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Three seven-seat crossovers with all-wheel-drive and large discounts

Three seven-seat crossovers with all-wheel-drive and large discounts
Autos
Based upon cargo and passenger space the Volkswagen Atlas 3.6L Comfortline was named one of Driving’s five best three-row crossovers. The reason is that within a very competitive segment, the big VW accommodates its riders and a variety of loads better than most.

The first two rows of seating are generous in their proportions and, unlike many, the third row will accommodate a pair of adults. Not for a cross-country trip, but admirably for a short jaunt across town. With all seats occupied, there’s 583 litres of cargo space. Dropping the third row opens up 1,571 litres, and there’s 2,741 litres with the lot flat.

The rest of the cabin is nicely finished with an eight-inch touchscreen looking after all the entertainment, phone and vehicle functions as well as giving easy access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The only letdown is the leatherette on the seats — it is not the best interpretation of the breed.

The engine of choice is the 3.6-litre V6. While the 2.0-litre turbo does a reasonable job, it struggles when the Atlas is loaded. No worries with the V6, as it brings 276 hp and 266 lb.-ft. of torque. This equates to a stronger mid-range and, more importantly, it bumps the towing capacity from 909 kilograms for the 2.0-litre; to a more realistic 2,273 kg.

The power reaches the road through an eight-speed automatic transmission and VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. The 4Motion system is seamless across the range. It sends the power to the front wheels under normal driving conditions, but it is quick to react to a traction loss and sends up to 50 per cent of the drive to the rear wheels.

The Atlas V6 runs to 100 km/h in 8.4 seconds and has a posted average fuel economy of 12.2 L/100 km.

In spite of its outward dimensions, the Atlas feels lighter than expected, as the suspension does a good job of dialing out unwanted body roll through a corner and the steering light and precise. Conversely, it wafts along the highway in fine style.

The Volkswagen Atlas 3.6 Comfortline has a sticker price of $42,884 after the combined Unhaggle discount of $4,750 is applied.

Transport Canada lists two recalls for the VW Atlas. The first (#2019242) says, “Certain vehicles were built with headlights that may allow horizontal adjustment. This is not allowed under Canadian regulations.” Dealers will install a blocking cap on the horizontal adjusters as necessary. The second (#2018644) states, “Certain vehicles do not to conform to Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (CMVSS) 114 – Theft Protection and Rollaway Prevention.” Due to incorrect programming, the vehicle may fail to provide an audible warning when the driver opens the door after turning off the ignition, and the key is left in the ignition switch. Dealers will reprogram the instrument cluster.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Hyundai Santa Fe XL Good scores for all crash tests except the small passenger-side offset, where it gets an Acceptable. It has a Superior for forward collision prevention, but a Poor for headlight performance. Only the top Ultimate model with the adaptive HID headlights is a Top Safety Pick+.

The Kia Sorento has Good scores in all crash tests, a Superior for forward collision prevention, but, again, a Poor for headlight performance. Again, it’s the subpar headlight performance that prevents all but the top-line SX model with adaptive headlights from getting a Top Safety Pick+ designation.

The VW Atlas has Good crash test scores across the board, a Superior for forward collision prevention, but another Poor for headlight performance.

The projected resale value of these entry-level luxury crossovers in 2022, after being driven an average of 20,000 km/year, is $21,450 for the Hyundai Santa Fe XL Luxury; $15,400 for the Kia Sorento EX V6; and $24,500 for the Volkswagen Atlas 3.6L Comfortline.

While all three of these seven-seat crossovers represents a solid purchase, there are some things to bear in mind — the modern Palisade will replace the Santa Fe XL in Hyundai’s lineup and the Kia Sorento’s retained value is weak. This leaves the VW Atlas 3.6 Comfortline as the hot Unhaggle deal this week.
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