2018 VW Atlas R-Line: Family-friendly meets a racy ride

I love the new Volkswagen Atlas, and that surprised me.

This is the biggest SUV – indeed, the biggest car – in the VW lineup and when introduced to the world in 2017 (actually, in 2016 in Santa Monica, California), it was already joining a very crowded field of midsized SUVs competing for a share of the ever-growing American SUV market.  You know, those cars for ‘families’ with pets and humans and lions and tigers and bears and other dependents who need interior room and monthly financial commitments to prove to neighbors how committed they are. Ya know, those people.  I thought the VW entry was a longshot at best, but sure enough, it has been getting praise from every angle of the car world and consumers alike.  And personally, it’s turned out to be one of my favourites of 2018 as well.

The Atlas (not crazy about the name) is considered midsize but it has some decent interior (take note, bears) and has some great engineering behind it.  All that bluster about German engineering turns out to be true: it is good and it is worthwhile.  The handling is crisp, the ride is smooth and the creature comforts are great for all kinds of creatures.  I really enjoyed driving the Atlas, which was designed so that young buyers can hopefully stay with the Volkswagen brand as their families grow and not need to switch brands just because their needs increase – or become more needy. Nowadays, bears are having cubs and spawning in the strangest places, so this is indeed something for our community to think about as well.

The R-Line is a trim featured throughout the Volkswagen lineup that gives customers a racy, rough, rogue, ready, roaring series of enhancements that make your VW even more ‘athletic’, a term that has historically been used as derogatory against many bears. But in this case, athletic is good.  Just because you can’t run a mile (I can barely walk one) doesn’t mean your vehicle shouldn’t do several hundred miles at a stretch. The R-Line trims come with customized accents on the wheels and a grill and exterior that make the Atlas look more like a stealth inter-galactic invader. The engine improvements (which will cost you) give the car more oomph and make you feel even more like the wrestling-mat letterman you always wanted to be.

I will say, however, that depending on your Bear Lifestyle, this may not be your best option for transportation.  If you are single or happily looking, live in the city in a flat with no parking or have access to a garage that barely holds your ex’s crap, this isn’t your vehicle. But if you do have a partner (we will assume he is the true love of your current life) and maybe a dog or two, and maybe even a little human, this is something worth considering.  Across the automotive universe, the VW Atlas (2018 is the first model year for the car) has been getting a lot of accolades, and deservedly so.

I was at HiBearNation in St. Louis, Missouri, a few years back when a young bear couple brought their infant son to the farewell brunch.  As an old grizzly bear, I didn’t know what to think, but everyone else saw it as the cute event that it truly was.  Times have indeed changed, and those changes are even taken place in our Bear Dens as we speak.

The good news for the rest of the world is that I am too old to spawn any children. And I too am very happy about that.


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