Compare 2018 VW Atlas vs Ford Explorer | Merrillville, IN

2018 Volkswagen Atlas vs Ford Explorer

Serving Merrillville, IN, Crown Point, and Hobart

As far as three-row SUVs go, the Ford Explorer is often considered the gold standard. The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is all-new for the model year and ready to shake up the segment. named it the Best Three-Row of 2017 and Best of 2018 as well.


2018 Volkswagen Atlas S

2018 Ford Explorer

Basic Warranty

6 year / 72,000 Mile Warranty

3 year / 36,000 Mile Warranty

Drivetrain Warranty

6 year / 72,000 Mile Warranty

5 year / 60,000 Mile Warranty

Fuel Economy

22 City / 26 Highway MPG**

17 City / 24 Highway MPG**

Standard Engine

2.0L Turbocharged 4-Cylinder

3.5L V6

Engine Torque

258 lb-ft

255 lb-ft


8-Speed Shiftable Automatic

6-Speed Shiftable Automatic


U.S. News and World Reports ranks the Atlas number one out of 19 midsize competitors. It has an overall score of 8.7. The Explorer ranks #16 and has an overall score of 7.9. Both SUVs have earned all five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Atlas earned a good in all crash categories at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety while the Explorer has one marginal score for the small overlap test.

Review Video:


A more modern ride in many ways, the Atlas is capable of offering performance without sacrificing fuel economy. The VW four-cylinder turbo earns 22 mpg city/27 mpg highway vs the Explorer's 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway. While the Ford has a six-speed automatic, the VW enjoys the precision of an eight-speed automatic. Explorers have a big turning circle and feel larger to the driver. The Atlas responds like a smaller vehicle and can handle tight maneuvers.

Size and Spaciousness

The two SUVs are the same length, but the Atlas has a 117-inch wheelbase vs 113 on the Explorer. This difference means more room in the Atlas cabin. On the third row, the Atlas has almost two inches more legroom than the Explorer. Although the cargo holds are about the same size, the Atlas measures 96.8 cubic feet with the seats down. The Explorer measures only 80.7 cubic feet. To open up the cabin even more for passengers, the Atlas offers one of the largest, longest panoramic roofs on the market.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Interior

Advanced Dash Tech

Both vehicles offer a touchscreen with mobile apps, but VW includes its system on the base edition while the Explorer holds some tech back for a higher trim. VW has MirrorLink, an exclusive in the affordable class, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Volkswagen also offers an exclusive Digital Cockpit, first introduced by luxury-maker Audi. The Atlas driver can utilize a 12.3-inch screen with all technical details and gauges right behind the steering wheel. Easy to see and easy to configure, the Digital Cockpit serves the driver better than traditional gauges and small display screens, such as the ones used on other SUVs. If you display your maps on the screen, you can increase or decrease the size with the push of a button.

Post Collision Intelligence

The Atlas responds to impact with two systems that you won't find on the Ford Explorer. Exclusive to Volkswagen, Automatic Post-Collision Braking recognizes an impact and attempts to slow the vehicle. This may prevent additional collisions. Furthermore, after the accident, the VW can turn off the engine for safety, unlock the doors for easy access, and turn on the hazards to gain attention from other motorists.


When you drive away with the Atlas, you have extra peace of mind. Your purchase comes with the People First Warranty. Coverage is bumper-to-bumper for six years or 72,000 miles, whichever comes first. This is one year longer than the Ford powertrain warranty and three years longer than the Ford bumper-to-bumper coverage. If you sell the Atlas while the warranty is still in effect, the new owner can enjoy the coverage as well.

Test Drive Today!

There's much to explore in the all-new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas. Check out your choices at Team VW in Merrillville, IN.


*MSRP excludes destination, taxes, title and registration fees. Starting at price refers to the base model, optional equipment not included. A more expensive model may be shown. Pricing and offers may change at any time without notification. To get full pricing details, see your dealer.

**EPA estimated MPG may vary by transmission, trim and individual driving behavior.

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