Crossovers

The three-row Volkswagen Atlas is surprisingly affordable

If all you want is some basic transportation, you'll spend less than you would on a Honda Pilot.

Volkswagen

The Atlas is Volkswagen's largest crossover, but it's not going to require vast sums of money... so long as you keep the options in check.

A base 2018 Volkswagen Atlas S starts at $30,500, a hair under the starting price of the rival Honda Pilot. It comes with a 235-horsepower I4 and front-wheel drive. That price includes LED headlights, a backup camera and a 6.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can move up to a 276-hp V6 for $31,900, and adding all-wheel drive (available only on V6 models) bumps that price to $33,700.

The next trim up is SE. The V6 becomes standard, and additional features include blind spot monitoring, keyless access, three extra USB ports, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated leatherette seats and an 8-inch infotainment system. It'll cost $34,990 for the front-wheel drive model, and $36,790 for AWD.

You're going to order it in this color, right? Because you should.

Volkswagen

If you're angling for safety, the Atlas SE with Technology might be the trim for you. It adds driver assistance systems, including adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and lane-departure warning. It also includes three-zone climate controls, remote start and a power liftgate. FWD models start at $37,090, with AWD coming in at $38,890.

The penultimate Atlas trim is SEL. In addition to everything mentioned above, the SEL adds a panoramic sunroof, a power passenger seat, parking sensors and a 115-volt power outlet in the second row. That'll bump the price up to $40,890 for FWD and $42,690 for AWD.

If you really want to ball out, the Atlas SEL Premium is the top dog. Here, you get bigger wheels, navigation, LED taillights, exterior puddle lamps, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats. But perhaps the coolest addition is the 12.3-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, which replaces the gauge cluster with a configurable screen, a la Audi's Virtual Cockpit. Of course, you'll have to pay to play, as AWD is standard and the price is a hefty $48,490.

There's also an Atlas S Launch edition, which takes the base model and adds a V6 engine, a panoramic sunroof, satellite radio and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. That'll run you $33,500 for front-wheel drive, and $35,300 for all-wheel drive. There's limited availability on this model, so if you want it, you'll have to act fast.

If, for some reason, you're insane and want even more stuff, there are some options. All trims except for S can be optioned with second-row captain's chairs for $625. The R-Line package adds some sportier exterior and interior bits on SE and SEL trims for $1,960, as well.

The 2018 Atlas hits dealerships in May.