Thursday, 5 November 2020

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Review

2021 Volkswagen Atlas


The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas has the boxy appearance, cavernous interior, and vast practicality that have defined SUVs for decades. 

It's also one of the biggest mid-size crossovers, with a giant footprint that gives way to three spacious rows of seating. 

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

VW apparently wanted the Atlas to look and feel like a hospital room, but it offset that sterile aesthetic with loads of desirable features. 

A pair of steady albeit staid engines provide motivation with either the front- or all-wheel-drive SUV. And the 2021 boasts an array of standard driver assists and confident handling traits, but don't expect the Atlas to be as exciting or sophisticated as this segment's best.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

What's New for 2021?

VW refreshes the 2021 Atlas with new front and rear fascias that increase the SUV's overall length by almost three inches. A more attractive three-bar grille graces the front end, as do revised headlights that now feature standard LED elements. 

Models with the R-Line option come with special badging, a body kit, and 20- or 21-inch rims. Inside, you'll find a new steering wheel, updated stitching on the seats, an 8.0-inch touchscreen (on SE and SEL models), and the latest iteration of VW's Car-Net smartphone app. The four-cylinder Atlas is now available with all-wheel drive for the first time.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Pricing and Which One to Buy

The 2021 Atlas costs slightly more than last year's model. Still, I'd recommend the V-6-powered SE with the Technology package. Those who want 4Motion all-wheel drive can add it for $1900. 

Also a wide range of contemporary features that include an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, adaptive cruise control, three-zone climate control, and remote start. 

To that I'd add the second-row captain's chairs and the tow hitch that unlocks the Atlas's maximum towing capacity of 5000 pounds.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The Atlas comes with one of two engines—a 235-hp four-cylinder or a 276-hp V-6. Both pair with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. The V-6 feels and sounds refined, transmitting nary a shiver into the cabin. 

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Though the last four-cylinder and V-6 models has an ordinary acceleration, out on the road, they rarely felt underpowered. 

While it's not as much fun to drive as the Mazda CX-9, the Atlas responds obediently to steering inputs and never feels clumsy. It is composed on the highway and nimble in the city. The ride is smooth, and all but the harshest potholes are absorbed.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Fuel Economy

The Atlas's fuel-economy ratings aren't groundbreaking for this class of big-box family haulers, but its real-world performance isn't far off from the segment's fuel sippers.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

Family-friendly interior space, a straightforward control layout, and an overabundance of cup-holders make the Atlas a practical choice, even among other highly practical rivals. 

Plus, a third row of seats that can comfortably accommodate full-size adults is a definite win. 

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

The interior design of the Atlas is uncomplicated and utilitarian—perfect for families but less so for style mavens. 

The cabin should accommodate just about anything a suburban family can throw at it, and there are plenty of thoughtfully placed storage nooks to stash small items.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Infotainment and Connectivity

No matter which trim you choose, the Atlas comes well connected and ready to entertain. The touchscreen interface is intuitive and about as responsive as an average smartphone. 

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Base S models feature a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a USB port. 

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Upgrade to the SE or SEL models and the infotainment display grows to 8.0 inches, three additional USB ports sprout from the center console, and SiriusXM satellite radio and two more speakers join the mix.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

The 2021 Atlas hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) at the time of writing this post. It does come with a bevy of standard and optional driver-assistance technology

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Key safety features include:

  •  Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
  •  Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross-traffic alert
  •  Available adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology
  • 2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Volkswagen provides an above-average limited warranty, but its power-train coverage falls short of most competitors'. VW does sweeten the deal with complimentary scheduled maintenance that is similar to what Toyota offers.

  •  Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  •  Power-train warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • Complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for two years or 20,000 miles.
  • 2021 Volkswagen Atlas


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