2018 Volkswagen Atlas: Monthly Update for August 2018
by Cameron Rogers, Staff Writer
Where Did We Drive It?
As Brent alluded to in July's update, our man Dan Edmunds drove our new long-term 2018 Volkswagen Atlas to Oregon at the end of July/beginning of August. In one week, Dan drove more than 2,000 miles, or roughly half of the Atlas' miles traveled up until that point. After his return, our team puttered around the Los Angeles area for the rest of the month. Overall, we added 1,683 miles to the odometer in August.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
In August, Dan's trip alone accounted for 1,024 of those 1,683 miles. He averaged 24.2 mpg on his way back down the Pacific coast, surpassing the EPA's highway rating of 23 mpg. Dan also set a record on a leg from Eureka, Oregon, to Madera, California , achieving a new best fill record of 25.9 mpg.
Setting a new record is admittedly easy when a car is new to our fleet, but exceeding the EPA rating by nearly 13 percent is pretty good. I don't see us beating this record, unless Dan makes a concerted effort to supplant his own achievement. He's set best fuel records for our three previous three-row SUVs: the 2014 Toyota Highlander (26.5 mpg), the 2016 Honda Pilot (28.8 mpg) and the 2016 Mazda CX-9 (26.7 mpg).
Average lifetime mpg: 19.5
EPA mpg rating: 19 combined (17 city/23 highway)
Best fill mpg: 25.9
Best range: 397.6 miles
Current odometer: 5,152 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"My family and I took the Atlas to Oregon to visit my parents, and I went into the drive with no expectations of our new three-row SUV. I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised. Its steering turned out to be just about perfect, with impeccable straight-line stability on the long freeway stretches, smooth response, and nicely weighted effort buildup through the mountainous turns farther up the road. The chassis swallowed up the coastal Northwest's wavy pavement with no apparent effort, and the Atlas felt at home carving through any number of corners, whether they were billiard-table smooth or tortured by land movement. Where did this come from?" — Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing
"This feels big inside. The cabin is wide, but it doesn't feel like the front-seat passenger is far away. What there is instead is an abundance of elbow and hiproom. You aren't even close to being scrunched up against the door panel.
"As for the seats, they offer plenty of space and good support. I only wish the seat bottom was less flat and more conforming. It's not a perfect fit for my tall frame.
"At first I thought the dashboard styling was a bit dull, but my wife was a big fan. She liked the clean lines and simplicity. There's a lot to be said for that, but it still seems like the switchgear and buttons are dwarfed by the size and scale of the Atlas' cabin." — Dan Edmunds
"I firmly believe that adaptive cruise control helps save your sanity, especially on these dreadful stop-and-go L.A. commutes. The gargantuan Atlas benefits from this technology by maintaining a safe, conservative distance from the car in front no matter if you're going 25 mph or 70 mph." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, vehicle testing technician
"We went on a point-to-point hike with my brother and his adult kids while in Oregon, and the Atlas was the shuttle vehicle. Six adults and their day packs had no trouble fitting, and even those in the third row had zero complaints. There's decent space back there, and the second-row tilt feature makes it pretty easy to clamber in and out.
"On the way home, my family's luggage fit behind the second row easily. We had enough space that we kept one third-row seat up to prevent our stuff from sliding around. Pretty good utility here to go along with all of that passenger space in the first two rows." — Dan Edmunds
"You know those people who carry humongous 40-ounce water bottles? I'm one of those, and I'm always on the lookout for cupholders that can accommodate my oil drum-size bottles. Usually, I have to place my water bottle between the door and my thigh or on the passenger seat, so it is easily accessible. Thankfully, I can report that our Volkswagen Atlas can store my water bottle safely. Hydration is important — especially in the brutal heat of a Southern California summer." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres
"Our round trip amounted to 2,129 miles. The Altas averaged 23.7 mpg overall, which compares quite favorably to its fuel economy rating of 19 mpg combined (17 city/23 highway). The trip was a mix of highway cruising, some city driving and even a bit of light off-roading. All of that makes the fact that the average exceeded the highway rating impressive enough, but the trip's best tank of 25.9 mpg (over a best-range distance of 397.6 miles) pretty much destroyed the highway rating. If this trip is any indication, Atlas mpg ratings are pretty achievable." — Dan Edmunds