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Next-Gen 2026 Volkswagen Atlas Filmed in On-Road Testing

2026 Volkswagen Atlas prototype, in on-road testing | Photo: YouTube (CarSpyMedia)
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Daniel Rufiange
The Volkswagen Atlas will evolve very smoothly, as Volkswagen won't want to change its winning formula.

The next-generation 2026 Volkswagen Atlas has been filmed in prototype version in on-road testing. Which helpfully provides an opportunity some of the changes that are planned for the next edition of the SUV.

The CarSpyMedia outlet spotted the Volkswagen Teramont, as it’s called in other markets, in on-road testing in the French Alps.

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Its presence on roads gives us to understand that the launch of the next-gen model is approaching, which makes sense considering that the current generation of the Atlas launched for 2018.

Last summer, the company presented a number of updates for the Atlas for the 2024 model-year, to ensure the transition to the next generation.

The Atlas has proved to be a success in the U.S., will sales of around 60,000 units every year. In Canada, Volkswagen sold 8,702 Atlas and 3,262 Atlas Cross Sport SUVs in 2023, for an increase of 15.7 percent for the former, but a drop of 11 percent for the latter. These are still very respectable figures.

That's why the new model shouldn't change too much; Volkswagen won't want to mess with a winning formula.

2026 Volkswagen Atlas prototype, three-quarters front
2026 Volkswagen Atlas prototype, three-quarters front | Photo: YouTube (CarSpyMedia)
2026 Volkswagen Atlas prototype, three-quarters rear
2026 Volkswagen Atlas prototype, three-quarters rear | Photo: YouTube (CarSpyMedia)

The model seen in the Alps wears covering on its front end to conceal the design of the new grille. We can see that the format remains more or less the same, and that the light signatures at the front and rear are obviously different. The design of the rear bumper is also distinct, with redesigned exhaust pipes.

The new Atlas will be built on an upgraded version of the MQB platform that serves the current model. It is in fact called MQB Evo, as it can accommodate electrified powertrains, including plug-in hybrids.

Is Volkswagen up to something with the Atlas on this front? We'll have to see.

The next generation is expected to be powered solely by a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine delivering 269 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. You'll recall that last summer, during the upgrade, we were told that this was the only powertrain choice going forward, the company having decided to abandon its V6.

Production of the Atlas SUV for North America will continue to take place at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, where the current model is built. Volkswagen also manufactures the Atlas in China, where the model is known as the Teramont.

2026 Volkswagen Atlas prototype, rear
2026 Volkswagen Atlas prototype, rear | Photo: YouTube (CarSpyMedia)
2026 Volkswagen Atlas prototype, profile
2026 Volkswagen Atlas prototype, profile | Photo: YouTube (CarSpyMedia)
Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists