Is the Fender premium stereo in Cars.com’s Best of 2018 award-winning Volkswagen Atlas worth $5,800? After comparing this 12-speaker system in an Atlas SEL Premium with the eight-speaker system in our Atlas SEL, we can say, of course not. We pose the question this way because it isn’t an optional feature that you can tack onto the Atlas of your choice; it comes standard only on the highest trim level, the SEL Premium, which itself is sold only with Volkswagen’s V-6 engine and all-wheel drive for a grand total of $49,665 with destination fee. This is $5,800 more than the non-Premium Atlas SEL V6 AWD and includes many other standard features.
Atlas SEL Eight-Speaker Audio
Donning my sound-off-judge hat, I tested the stereos with music CDs in stationary Atlases with their engines idling — to prevent factors like crappy audio-file encoding, digital streaming or inadequate power from coloring the test. I also had the panoramic moonroof sunshades open — not by choice, but because our Atlas was delivered with it broken in January and we’re still waiting for replacement parts for the warranty repair. The playing field was equal, if a bit harder and more reflective overhead than I would’ve preferred.