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2018 Volkswagen Atlas: Car Seat Check

CARS.COM — Volkswagen’s lineup has a big hole in it when it comes to a vehicle for big families. The automaker no longer sells the Routan minivan (which wasn’t great) and its biggest SUV — the Touareg — only seats five and is expensive. The new-for-2018 Atlas changes everything. It’s roomy, loaded with family-friendly features and excels when it comes to car seats. It features three sets of Latch anchors across the second row, and three car seats installed easily and fit well. For this Car Seat Check, we tested a seven-passenger model with a second-row bench seat; second-row captain’s chairs are also available.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Three, but if a car seat is installed in the middle position, its base must be no wider than 12.6 inches. The center and adjacent outboard seat belt buckles in that row can be damaged if a wider child seat base is installed. This issue prompted a vehicle recall.

How many car seats fit in the third row? Two

Related: More Car Seat Checks

Solid

  • Latch, grade A: Three sets of anchors sit in slits in the upholstery and are easy to use. Three clearly marked top tether anchors sit midway down the seatbacks.
  • Infant seat, grade A: The seat was easy to install, and there was plenty of legroom for the front passenger.
  • Rear-facing convertible, grade A: The seat was easy to install, and there was plenty of legroom for the front passenger.
  • Forward-facing convertible, grade A: The seat fit well after we raised the head restraint. Installation was easy.
  • Booster, grade A: The seat fit well after we raised the head restraint. The buckles are on stable stalks, making them easier for kids to grasp and use.
  • Third-row access, grade A: The second-row bench raises and slides forward with ease, creating a large walkway to the third row. Bonus: It’ll do this even when a forward-facing car seat is installed.  
  • Third-row forward-facing convertible, grade A: The seat fit well after we removed the head restraint. The third row has two top tether anchors on the seatbacks; they’re clearly marked and easy to use.
  • Third row booster, grade A: The seat fit well after we removed the head restraint.

 So-So

  • None

Skip It

  • None

Grading Scale

Solid indicates an A grade for optimum ease of use and fit. So-So indicates B or C grades for one to two ease-of-use or fit issues. Skip It indicates D or F grades.

A: Plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn’t impact driver or front-passenger legroom. Easy to find and connect to Latch and tether anchors. No fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. Easy access to the third row.  

B: One room, fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing third row when available.

C: Marginal room plus one fit or connection issue. Difficult to access third row when available.

D: Insufficient room, plus multiple fit or connection issues.

F: Does not fit or is unsafe.

About Cars.com’s Car Seat Checks

Editors Jennifer Geiger, Jennifer Newman and Matt Schmitz are certified child safety seat installation technicians.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 infant-safety seat, a Britax Marathon convertible seat and Graco TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted for a 6-foot driver and a shorter passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver’s seat, and the infant and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.

We also install the forward-facing convertible in the second row’s middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. If there’s a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible. Learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks.

Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat, and that Latch anchors have a weight limit of 65 pounds, including the weight of the child and the weight of the seat itself.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

 
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