Volkswagen Tiguan Vs Atlas


2018 Atlas and Tiguan                                                                          Photo: VW

It’s been a while since Volkswagen has had a decent family sized vehicle for more than 5 people. In fact, probably since the days of flower power, and peace signs ie. the Volkswagen bus. Now, some 40 years later, come the 2018 model year Tiguan and the Atlas (or perhaps the Atlas-t). Both are available with VW’s All Wheel Drive system called 4-Motion. The Atlas has the 3rd-row seating as standard and the Tiguan has optional 3rd-row seating (only available on AWD models). Both cars can seat up to 7 people, which one do you choose?

Tiguan AWDAtlas AWD
Vehicle ClassCompact SUVMid-size SUV
Engine2.0 liter turbo3.6 liter V-6
Transmission8-speed auto8-speed auto
SafetyIIHS Top Safety PickIIHS Top Safety Pick
Fuel Economy (EPA rating) Combined23 mpg19mpg
3rd row (7 seats)OptionalYes
Basic & Powertrain
6 years or 72, 000 miles
6 years or 72,000 miles
Starting price
$25,895 ($500 extra for 3rd-row)$37,750

Atlas is more planted

safe SUV

2018 Volkswagen Atlas                                                                       Photo: VW

The Atlas is about 13″ longer than the new Tiguan. It’s also wider, marginally higher, and of course, that means it’s heavier. Also available with the smaller engine (the 2.0-liter turbo in FWD configuration only) however the 3.6 liter V-6 that comes standard in the AWD model is easily justifiable given the extra weight. With more weight though, means less fuel economy, although it’s not terrible. The Atlas EPA rating as listed above is 19 mpg combined. On the highway, it’s rated at 23mpg. The extra weight means the SUV is solidly planted and stable at highway speeds. Also available with the 2nd row as captains chairs.

Both are child car seat friendly

When it comes to the Tiguan vs Atlas, the extra room in the Atlas means a much more comfortable ride.  Easier to get in and out of, for adults and children. Speaking of ease of access, the 2018 Atlas 2nd row seating, folds forward without having to remove a child car seat. This is ingenious if you have car seats in the 2nd row but need access to the 3rd-row for more children or adults. Hallelujah, you don’t need to uninstall/reinstall the car seat. Talking of child car seats, the Volkswagen Atlas and the Tiguan are both on the car seat check honor roll.

Tiguan is more nimble

Because the Tiguan is smaller, it’s more nimble for tasks such as parking or driving around in town with tighter spaces. Garage fitment might be easier if you have a smaller sized garage or less room. The third row in the Tiguan is best suited for small children. With it being smaller and lighter, the Tiguan gets better fuel economy. The EPA rating for the 2018 AWD model is 23 mpg combined and 27 mpg on the highway.


2018 Tiguan SEL Premium in Habanera Orange Photo: VW


With the Atlas being a brand new model and the Tiguan a complete re-design for 2018, both models are loaded with technology. For easy smartphone integration, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on both models. Selectable driver modes are also in both models with modes such as ‘SNOW’, ‘SPORT’ and “OFF-ROAD’.

Which One?

Both vehicles are very similar other than size. Design between the two isn’t all that different. If your priority is about having a 3rd row AND a ton of cargo space then the Atlas is the winner. If you feel like you might not need that 3rd row often (or would be for children only) but prefer to have the nimbleness of getting around a lower price tag, and better fuel economy, then it’s the Tiguan. A fully loaded top trim line (SEL Premium) Tiguan is about the same price as a base model Atlas).

If you’d like more information on Volkswagen’s, feel free to contact Fremont Volkswagen in Casper, Wyoming.



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