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Volkswagen Test Drive – 2018 Atlas

Volkswagen Test Drive – 2018 Atlas

I love my car. I mean . . . I REALLY love my car. I drive a 2012 Volkswagen Passat V6 SLE. Before Dani (yes, that’s her name), I had a minivan to drive all of my children around in. I needed something that was more “me,” and I found it in my Passat immediately after my oldest child got her own car.

This year, I turned 40 and Dani turned 176,000 miles. I have decided that it’s time for me to consider getting a new car. This decision comes with a fair amount of angst for me as I decide what to do. I mean, how does one replace the perfect car? As a professional problem solver, I decided to create a rubric to measure my new car choices against to see how they fit me. Here’s what I came up with.


This is an easy one. It has to be one. I’m a diehard, loyal fan. My car has been mechanically sound for all of her 176,000 miles. The service department at Joe Machens Volkswagen is amazingly thoughtful and attentive. Even the parts department has been great as I have purchased both accessories for me and parts for my son’s 2003 VW Jetta. VW it has to be.


During the course of doing my job as President of The Business Times Company, I spend a significant amount of time downtown. I can parallel park Dani in just about any space on the first try. Being a size that enables me to still do this is a must.


Let’s face it. I need a certain level of spunk in my car to match the spunk in my spirit. One of my favorite things about my car is that I have keyless locking, unlocking, and starting. I merely touch the door handle to lock or unlock the car. Also, no fumbling in my purse for keys — push button start and off we go!

Not only do I need this aesthetically but I need it with speed and pep. On the outside, my Passat looks very classy but unassuming with her dark gray metallic paint and black leather interior. However, Dani is a speed machine. Even at 176,000 miles, I can smoke most cars getting on to the interstate. My kids always want to drive my car because it’s more “fun” than theirs. I can only assume it means they want to go fast. (I say no.)

Gas Mileage:

Lastly, I drive from Boonville to Columbia every day for work. Often, I even have to make an extra trip back and forth because of something my children have forgotten or need. This means that I need my gas mileage to be efficient. I don’t want to sacrifice financial efficiency for sportiness.

So now you can see what’s important to me in selecting my next new vehicle. In addition to this scorecard, I have the best partner in this process with Joe Machens Volkswagen. They are committed to helping me find my next car and letting me take my time doing it. Over the course of the next several months, I will be reporting back on my test drives of new vehicles from Joe Machens Volkswagen and how they measure up against my rubric. By the time December gets here, I will make my selection and tell you which it is. Wish me luck!

Test Drive: Part 1

2018 VW Atlas

My first thought when I saw this car was “This is a big car.” The Atlas is a mid-size SUV that is certainly mom friendly although not “mom” looking at all. It was really sharp looking, had super easy third row access (which came in handy for a bunch of 10 year old girls going to the movies) and had all the bells and whistles. I kept the car two days in order to put it through the pace of my everyday life. Here is how it scored on my test:




Amazingly enough, I was able to parallel park this baby like a boss on my first try! It does help that it has a backup cam. I still give it 4/5 as it gives me some anxiety due to size.


This is a big winner on the sass scale. It has the keyless system I liked. The leather was luxurious. The media panel and navigation system became somewhat addicting over the two days that I had the car. This car practically drives itself with the adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitor. Additionally, there is front, rear and lane assist that are really cool. Lastly, the cup holder is finally the perfect size for my coffee mugs. Even though it’s not as speedy as my Passat, I definitely give it a 5/5 for sass!

Gas Mileage:

Factory information states that it gets 22 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. I came in under that, but this could certainly be my driving habits. I give it a 3.5/5 on gas mileage.

I’m just starting my search but I will tell you…the other models have a high bar to cross to beat this beautiful and technologically advanced Atlas.

Meet the Test Driver:






Erica Pefferman
President, The Business Times Company

Current Car:

Make: Volkswagen
Model: Passat V6 SEL
Year: 2012
Name: “Dani”
Color: Grey with black leather interior
Current mileage: 181,272
Favorite trip: St. George Island, FL

Schedule your test drive with Machens Volkswagen today!
1200 Vandiver Dr. Columbia, MO | | (855) 461-4061

Part 2 | Part 3Part 4 | The Winner

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