rectangular plate on the left of the hitch. You need to remove the small plate and replace it with a plug. VW really should’ve included it, but the new Q7 is the same.”
Fuel economy, too, has been less than stellar. With reports for real-world fuel economy ranging between 15 and 20 mpg, owners aren’t exactly having their socks blown off.
Forum member Rhgti1 says:
“SEL Premium 4motion.
Around 15 MPG. Combination of a 20-mile highway commute 2-3 times a week, and many short (2-3 mile) trips around town rest of the time.
The disappointing fact is that combined with a moderately sized fuel tank I get only about 250 miles between refuels.”
Finally, there have been a few teething issues. While there were a couple of rogue problems reported (most of which got fixed), one problem, in particular, seemed to strike a chord with forum members.
Utsava writes:
“I have this same issue! I’d almost describe it as a muted “rattling” or “creaking” sound that can only be heard at, like, 5-15 MPH. It also goes to say, that this sound was NOT there during the first 4500 miles or so I had the car – so it isn’t “just the way the car is”. I actually have this in the shop with them looking at it today. We will see what they say, but I’m not holding my breath they will do anything about it.
Update: Just got the car back from the dealer. The tech verified the low rattling sound, and “installed additional screws at left front wheel trim.” Not sure exactly what that means, but my wife verifies that the sound is gone. So it seems the rattling, at least in my case, was from a loose/unsecured left front wheel trim. Easy fix.”


It wasn’t all problems, though. As many threads and stories focused on the positives of ownership. Adaptive Cruise Control, for example, was well appreciated.
Not_so_furious reports:
“I used the ACC in stop and go traffic for the first time yesterday. I really liked it, and thought it made the drive significantly less annoying. I found myself frequently messing with the distance setting (you can adjust how much distance to keep between you and the car in front of you). At higher speeds, I didn’t mind having a bigger gap, but at slower speeds I felt like it could follow closer.”
And VW’s safety features helped in more ways than one.
MGPVW claims:
“Due to the safety features, my insurance company informed me my insurance was going down almost $200 per year!”
In terms of cross-shopping, the Atlas fared well against the competition.
Lopan says:
“For my wife and I, the Atlas tops the [Honda] Pilot on the following:
* Better infotainment all-around, including volume knobs
* 3rd row access with child seats in 2nd row
* Better access and usability out of the 3rd row
* After tilting the 2nd row for 3rd row access, the 2nd row seats return to their previous position
Those last 2 points are key. Even if I want to squeeze myself into the back of the Pilot, I first have to crush my knees, and then push the 2nd row back forward. We expect adults will use that row on our somewhat-regular very long car trips, so access is a big deal. The kids will need that in a few years as well.”
Naturally, the Algorithmotron 3000 is only as good as the data that goes into it, so take the comments with a grain of salt, but the results are based on trends in an effort to protect the results from internet-related mistruths. So, it seems, people are pretty happy with their Atlases, but there are still some areas that VW could work on. Our algorithm also came up with inconclusive data on the second row captains’ chairs, with many users calling them deal breakers, but as many people on either side of the debate. Probably better to continue offering both, then. Although it’s a new car, many users also brought up the fact that all of its parts are well known to the VW community, so there shouldn’t be any surprises there and there should be long drivetrain life.
Ultimately, then, it makes sense that this big VW is selling like hotcakes, leading to one of the strongest third quarters in VW’s American history.

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