Editor’s note: This Car Seat Check was written in June 2017 about the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas, and updated in November 2019 to add information about the 2019 Atlas. Little of substance has changed with this year’s model. See what’s new for 2019 or check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.
The verdict: The new-for-2018 Atlas is roomy, loaded with family-friendly features and excels when it comes to car seats. When equipped with a bench seat, its second row has three sets of Latch anchors 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 and a six-passenger Atlas with second-row captain’s chairs. The SUV scored straight A’s across the board with both seating configurations.
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Does it fit three car seats? Yes, three fit in the second-row bench seat, 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.
Take a look at how the Latch system and each car seat scored below in our Car Seat Check.
- Latch:Three sets of anchors sit in slits in the second-row bench’s upholstery and are easy to use. Three clearly marked top tether anchors sit midway down the second-row seatbacks. With the captain’s chairs, there are two sets of lower Latch anchors that are easy to use, and the two top tether anchors are well marked and sit about two-thirds down the seatback.
- Infant: The car seat was easy to install on both the bench seat and captain’s chairs, and there was plenty of legroom for the front passenger.
- Rear-facing convertible: The seat was easy to install in both types of second-row seats, and there was plenty of legroom for the front passenger.
- Forward-facing convertible: The seat fit well after we raised the head restraint on the bench seat. It installed easily in the captain’s chairs, too.
- Booster:The seat fit well after we raised the head restraint on the bench seat. The buckles are on stable stalks, making them easier for kids to grasp and use.
- Third-row access:The second-row bench raises and slides forward with ease, creating a large walkway to the third row. The captain’s chair moved out of the way easily to create a good-sized passage to the third row. Bonus: It’ll do this even when a forward-facing car seat is installed.
- Third-row forward-facing convertible: 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 and the buckles are easy to find and grasp.
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.
Editor’s note: This Car Seat Check was updated Nov. 15, 2019, with information on a 2019 Volkswagen Atlas with second-row’s captain’s chairs.
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