Volkswagen spruces up its 2018 Atlas with an R-Line appearance package

When it comes to performance, big seven-seat SUVs usually sit at the back of the pack. But Volkswagen is trying to at least create the appearance of sportiness with a trim package for its new 2018 Atlas family hauler.

The Atlas will get an R-Line package similar to the ones already offered on other VW models. Making its public debut next week at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, the Atlas R-Line doesn’t get any real performance upgrades, just some styling changes to make gearhead owners feel less bad about trading in their GTIs for one of these tanks.

The R-Line package adds model-specific 20-inch alloy wheels, R-Line badging, special front and rear bumpers that incorporate air intakes at the front and a diffuser at the rear (both likely fake), and side skirts. On the inside, the package adds an R-Line logo on the start screen of the MIB II infotainment system, an R-Line steering wheel clip, and stainless steel pedal covers.

Buyers will be able to add the R-Line package to the Atlas SE and SEL trim levels, so the standard equipment from those models will be included as well (consult the order guide). Some of the features that will be available when the Atlas launches later in 2017 include a Fender audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit reconfigurable dashboard display.

The extra jewelry doesn’t come with any mechanical changes. Like other versions of the Atlas, the R-Line will be offered with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder developing 235 horsepower or a 3.6-liter VR6 with 276 horsepower. Both engines come with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available on VR6 models. VW was likely planning a diesel model before that whole “Dieselgate” thing.

While most of the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas lineup goes on sale this spring, the R-Line won’t be available until later in the year. It may not be the most exciting vehicle, but the Atlas is very important for VW because it is tailored to the American market to a greater extent than any of its previous vehicles.

Cars

Sick of civilization? Volkswagen’s Atlas Basecamp concept lets you get away

Volkswagen revealed the Atlas Basecamp concept ahead of its debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. Built for overlanding, this family-hauler was upgraded jointly by Volkswagen and aftermarket manufacturers.
Cars

Would you buy the Tarok compact pickup truck? Volkswagen wants to know

The Volkswagen Tarok pickup truck concept will make its United States debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The truck first appeared at the 2018 Sao Paulo Auto Show, and VW wants to see what U.S. buyers think of it.
Cars

Drywall or kayaks? The 2020 Toyota Highlander is ready for your weekend plans

Toyota introduced the 2020 Highlander ahead of its public debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The fourth-generation Highlander is bigger than its predecessor, and it comes with more tech features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Cars

2019 Audi TT RS gets subtle cosmetic surgery ahead of its trip to the Big Apple

The 2019 Audi TT RS gets a minor face-lift, but it keeps its signature turbocharged inline-five engine. The updated TT RS makes its United States debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show.
Cars

More tech and more space make the Mercedes-Benz GLS the S-Class of the SUV world

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation GLS at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The company's biggest and most luxurious SUV gains more tech features in its quest to become the S-Class of the SUV world.
Cars

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo sheds weight, uses racing tricks to stay sharp

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo isn't dramatically different from the 2019 model, but Nissan made changes where it counts. The updated GT-R Nismo is lighter and offers better aerodynamic performance, according to Nissan.
Cars

Nikola previews $80K NZT off-road EV speedster with 590 horsepower

Nikola Motor is taking reservations for the NZT, a high-performance, all-electric off-highway vehicle (OHV). The $80,000 NZT has 590 horsepower, 775 foot-pounds of torque, and reaches 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds.
Cars

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.
Cars

21 charged in Chicago carsharing heist; 100+ cars stolen, many still missing

More than 100 Mercedes-Benz vehicles belonging to carsharing service Car2Go were stolen in Chicago. Police are still working to recover all of the cars, which are equipped with GPS, and 21 people have been charged.
Cars

The VR goggles you wear to shoot alien ships is helping Magna design car parts

Canadian automotive supplier Magna has started using virtual reality in its research and development department. The technology helps engineers get a better view of what they're working on, whether it's an interior part or a powertrain.
Cars

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show brought it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe traveled to the 2019 show to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.
Cars

Toyota leads $1 billion investment in Uber’s self-driving tech division

In a move that has been a long time coming, Uber filed its S-1 documents, which sets the stage for the company to finally go public with an initial public offering. The company could be valued at more than $100 billion.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Samsung Galaxy Fold woes, zombie pigs, and more

Today's topics: Samsung Galaxy Fold, Facebook A.I. voice assistants, YouTube comes to Fire TV, facial recognition on airline flights, the SpaceX DART program, Yale's zombie pigs, and much more!
Cars

Electric car buying guide: What you need to know before you buy

EVs are better than they've ever been, but buying your first battery-powered car can be an intimidating experience. Digital Trends has compiled a comprehensive guide that walks you through the process of buying an EV.