Volkswagen is trimming the lineup for its Atlas three-row SUV, eliminating all but one four-cylinder version and axing the 2018 model’s cheapest, front-wheel-drive V-6 version. It’s also making modest price changes and adding some additional standard features, including standard safety tech for lower trim levels.
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For 2019, the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which only comes with FWD, goes from four available trim levels to just one: the base Atlas S. Four-cylinder versions of the higher-up SE, SE With Technology and SEL trims have been dropped. For 2019, the 2.0-liter S starts at $31,890 (all prices include a $995 destination fee), up $145.
For the record, Cars.com Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman found the higher-mileage four-cylinder Atlas “a perfectly respectable choice.” Cars.com also named the Atlas our Best of 2018 vehicle after it won our 2017 Three-Row SUV Challenge. You can find more Atlas coverage, including reactions from our year of owning one, here.
Also gone is the 2018 model’s least expensive V-6 variant, the S trim level with FWD, which started at $33,145. You still can get a 2019 model-year V-6 with FWD, but the least expensive way to do that now is in the SE trim, which starts at a much higher at $36,490 (up $255 from 2018). That’s also $1,400 more than the least expensive 2019 V-6 Atlas with all-wheel-drive, an S trim level that starts at $35,090 (up $145 from 2018).
The bottom line? If you want a nicer version of the Atlas with the 2.0-liter engine, or you want a cheaper front-drive version of the V-6 Atlas, you’ll need to strike now while you still can find 2018 model-year examples on dealer lots. As of today, Cars.com has dealer listings for around 1,300 new 2018 2.0-liter SE, SE With Technology and SEL models. To give you extra incentive to move quickly on those 2018 four-cylinder models, VW is offering[MF7] qualified shoppers a $1,000 rebate and 1.9 percent financing for 60 months through Halloween. The 2018 Atlas S with a V-6 and FWD is more of a unicorn; just 114 are listed on Cars.com nationwide as of this writing.
While there are fewer configurations, the 2019 Atlas will continue to have seven trim levels: S, SE, SE With Technology, SE With Technology R-Line, SEL, SEL R-Line and SEL Premium. Powertrains remain the turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder (235 horsepower) and 3.6-liter V-6 (276 hp), each mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Newly standard across the board is a frontal collision system with automatic emergency braking and a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert. All models also get standard automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers and heated side mirrors.
Added features for other trim levels include three-zone automatic climate control for the SE and the newly optional panoramic moonroof on the SE With Technology. Meanwhile, the SEL goes a little more upscale with a standard configurable instrument display, in-car navigation system, LED taillights and a heated steering wheel.
Pricing for other 2019 V-6 Atlas trim levels with FWD (add $1,800 for AWD) are as follows: The SE With Technology starts at $38,290 (down $45 from 2018), while the SE With Technology R-Line starts at $40,240 (up $55). The SEL starts at $42,390 (up $255), and the SEL R-Line starts at $44,340 (up $245). However, the top-of-the-line SEL Premium, which has standard all-wheel-drive, gets a price cut of $345 to start at $49,390.
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