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Old 04-25-2019, 07:36 PM   #1
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Anyone tow with the VW Atlas

Looking a more livable tow vehicle and have looked at the VW Atlas. Specs state that they can tow 5000 lbs.

Looking for comments.

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Old 04-25-2019, 08:02 PM   #2
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I considered a Atlas for the 3rd row but undersized for towing. Consider a Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDeisel. We just towed or 30í Argosy to/from the Smokey Mountains or Mercedes GLS 450 if your budget allows.
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blucloud View Post
Looking a more livable tow vehicle and have looked at the VW Atlas. Specs state that they can tow 5000 lbs.

Looking for comments.

blucloud
Blucloud, what size trailer are you considering to tow with the Atlas? We had a 2016 VW Touareg Diesel and a 23í FC23FB which was a great combination. Tow capacity was 7700#; payload was 1160#.

There was another Forum member with an Atlas but last time we exchanged messages he hadnít towed yet.

Atlas is a fine vehicle for smaller Bambi/Sport/Basecamp/Nest but thatís about the max.

You might also consider a Cayenne, Mercedes or other larger SUV. BTW, we traded the Touareg with 5K miles on a Ram truck to pull our new 27í Globetrotter...

Good luck with your quest!
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:02 PM   #4
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Read the Owner's Manual Carefully

We looked at the VW Atlas when it first came out. Looked like a very capable vehicle for a smaller Airstream. However, I got a hold of the owner's manual and it stated that you cannot use a weight-distributing hitch with the Atlas. Wrote that vehicle off the list
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:30 PM   #5
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I am towing with an Atlas, v6 4motion. The power and transmission are fantastic, but definitely stay below the 500 lbs tongue weight. I do not believe the rear suspension is happy if you are close. Recommend a 16í Sport (I have the 22í), Nest, or Basecamp. It would pull those like a champ.
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Old 04-26-2019, 06:44 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by kamadeca View Post
We looked at the VW Atlas when it first came out. Looked like a very capable vehicle for a smaller Airstream. However, I got a hold of the owner's manual and it stated that you cannot use a weight-distributing hitch with the Atlas. Wrote that vehicle off the list
You are correct - and will find the same in most German manufacturers. Weight distribution hitches are not allowed in Europe (interesting story) so thatís a carryover from VW on the Atlas. Itís not that the vehicles are not capable, itís the European law.

Check out Can Amís site about towing tips or give them a call. Andy has set up many vehicles that you wouldnít guess weíre capable of towing. Heís a frequent contributor to these Forums too.

https://www.canamrv.ca/
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Old 04-26-2019, 09:28 AM   #7
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We have been using the Mercedes ML, diesel, Andy at Can-Am fitted it out for us with our 27í Pendleton and it tows really well. Just got back from Nashville and Asheville and towing through the Smokyís And along and through the Blue Ridge was perfect!
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffmc306 View Post


Quote:
Originally Posted by kamadeca
We looked at the VW Atlas when it first came out. Looked like a very capable vehicle for a smaller Airstream. However, I got a hold of the owner's manual and it stated that you cannot use a weight-distributing hitch with the Atlas. Wrote that vehicle off the list

You are correct - and will find the same in most German manufacturers. Weight distribution hitches are not allowed in Europe (interesting story) so thatís a carryover from VW on the Atlas. Itís not that the vehicles are not capable, itís the European law.

Check out Can Amís site about towing tips or give them a call. Andy has set up many vehicles that you wouldnít guess weíre capable of towing. Heís a frequent contributor to these Forums too.

https://www.canamrv.ca/

Yes - & that's the same on the VW Touareg, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, MBZ ML/GLE/GS, & BMW X5 (maybe not, since their built in SC), etc. from EuroLand.



The truth is it was 1960's European & UK protectionism laws lobbied for & primarily to protect their own home lightweight trailer manufacturers businesses. AS had to establish lighter weight models for the UK/Europe as a result. If the USA invented WD hitches were allowed in UK/Europe, they feared it would allow the heavier & prolific USA trailers to run their own mfgrs out of business. Their laws have remained, despite it not being a safety problem, nor competitive problem either.



However - if you look at the rating sticker on most/all of those SUVs factory hitches, they will give both non-distributed & weight distributed ratings applicable to the USA & Canada, & probably anywhere else outside of the UK & Europe. DEaler service depts. should also have the correct ratings for both in their service manuals &/or bulletins - IF they'll look them up for you (easier to look on the hitch sticker IMHO).





Blucloud - you might get more responses if you post the question in the Cayenne/Touareg/Q7 topic at the link below, because most of the folks towing with those & other non-USA TVs are active on there.


http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...rs-134917.html



Atlas is essentially a 3 row follow-on to VW's Touareg, so it makes sense that you'll find Atlas owners on there too.



I agree on the Atlas 5000/500 lbs limits & smaller AS trailers, since the Atlas seems to be aimed more at the Van/SUV family hauler role - than to towing.



I don't know how well it would do with your `07 27' being the heavier new age AS, but the classic `87 25' & vintage `77 23' may be okay since AS's were made much lighter back then - anywhere from 40-60% lighter due to not using particle board, heavier plywood/veneers (instead of the old school light marine plywood/veneers), larger tanks, options, etc.



They both might be in the same 3500-4500 lbs dry/empty as a newer THOR built 16' & 22' Bambi Sport - but you should weight them all wet/loaded as you would go out to know both HW & total trailer wt. - vs. the Atlas ratings.



For your comparison - our vintage kin 1960 Avion T20 (21'-6" & 2680 lbs & 285 lbs HW empty/dry) is about 3000-3500 lbs wet/loaded & 542# HW (runs heavier due to 160# Hensley Cub + 2x 30# LP tanks on A-frame).



Others have run all of the Euro-SUVs with WD/AS hitches, so using one on an Atlas shouldn't be a problem either.



Cheers!
Tom
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Old 04-26-2019, 12:20 PM   #9
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One major consideration that folks unfamiliar with VW wouldn’t know is that the VW Atlas is made on the MQB platform. This is a modular platform that underpins the majority of the vehicles now, including the Golf. The Atlas frame is not the same as the Touareg or Q7 at all, and the suspension shares more with the hatchback than the off-road focused Touareg (initially positioned against Range Rover for off road capability. I sold them at launch, and can vouch that they were beasts with proper tires on).

Regarding the “no WD hitch” rule, history is I’m sure accurate, but frame strength to handle the torque would also not be an engineering criteria for the Atlas. VWVortex.com is the leading VW forum, you can check there.

If larger trailer, look at the Touareg or Q7. If smaller trailer (well under 5k and 500lb tongue weight), the Atlas is a great choice.
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Old 04-26-2019, 12:24 PM   #10
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My combo.
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prettygood View Post
One major consideration that folks unfamiliar with VW wouldnít know is that the VW Atlas is made on the MQB platform. This is a modular platform that underpins the majority of the vehicles now, including the Golf. The Atlas frame is not the same as the Touareg or Q7 at all, and the suspension shares more with the hatchback than the off-road focused Touareg (initially positioned against Range Rover for off road capability. I sold them at launch, and can vouch that they were beasts with proper tires on).

Regarding the ďno WD hitchĒ rule, history is Iím sure accurate, but frame strength to handle the torque would also not be an engineering criteria for the Atlas. VWVortex.com is the leading VW forum, you can check there.

If larger trailer, look at the Touareg or Q7. If smaller trailer (well under 5k and 500lb tongue weight), the Atlas is a great choice.


PG -



I was familiar that they went to the MQB architecture - and disappointed, since it leaves most trailer folks out in the cold.



Not to mention the lack of off-road capabilities beyond a tad, & total lack of any diesels after their screw-up, and lack of V8s.


VW isn't alone in going to kid-hauler Van-like/Wagon-like SUVs - as it's now the same from all 3 of VW, Audi & Porsche, as well as BMW & MBZ.



Your 22' BS & Atlas looks like a nice set-up - but how is it on any of our surrounding mountain roads & say the grades between SD & OC?



I was disappointed with the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder with the 4.0L V6 & AT rated for 7000 lbs & 700 or more HW towing our 3000-3500 lb wet/loaded 1960 Avion T20 (21'-6" L x 8'-9" W x 9''6" H) - which is much lighter than your AS 22 BS at 4500 dry/empty - that we also looked at the 16' & 22' BS models in 2012 before deciding to go Vintage for the vintage rallies etc.


So how did your Atlas do?



Cheers!
Tom
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Old 04-27-2019, 01:05 AM   #12
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Tom,

The power from the engine and the transmission make a great combo. The grade coming up to San Clemente on I-5 southbound was no problem at all. Overall Iím happy with the capability of the Atlas, but know that Iím the upper limits with a 22í Sport. Anything smaller/lighter and it would be super easy. It is a family hauler first, but one that has enough to do small trailer duty well.
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Old 05-05-2019, 09:43 PM   #13
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Mercedes and Porsche rate their towing capacities with and without WDHs. Ours did. I think Audi, and I'm pretty sure Range Rover, do also.

I'm not sure why an MQB chassis would be inferior - one of its advantages is chassis strength and stiffness.
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Old 05-06-2019, 05:50 AM   #14
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Mikapen,
The strength and stiffness as they relate to driving dynamics are great, and plenty sufficient for the Atlas. What I was suggesting is that tow capacity was not a design criteria of the platform, so the effect was VW not being able to match the tow ratings of the Touareg family, which was initially designed to compete with the Range Rover, and that did include tow capacity as an engineering criteria. I’ll be towing again on Friday with the air bags installed and will report back if that makes any difference. Thanks
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Old 05-06-2019, 11:14 PM   #15
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Thanks I'll be looking for your report. Your Atlas ought to be a nice tow vehicle.
I like the MQB in general, and the MLB for longitudinal engines. We've had both, and although we've never towed with either, I'd expect them to be great. Within their payload and axle ratings.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:30 PM   #16
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Quick update... took a trip to Laguna Mountain and the Atlas did fantastic. 6kí elevation and no hint of struggle. I did install the airbag helpers in the coil springs, not sure I needed that in the end. Full support for this as a tow vehicle for trailers under 5k lbs. and 500 lbs. tongue weight.
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Old 09-08-2019, 05:32 PM   #17
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Big summer trip is complete: 1,500 miles from San Diego to Grand Canyon to Zion and home. Atlas pulled so well across the high passes, and I averaged over 14 mpg. Braking was completely confident, and never saw the temp climb even though a/c was running and it was often 95-105* outside. Fully recommend for a TV at the sub-5k weight class.
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Old 09-08-2019, 06:36 PM   #18
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The biggest challenge with many potential TV is payload. Hitch weight and passengers can eat up available payload very quickly.
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:03 PM   #19
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When someone rear ended our SUV, we were given a rental Atlas for two weeks. The seats were very uncomfortable—not just to our old butts, but to the young guy from the rental company who picked us up. Also, VW usually has poor reliability ratings from CR. It did have a lot of power and always shuts off when stopped for a light or traffic. Kind of disconcerting, but apparently soon standard on all vehicles.
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:47 PM   #20
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Brick, Iím well within payload since the hitch weight is under 500 lbs.

Gene, the seats in out SEL Premium model are fantastic. I used the ventilation function throughout the drive.
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