2018 Volkswagen Atlas vs 2018 Ford Explorer

2018 Volkswagen Atlas vs 2018 Ford Explorer

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is an exciting addition to the VW lineup as it shows the brand’s direction. This is a model that was clearly designed with an American audience in mind, as our culture demands larger vehicle for comfortable family road trips. What brand would know this better than one with roots in America? It’s no small feat to take on tried and true models, which is why a comparison of the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas vs 2018 Ford Explorer shows some things that might be shocking: The VW Atlas is quite the competitor.

It’s not that you wouldn’t expect Volkswagen to jump in with both feet, after decades of keeping out of the seven-row SUV segment. Anticipation was obviously high on whether Volkswagen could step in this late in the game and prove to be truly appealing. Looking at the starting price, fuel economy and interior space, we think the answer is a resounding “yes.”

2018 Volkswagen Atlas


2018 Ford Explorer

$30,750 Starting MSRP $32,140
22 city/26 highway Fuel Economy 17 city/24 highway
5,000 lbs. Towing Capacity 5,000 lbs.
96.8 cu. ft. Max. Cargo Volume 81.7 cu. ft.

The 2018 VW Atlas is more efficient and affordable

One thing that shocked us most was that the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is consistently more fuel efficient than the 2018 Ford Explorer. We aren’t just talking in terms of the base engines, of which the VW Atlas has just one, but Ford offers three. Rather, even once you get past the potent 3.5-liter V6 found in the base Explorer, even the 2.3-liter Ecoboost, as Ford calls its turbocharged engines, delivers just a 19 city and 27 highway mpg. For a model that’s already more expensive than the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas, this upgrade seems to merely put the model on par with the Atlas. In terms of efficiency.

There are some things you can’t upgrade in a vehicle, and that’s typically the overall size. The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas comes in strong when it comes to interior space. One of the biggest complains any family has about a three-row SUV is the fact that this segment often has a third row that’s only useful for the smallest of passengers. The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas received high praise for having a third row that’s comfortable even for adults.

In comparing the two models, we see the Atlas has a total passenger volume of 153.7 cubic feet compared to 151.5 cubic feet in the 2018 Ford Explorer. The difference in size becomes especially obvious when you see the difference in the maximum cargo space, which is measured with the second and third row folded flat.

Curious about what sort of features the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas has to offer? Contact us here at Karen Radley Volkswagen for more.