Atlas built for Canada
Roomy and comfortable SUV is calm and responsive to drive, even on an icy lake in Quebec
Volkswagen has toyed with SUVs in the past. Until its recent makeover, Tiguan was too small for most SUV intenders, while the now-departed-fromCanada Touareg was too pricey and not really big enough.
So now comes Atlas, a designed-and-built-in-NorthAmerica six/seven-seat mid-tolarge-sized SUV that starts at $35,690. The name is supposed to represent the mythical giant who held the world on his shoulders. But maybe it’s really just short for “at last.”
Atlas is based on the MQB platform, which isn’t really so much a platform as a set of structural components that can be sized up or down to build a wide variety of vehicles, from the big Atlas to the compact Golf. This concept saves engineering time and cost, and helps ensure that the oily and structural bits are well-tested and robust.
VW brought us to this lovely remote setting a couple of hours north by northeast of Montreal, where Johnny Depp stayed during the shooting of his 2004 flick Secret Window.
Stepping into Atlas, you see that this truck is spacious. The front seats felt supportive and comfortable. The middle row is decently sized for three adults. In the two higher grades, you can opt for two captain’s chairs in place of the three-seat bench. WWW.THESTAR.COM
On the road, Atlas seemed to shrink around us, handling anything we could throw at it with a calm demeanour.
We not only got to drive Atlas on some cool roads, but also on some hopefully coolenough ice on Lac Sacacomie. We ran the SUV through a big slalom course, kicking up snow just for the fun of it.
Atlas is one of the rare vehicles VW seems to have designed just for our market, although it is likely to get wider distribution.
How does VW’s Golf R compare on the ice? Find out at thestar.com/autos
The new Atlas is designed and built in North America.