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Volkswagen just unveiled its 2018 Atlas SUV in Santa Monica, California.

Why showcase this brand-new, three-row, car-based family hauler on the West Coast? Well, for starters, this is where historic Route 66 ends. That world-famous highway was once a major east-west artery connecting Chicago to California like a cross-country asphalt handshake. As roads go, it's as quintessentially American as they get.

Tying into this rich heritage, the Atlas is gunning to connect with American motorists in a new way, ultimately to increase the brand's sales. Yeah, that's a pretty a tenuous tie-in for a reveal in Santa Monica, but it's good enough for us. Here's what you need to know about this brand new vehicle.

For starters, the Atlas shares the same bones with numerous other vehicles in the Volkswagen Group's sprawling product range, from the Audi A3 to Škoda's Octavia. Its award-winning MQB platform (Modularer Querbaukasten in German, if you're curious) supports this three-row SUV, which will be the largest model VW builds in the U.S.

Dimensionally, this architecture allows the Atlas to compete in the very heart of America's highly competitive large crossover segment. Rival models should include vehicles like the Honda Pilot, GMC Acadia and Nissan Pathfinder, to name a few.
Read more about the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas Crossover Revealed, Launches Spring 2017 at
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