Volkswagen Atlas SUV to debut at Los Angeles motor show

Enormous SUV may help to regain market confidence for VW in the US

Volkswagen will soon offer an SUV even larger than the Touareg when it launches the new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas at the 2016 Los Angeles auto show.

As yet, European sales are unconfirmed - for the time being, the Atlas will be both built (at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant) and sold in the United States, where it is the biggest Volkswagen ever built in the country.

Engine choice will also be very much aimed at US buyers, with no diesel option - not at all surprising after the “Dieselgate” scandal that has seen VW withdraw all diesel models from sale.

The two engines being offered are a 2-litre turbocharged four cylinder producing 238bhp, and a 280bhp 3.6-litre VR6 unit, both of which send their power through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is available in the 2-litre car, while 4Motion all-wheel drive will be standard in the VR6.

Stretched over a large footprint - it’s over five metres long and only 22mm short of two metres wide - the Atlas’s chunky styling should come as no great shock to anyone familiar with Volkswagen’s current design language, with uncomplicated lines and simple details the order of the day.

Also read: Volkswagen Golf GTI review - still the benchmark hot hatch?

The body clothes a standard seven-seat cabin whose third row is apparently large enough to accommodate two adults, while the rest of the interior is, like the exterior, standard Volkswagen fare - you’ll recognise the steering wheel from a Golf, for instance.

Tech includes LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and optional LED tail lights, with a “Volkswagen Digital Cockpit” instrument panel, various connected services (including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink), and an optional 480-watt Fender Premium Audio System.

It isn’t, it has to be said, the most exciting car we’ll be seeing in LA, and not even the most exciting SUV - Alfa Romeo’s expected and long-awaited Stelvio is sure to take that title - but in VW’s latest behemoth it may begin to attract some of the customers who’ve lost confidence in the brand since its diesel troubles.

You can follow more reports from the Los Angeles auto show on our full hub page.

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