Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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Cars in the City

Volkswagen Atlas


Volkswagen is known for its most iconic cars — the Beetle (slug bug) and the VW minivan. It’s been a while since those original models were sold, and Volkswagen SUVs are now their best-selling vehicles.

The 2024 Atlas SEL Premium RL is a midsize SUV. The higher-end model rings in at $55,114 and gets an average of 21 mpg.

The all-wheel drive, two-liter, 16-valve turbo, four-cylinder is ideal for passengers. With three rows of seating, it seats up to seven comfortably. To access the back row, it takes just a push of a button. If you have a child car seat in the second row, you don’t need to take it out to get to the third row.

The second and third rows all have charge ports for devices. The deep side-door pockets are roomy enough to fit a gulp-sized drink. But, if you slam the door from the outside, make sure the lid is secure. 

With heated and vented seats, the Atlas takes you through all the Iowa seasons with comfort. Instead of gripping older-model steering wheels made of slippery, hard-rubber material, the leather wrapped steering wheel is comfy. The heated steering wheel is a toasty bonus.

A unique feature located under the center console is a pass-through opening to the passenger’s side to put items. Ladies, you can easily put your small purse here. It stays secure and won’t tip over every time you make a sharp turn, having the contents spill out, rolling under the seat.  

I rarely attempt to park during a test drive, but I thought I’d try this park assist feature. On the 12-inch touch screen, I accessed the “P” or park assist menu. It told me to put on my turn signal once I am in the mode. After following instructions, all of a sudden, the steering wheel started turning sharply. I took my hands off the wheel and let it go. It reminded me of the Carrie Underwood song, “Jesus Take the Wheel,” because I was no longer driving. Granted, I didn’t have a lot of cars around me, but it’s a slick feature.

The ambient lighting means you can change colors throughout the car. At night, the front and back emblems also light up, similar to the Batmobile’s bat logo, but instead it’s a VW.

I like the vents in the front dash. You know how, when you crave AC, you painstakingly align the vent, but it’s never quite right? Air might reach the top of your head, but anything below your waist is hot. Well, this has two different adjustments on each vent, making it easier to get the ultimate comfort level.

To adjust temps on the touch screen, use the classic climate mode. Or, if you want, hit the Smart Climate mode, which explains in simple terms where you want the heat. Look for “warm hands,” “warm feet” or “clear view,” just in case you don’t know what defrost means. 

Although the iconic version of the Beetle is history, the Atlas is the future, offering unique features designed for comfort and ease. ♦

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