There’s no shortage of three row SUVs on the market, but two upcoming options that have debuts in the spring and summer of 2017 are the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas and the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse. Let’s take a look at what these new and updated models bring to the table.
The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse
The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse has been completely redesigned from the previous model, and offers seating for eight (in comparison to seating for seven with the standard second-row bench with the Atlas). It’s also available in LS, LT, RS, Premier, Redline and High Country trims.
The Traverse is offered in both a 2.0-liter turbocharge four-cylinder engine at 3.6-liter V6. Both engines make use of a nine-speed automatic transmission. While the 2018 Traverse’s body is longer than the previous model, there’s actually less cargo space (98.5 cubic feet compared to the previous 116.3). This newly updated models looks to be more fuel efficient and lighter than the outgoing version of the Traverse.
The new Traverse also incorporates several pieces of technology as standard features, including a teen driver mode, lane departure warning system and a surround-view camera for enhanced safety. Like the VW, the Traverse does come with a power lift gate.
However, while the Traverse does offer three rows of seating, the third-row seats are sized more for kids than adults. The second-row seats have been expanded to offer more legroom for adult passengers, though. VW and Chevy have been busy updating their compact models as well, which you can learn more about here and here.
The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas
A brand-new vehicle designed for the North American market, the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas offers three rows of seating and plenty of other perks. It’s an important vehicle for VW as it enters this competitive and profitable class. Under the hood, you’ll find a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine or you can opt for a 3.6-liter V6. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The V6 offers bring the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system as an option, which is’t available with the four cylinder. One of the most interesting things about the Atlas is that the third row of seats has ample room for adults to ride in relative comfort, which is a rarity in the segment.
Cargo space is roughly average for the segment, and the second-row seats fold down (60/40 split), and can be replaced with captain’s chairs if you prefer, but that cuts the passenger capacity to six people.
The standard power liftgate is a nice addition, as well. For those who like to enjoy natural lighting, the panoramic sunroof spans all three rows of seats, and opens to let in fresh air.
How They Compare
Here’s a comparison of some of the key dimensions and features in these two models:
|The Challenge||2018 Volkswagen Atlas||2018 Chevrolet Traverse|
|Location Built||Chattanooga, TN||Lansing, MI|
|Base Engine||2.0-liter Turbocharged Four-Cylinder||2.0-liter Turbocharged Four-Cylinder|
|Optional Engine||3.6-Liter V6||3.6-Liter V6|
|Fuel Economy (FWD, V6, estimated mpg city/highway)||18/25, 17/23 with AWD||18/25|
|Curb Weight (base)||4336 (V6)||4362|
|Overall Length (inches)||198.3||204.3|
|Cargo Room (cubic feet)||96.3||98.5|
|Front Legroom (inches)||41.5||41|
|Second Row Legroom (inches)||37.6||39|
|Third Row Legroom (inches)||33.7||33.7|
Ultimately, both the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas and the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse offer enough features and benefits to be strong contenders in the segment. The Atlas is a little lighter and more nimble while the Traverse is a little more spacious. Test drive both at your local dealer to see which is a better fit for your family’s needs.
Which model do you find more appealing, the Traverse or the Atlas? Take our poll below or leave a comment in the comments below.
To compare the Traverse with its updated sibling, take a look at the 2018 GMC Acadia.