Volkswagen Atlas
Volkswagen Atlas
Volkswagen Atlas

2021 Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium

Pros: Cavernous interior; good driving personality for such a large vehicle; well-sorted touchscreen infotainment system

Cons: Plus-size dimensions can make close-quarters parking a chore; mediocre fuel economy with V6 engine

CG Says: The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas has revised styling and wider availability of its turbo four. Up front there is a new front fascia and a new bumper in the rear. Inside there is a new steering wheel and other detail changes. The base 4-cylinder engine is now available on topline models and with all-wheel drive. Previously, all-wheel drive required the V6 engine. Volkswagen introduced the Atlas midsize crossover SUV for 2018. It is one of the largest vehicles VW has ever sold in the U.S.; it’s bigger than most every midsize-SUV rival, and almost 10 inches longer than Volkswagen’s previous midsize SUV: the pricey, upscale Touareg. Despite its larger size, the Atlas is priced significantly cheaper than the Touareg; its price range puts it right in the heart of the midsize crossover market. The Atlas has three rows of seating for up to seven passengers with the standard second-row bench seat, or six with the available second-row captain’s chairs. (There is also a two-row Atlas Cross Sport that is based on the Atlas, but is 5.7 inches shorter and has a sloping rear roof line [see separate report].) The base engine is a 235-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and the step-up engine is a 276-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. Both engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and are available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Available safety features include autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind-spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic post-collision braking, and lane-keep assist. Other available features include adaptive cruise control, park assist, automatic high-beam headlights, hands-free power liftgate, panoramic sunroof, overhead-camera view, and LED headlights. The Atlas’s cavernous interior provides generous passenger and cargo room, and the cabin is finished in VW’s typical classy, understated fashion—especially in the top-line SEL models. A pleasant driving personality; satisfying acceleration from the V6 engine; and a responsive, feature-rich infotainment system are other assets. Fuel economy with the V6 engine is a bit disappointing, but the Atlas’s space, performance, and European style should make it a viable alternative to rivals such as the Honda Pilot and Chevrolet Traverse.

The Facts
Class Midsize SUV
Body Style(s) 4-door wagon
Passenger Count 7
Drive Wheels Front-wheel drive, All-wheel drive
Manufacturer Volkswagen
Nation of Manufacture USA
Base Prices S 2.0T: $32,565
AWD S 2.0T: $34,465
SE 2.0T: $35,915
AWD SE 2.0T: $37,815
SE w/Tech 2.0T: $37,915
AWD SE w/Tech 2.0T: $39,815
SE w/Tech 3.6L: $39,315
AWD w/Tech 3.6L: $41,215
SE w/Tech R-Line 3.6L: $40,715
AWD SE w/Tech R-Line 3.6L:  $42,615
AWD SEL 2.0T: $43,415
SEL 3.6L: $43,315
AWD SEL 3.6L: $45,215
AWD SEL Premium 2.0T: $48,215
AWD SEL Premium 3.6L: $50,015

Base Engine
turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder (2.0T)
Horsepower
235
Std. Transmission
8-speed automatic
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
20-21
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
24

Optional Engine
3.6-liter V6 (3.6L)
Horsepower
276
Std. Transmission
8-speed automatic
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
16-17
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
22-23