Volkswagen announced on Monday that it will build a five-passenger SUV based on the Atlas. Volkswagen’s press release says the new SUV will be a variant of the seven-passenger Atlas, and it will be be designed and engineered for the American market, just like the current Atlas.
VW didn’t say if the new model will also be called Atlas or if it will have a new name.
A concept version of the new model will be shown at the New York auto show later this month, and Volkswagen has released an illustration of that vehicle (see above). The concept seems to just show a shorter version of the current vehicle, though like all design sketches, it has larger wheels and sportier proportions. We also see a more attractive grille that dips down instead of shooting straight across, larger front air intakes, and sleeker roofline that drops down a bit in the rear.
A shorter, five-passenger Atlas would compete against models like the Ford Edge, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Nissan Murano instead of the three-row version’s Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, and Ford Explorer rivals.
Like the current Atlas, the new model will be based on the MQB platform that is also used for the current Golf, Passat, and Tiguan.
MQB is a front-wheel-drive-based platform that also offers all-wheel drive. The current Atlas is available with a 2.0-liter turbo-4 rated at 238 horsepower or a 280-hp 3.6-liter V-6. Pricing starts just over $31,000.
The five-passenger SUV will join the seven-passenger Atlas and the Passat as the third model built at VW’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, manufacturing plant. Volkswagen will invest $340 million into the facility to build the new model, after investing $900 million to build the Atlas. The Atlas went on sale last year.
No on-sale date has been given for the new five-passenger Atlas.