Shown at the Montreal Auto Show just over a month ago, and more recently at the Toronto Auto Show, the automaker is already giving us the opportunity to try their new midsize SUV under extreme winter conditions. Volkswagen invited a few automotive journalists to the rustic Sacacomie Lodge near St-Alexis-des-Monts in the superb Lanaudière region in Quebec. We will have the opportunity to test the vehicle on an improvised frozen lake circuit.
Will the Atlas replace the Touareg? At the Montreal Auto Show, Volkswagen cautiously said no but, as the Atlas fits in the same category as the aging Touareg, which has been around in its present guise since 2011, all bets are open. Based on the MQB platform, it is a true seven-passenger vehicle. Longer, wider and taller than the Touareg and built in the Chattanooga Tennessee plant, the Atlas is aimed squarely at the north-American market. A fact heavily emphasized in the introductory documentation.
Base models come with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and a front-wheel drivetrain, but the more interesting version pairs the 3.6-litre VR6 engine with 4MOTION all-wheel drive. This excellent AWD system includes active drive control to master all driving conditions. Be it front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the only transmission available is an eight-speed automatic.
Don’t miss our next instalment to discover how the Atlas behaves under these conditions.