Accessories

10 Accessories that turn your Volkswagen Atlas into a road trip warrior

Volkswagen offers a number of road trip-ready accessories for the 2020 Atlas.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

You're more than ready for a vacation. So is everyone else in your household. This year you've decided to road trip. It takes longer, but there's less healthcare-related variables you need to consider.

Volkswagen offers a number of accessories to make road tripping in your Atlas a little more pleasurable.

Universal tablet holder

Universal tablet holder

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Rear seat occupants can set their device in an available universal tablet holder ($110) for hands-free entertainment. When paired with an existing data plan, the Car-Net Hotspot allows a 4G LTE-enabled connection on up to four compatible connected devices simultaneously, so family members can get connected and entertained. The holder also features two shopping hooks that are integrated into the base unit for added utility.

Muddy Buddy floor and cargo liners

Muddy Buddy floor and cargo liners

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Parents who like to keep their SUV clean will appreciate Muddy Buddy carpet liners ($80-$190). They're custom-molded to help protect interior carpet in the front, back and sides of the vehicle's footwell. They come with a raised edge and extend up to the third-row seat backs. The liner also features a skid-resistant finish that can stop items from shifting while on the road.

CargoTech Cargo Containment System

CargoTech Cargo Containment System

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Stop all the loose odds and ends from rolling around in your cargo area with the CargoTech Cargo Containment System ($45). The four-piece plastic block provides a stable area for bags and other road trip essentials (like a box of wine or case of beer) from tipping.

Retractable privacy cover

Retractable privacy cover

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

When you stop at a gas station or restaurant, you never know who is going to see your possessions in your cargo area. Keep them hidden and keep thieves guessing with a retractable privacy cover ($180).

Tuffy security console safe

Security Console Safe by Tuffy

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

If you want to store sensitive gear or personal items in your car (a few dollars for a toll booth or your house keys) you might consider a security safe ($250) to keep in the center console.

Thule trailer hitch attachments

Trailer hitch attachments by Thule

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

If you aren't towing a trailer, there is a perfectly good hitch mounted option available for carrying bikes.The Thule hitch-mounted hanging rack can carry up to four bikes ($400).

Thule rooftop carriers

Thule rooftop carriers

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Roof-mounted cargo boxes, cargo baskets and various Thule attachments provide additional transport options ($150-$665) when there just isn't enough room inside the vehicle. Recreational equipment including skis, snowboards, surfboards, bikes or a kayak can be stored on top of the Atlas with Thule carrier attachments.

Urban Loader

Urban Loader

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

If general storage space is needed for luggage, camping gear, or other cargo, there are a few options to choose from. The Urban Loader ($699) adds up to 17.7 cubic feet of space and has a maximum load capacity of 110 pounds.

Cargo Box Carrier

Cargo Box Carrier

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Cargo Box Carrier ($499) has the same load capacity as the Urban Loader but features an aerodynamic design helping to limit wind noise. It adds 12 cubic feet of space.

Thule Canyon Basket Carrier

Thule Canyon Basket Carrier

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

With its low-profile design, easy loading and unloading accessibility, and ability to hold up to 150 pounds, the Thule Basket Carrier ($350) is for families staying more than just a few nights. A separately sold Thule Stretch Cargo Net ensures everything stays in place while tackling the open road.

Please note: All roof rack attachments require base carrier bars sold separately. All accessories are sold separately. Proper installation of accessories is required. Professional installation may be recommended. See owner's literature and dealer for details.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Enclave Avenir is the top-of-the-line trim level of the SUV for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Buick

Some people are extremely adventurous eaters. I joke that the only food I won't eat is bugs that look like bugs. I'll do Indian, Thai, Korean and Ethiopian, sweetbreads, frog legs and endless servings of sushi. French Laundry. Cut. Alinea.

Others are into tamer fare: vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles, grilled cheese (with Kraft American Singles) on Wonder bread, steak with ketchup. Cracker Barrel. Dairy Queen. Olive Garden, if you're feeling fancy.

Though the fancy food folks might look down on the Red Lobster-crowd, if you're a carmaker looking to sell big SUVs in Peoria, you best remember they exist — and what sorts of stuff they're into. Culinary adventures are all about trying new and exciting things, which not everyone likes.

2020 Buick Enclave Avenir The model is elegant, especially in the high-end Avenir grade.Photo courtesy of Buick

Some people — a lot of them, actually — are thrilled with unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks. And for them, GM has come up with the Buick Enclave Avenir, the Olive Garden of seven-passenger premium SUVs.

Though Buick might not carry the brand cachet of Volvo or Acura or it's up-market sibling Cadillac, the marque's SUVs (that's all it makes now, sadly) are remarkably popular. The Enclave is the three-rowed big boy, and the Avenir is the top-tier premium trim level. My test unit landed at $59,390 including the Avenir Technology Package which includes adaptive cruise control and improved automatic emergency braking. It's 2020. Both of those should be standard GM. Come on now.

It feels almost like a minivan but with the look of an SUV. Entry and exit is easy and the front and rear captain's chairs are supremely comfortable. The Technology Package adds an improved suspension which is gentle on aging backs and keeps things nicely stable. There are two sunroofs, one in the front that opens and one in the back that does not.

The 20-inch rims are sharp and, while the Enclave does not have the most exciting design in the world, it is inoffensive and soothing. It would look good in grandma's driveway on Thanksgiving Day.

2020 Buick Enclave Avenir The Enclave has a good amount of cargo space at the rear.Photo courtesy of Buick

The Buick infotainment system is excellent, with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspot from AT&T and GM's unmatched OnStar service. The hotspot means that the litany of iPads and iPhones from the passengers in the back (and front) seats will always be able to connect and OnStar means if anything goes wrong, help is just a button press away — unless the air bags deploy, in which case help calls you instead. The Bose Premium audio system does its job well, with active noise cancellation and something called "Buick QuietTuning" to keep outside noise where it belongs.

The front seats are heated and ventilated, and both include a massage function which is a gift from the road trip gods. In my version, the second row seats were heated, but no cooling. The touch surfaces are all lovely and the cabin is light and airy thanks to large windows and those dual sunroofs. Visibility is excellent, and there's a 360-degree camera system to help you park in tight spaces.

The 3.6-liter V6 makes 310 horsepower but stays out of the way, as does the 9-speed automatic transmission. The Buick gearshift is mildly annoying to get used to, but after a week or two, you won't notice it anymore. There are a host of safety features, including rear cross traffic alert, lane-keep assist, and blind-spot warning with alert feature if you're going to move into another car on the interstate. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined.

There's a remote start system, which is great for both hot and cold days, a power liftgate at the back, and a split power-folding 60/40 third row if you want to haul more stuff than people. It'll even tow up to 5,000 pounds if you want to haul a camper or small boat. But an off-roader this isn't. It's an unpretentious people and stuff hauler that won't draw too much attention to itself.

Unpretentious is probably a fair description for most Buick buyers. They don't need to show off. They just value comfort and roominess and want a car that will take care of them.

That's the Buick Enclave Avenir.

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The ID.4 will ramp up production as the U.S. says goodbye to the Passat.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Volkswagen Passat will end its run in 2023 at VW's U.S. manufacturing base in Chattanooga, Tennessee. But don't worry, Volkswagen has plans for what is next. In fact, they've already announced the products; they're just now getting around to specifying a timeline.

Currently, the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant is producing the Passat alongside the Volkswagen Atlas and Atlas Sport. earlier this year, the plant celebrated the 1 millionth vehicle to roll off its assembly line - Aurora Red Metallic 2020 Volkswagen Passat R-Line.

Before the Chattanooga plant opened, Volkswagen hadn't made a vehicle in the U.S. in 22 years following the closing of the Westmoreland facility in Pennsylvania.

1977 Volkswagen Dasher and 2020 Volkswagen Passat The Dasher was the predecessor to the modern Passat. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Passat got its start as a vehicle designed specifically for the North American market. Ground was broken on the Tennessee plant in 2009 and in 2011 it began producing the cars. It currently employees approximately 3,800 people. In the last nine years, the plant has produced more than 700,000 Passats and 100,000 Atlas SUVs. The new 2020 Atlas Cross Sport and the refreshed 2021 Atlas recently began production.

Volkswagen has announced that the plant will be the company's North American base for manufacturing electric vehicles including the ID.4, representing an approximately $800 million investment, starting in 2022. The expansion to enable U.S. production of long-range EVs began in November 2019.

The expansion includes a new Engineering and Planning Center (EPC) at the plant that will feature a unique, state-of-the-art high-voltage laboratory that is designed to develop and test electric vehicle cells and battery packs. These cells and packs are slated to be assembled in the U.S. before being inserted into vehicles.

Production of the ID.4 will ramp up starting 2022. It will reach full capacity by 2023, then the Passat will be shown the door. Before the U.S. production begins, Volkswagen will exclusively produce the ID.4 at its Zwickau plant in Germany.

2022 Volkswagen ID.4 The Volkswagen ID.4 will be made in the U.S. starting in 2022.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Though the Passat is leaving the U.S. market, it will continue as a vehicle for international sale. Development of the ninth-generation version of the model is currently underway.

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