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VW Atlas misses Top Safety Pick Plus rating

by Justin King

The all-new SUV aced every crash test, but its headlight performance fell short.

Volkswagen's new Atlas SUV has missed out on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick Plus rating for its inaugural model year.

The Atlas aced every crash test scenario -- small overlap front, moderate overlap, side, roof strength and head restraint -- and earned a 'superior' rating for its front-crash prevention system, which reduced impact speed by 17 mph in the 25 mph test.

The LED reflector headlights used on the SE and SEL trim levels earned a 'poor' rating with 'inadequate' visibility on curves in all four tests with the low and high beams. The upgraded LED headlights on the SEL Premium package perform slightly better, but still had 'inadequate' visibility on curves.

"The Atlas misses the Top Safety Pick+ designation because its available headlights are rated marginal and poor," the IIHS said. "Good or acceptable headlights are required for the higher award."

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