I am sure that most of my friends and even several of you, my readers, know how much I hate my mini-van. Okay well, it’s not so much hate as it is a dislike of the fact that I really have no other options to fit my family in an average budget vehicle. For my larger family of 7, vehicle options in a price range that isn’t going to break the bank are extremely limited.
Enter the Volkswagen Atlas and I think we have found our next vehicle. I was extremely excited about this vehicle since I saw it at the Auto Show in Toronto last year and I could not wait until they had their media fleet up and running so I could check it out for myself. I brought it home with expectations and I really was hoping it would be everything I wanted in a vehicle for my family and it did not disappoint.
All of my kids wanted to keep it for good and not return it all. I have to admit I felt that way too. I wonder if they would have noticed that I left them my mini-van instead?
Anyway, let’s get down to what I loved about this beast of an SUV. Did I mention that it fit all 7 of my family in it effortlessly? Let’s start with that. I have two kids still in full, large car seats and one I still have in a booster seat. Although I do have Diono seats which fit wonderfully next to each other, I was concerned with how the one seat would fit rear facing for my youngest. There is only one seat I can use in the mini-van so I was worried. I didn’t have to be. The Atlas in the middle row of seats has both space and clips to have 3 seats across and enough space to have the seat rear facing behind either seat (although because my husband is 6 foot 3, we can never have a rear-facing seat behind him) and in the middle as well.
My concern was how do I get my older two boys into the back seat without struggling? They designed the middle seats to with a tilt and slide feature that, wait for it, allows the seat to move with a car seat on it! My mind was blown away by this feature alone. I was able to get my older boys in the back quickly, easily and with zero hassle.
One other feature I need to mention that really was important to me was trunk space. This was one of those things that none of the other SUV options could boast and although most would fit my family, there was zero trunk space for things like strollers and groceries. Although the trunk space in the Atlas is very large, I would still be a little hard-pressed to have both my stroller for my youngest and a full grocery shop in the trunk. That isn’t to say that it would change my decision on purchasing this vehicle at all. I still found the amount of trunk space to be decent compared to all the others that we did check out.
Obviously, the vehicle we were given to drive was fully-loaded including the panoramic power sunroof and all the extra bells and whistles. The manufacturers retail on the one I was driving was $52,540 and although way out of any budget I would make, their base model starts at $35,690. The trim I would choose starts at $39,690 and it comes with every feature I loved or would need (including some I just really want). The amount of standard equipment with even this model will blow you away and I can’t even list them all for you here but you can head over to Volkswagen and build your own just to see what I am talking about.
One of my favourite features that I had no idea even existed was the adaptive cruise control. I use cruise control on my van whenever I can to save fuel and because when you are travelling on the highway, it’s handy to stay within the speed limit. I have never seen adaptive cruise control in action but man did it make my drive that much better when I was on the 401.
Imagine setting the cruise at 100 and never needing to touch anything again even when traffic slows or a car inevitably cuts in front of you? It actually took me by surprise when the car slowed on its own and I loved the anti-collision features like forward-collision warning with autonomous emergency braking (Front Assist) adds pedestrian monitoring, which will warn the driver acoustically and visually, supply increased braking pressure, and if the driver does not react, apply the brakes in order to help mitigate a collision with a pedestrian as well as other vehicles; Blind Spot Detection with Rear Traffic Alert; Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist), which actively helps the driver steer the car back into its lane; and Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist).
With so many standard features available even on their base model, I would recommend this vehicle for anyone looking to fit their whole family in and still drive in style and comfort.