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Volkswagen Atlas wants to crack the lucrative American SUV market

Avoid getting too attached to the 2017 VW Atlas. It has been designed to conquer the US market and potentially China, but not Europe.

The VW Atlas has a doubly difficult task on its hands as not only is it leading the front after the ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal, it has to convince Americans to look past the plethora of SUVs already available there.

In a bid to make that happen and gain access to the lucrative mid-sized SUV market, which accounted for one in every ten vehicles sold in 2015 in the US, the VW Atlas features a chunkier, more brutish design its audience will be more familiar with.

Continuing the American vibe is the size. At 5,037mm long, 1,979mm wide and 1,768mm tall, it is, in fact, the largest VW on sale in America and Europe. The Touareg is 121mm shorter and lacks the proper seven-seat arrangement found in the Atlas.

Two engines will be available, a 238bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol and a more American 280bhp 3.6-litre V6 six-cylinder. VW’s 4Motion four-wheel drive system is only available for the latter, while both make use of an eight-speed automatic.

Inside are various gadgets to keep American families happy including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink for smartphone connectivity and infotainment duties. It also has a Fender sound system with 12 speakers that are powered by a 480-watt amplifier.

Meanwhile various safety systems in the VW Atlas aim to keep them safe, with Adaptive Cruise Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert and Parking Steering Assistant offered.

VW said fuel economy figures will be released ahead of the Atlas launch in the spring of 2017 and that it will go on sale in Russian and Middle Eastern markets from the end of the same year.

Expect more technical details and prices as we head towards the launch. In the meantime, VW was at least kind enough to show what the Atlas looks like. Not that it matters if you live in Europe.

VW Atlas pictures


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