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The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas provides the basics in a abundant big package. Anybody in chase of a large, three-row ancestors crossover will acquisition a appropriately ample one here. Anniversary basement row is so ample that you could calmly ample the Atlas alone with 6-footers, while added of their baggage will be able to fit central than in about every competitor. All this, and it’s both able and priced appropriate in band with the capital antagonism from Japan and the United States.
Don’t appear attractive for acceptable German clarification and quality, however, as VW prioritized absolute acreage and amount over autogenous appearance and active dynamics. None of the crossovers of this ability are abnormally agreeable to drive, but the Atlas’ underpowered engines, bulky administration and high-seas ride affection put it against the aback of the pack. The autogenous is additionally a letdown. The architecture is boring, abnormally compared to added acute interiors from the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride, and alike top-dollar trims action little in the way of a exceptional ambiance (and little advance over cheaper versions). Basically, action and amount won over anatomy in the Atlas. This actuality the case, we anticipate the cheaper trims represent the Atlas at its arch and would acclaim those over one of the added big-ticket models.
Volkswagen put the 2021 Atlas through the model’s aboriginal cogent awakening this year. It gets revised administration iwith new bumpers that extend the Atlas’ absolute breadth by 3 inches. Yeah, it got alike bigger. New LED lights in advanced and aback added differentiate it from the 2020 Atlas. On the inside, VW gave it a new 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment arrangement that adds WiFi and affinity with VW’s smartphone app. Two disciplinarian abetment appearance — Travel Abetment and Emergency Abetment — are additionally fabricated accessible for 2021.
Not abundant has afflicted on the powertrain front, with the notable barring of VW abacus an all-wheel-drive advantage for the accepted 2.0-liter turbo engine. It’s additionally now the accepted agent on every trim except for R-Line trims. Those will abide to appear accepted with the V6.
Interior abstracts and all-embracing ambiance are disappointing. There is classically ascetic German architecture and again there’s aloof apparent – the Atlas avalanche into the closing category. That’s abnormally accurate in the lower trims, but alike swapping out the argent artificial emphasis trim in the S (pictured aloft left) for the abnormal wood-ish actuality of the added trims (at right) doesn’t snazz things up enough. The affection of plastics, decidedly on the centermost console, is worse than what you’d acquisition in battling SUVs. Upmarket interiors acclimated to be a Volkswagen trademark. Today, it’s amplitude and value, which ability be accomplished for abounding shoppers.
In-car technology is a bigger situation. Alike the abject Atlas S includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto additional a touchscreen that’s accessible to use and see, if a bit baby at 6.5 inches. There are alone two USB ports, however. Stepping up to the SE trim adds an added three USB ports, accessory radio and the anew adapted 8-inch MIB3 infotainment screen. That’s the infotainment bearings for all the high trim levels, admitting the SEL does avowal the Volkswagen Agenda Cockpit that replaces the accepted barometer array with one agenda display. It can simulate approved gauges, or abbreviate them to appearance a ample aeronautics map, audio interface or added display.
The Atlas is enormous, and VW fabricated it 3 inches best this year. Quite simply, if you allegation added amplitude than this, you absolutely accept no best but to go with a minivan or a full-size SUV like a Ford Expedition. Alike the Chevrolet Traverse, which surpasses the Atlas in best dimensions, isn’t so abundant bigger to absolutely matter. (Note that there is additionally the Atlas Cross Sport that seats five, and is beneath in breadth and height. We analysis separately)
Like competitors, there is a second-row three-person bank bank accessible for an eight-passenger accommodation or captain’s chairs with a seven-person capacity. We’ve activated examples with the bench, which is 60/40-split and slides added ahead and aft than those of competitors. This allows you to accompany accouchement in car seats afterpiece to mom and dad, or chargeless up alike added third-row legroom. They additionally acquiesce for a abundant beyond pass-through to the third row than added crossovers can manage.
Not alone is it easier to get into the Atlas’ third row, it is added ample already you get aback there. As we detail in the video above, addition 6-foot-3 has added than abundant head- and legroom in the third row. True, you apparently won’t be accommodation NBA point guards aback there, but whoever is in the way aback will be beneath awkward and aloof about happier.
As for burden capacity, as you can see in our baggage analysis video below, the Atlas’ 20.6 cubic-feet of amplitude abaft that aloft third row accustomed us to bundle three attache roller suitcases, one mid-size check-in attache and an brief bag. None of the added three-row crossovers we’ve baggage activated accept akin it. In agreement of best burden amplitude with all rows lowered, its 96.8 cubic-feet is alone outdone by the Traverse (barely), minivans, and those full-size SUVs.
Paired with both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive, the abject 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder agent (2.0T) produces 235 application and 258 pound-feet of torque. That achievement arrives beforehand in the rev ambit than the accessible V6, acceptation it absolutely feels a bit quicker off the line. It’s additionally absolutely quicker than the SEL, back the SEL’s added accessories after-effects in a abundant heftier barrier weight. Its ammunition abridgement is boilerplate for the articulation at 21 mpg city, 24 mpg artery and 22 mpg accumulated with FWD and 20/24/20 with AWD.
The accessible 3.6-liter V6 (dubbed VR6) can be commutual to front- or all-wheel drive, and comes accepted on the R-Line trims. It’s alternative on the SEL and SE w/ Technology trims. The VR6 produces 276 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, acceptation both accessible engines are underpowered for the segment. It too gets an eight-speed automated standard. Ammunition abridgement maxes out at 17 city, 23 artery and 19 accumulated with FWD and 16/22/18 with AWD. Those abstracts are low for the segment.
The Atlas doesn’t ache with the abject four-cylinder agent as you ability expect. Dispatch can absolutely be quicker than the VR6 model, and we begin that accepting beneath weight to lug about makes the four-cylinder Atlas lighter on its anxiety and beneath bulky about corners. It’s still no absorbing handler.
Now that you can get all-wheel drive with the four-cylinder, there’s alike beneath acumen to go for the V6. That bigger engine’s dispatch is never as active as you’d acquisition in best competitors, and administration is additionally a bit ponderous, both in allegory to the four-cylinder archetypal and battling SUVs. The council is at atomic abundantly beeline in accomplishment behindhand of engine, and chargeless from the extra-numb on-center feel of added Volkswagens.
As for the ride, it’s actual springy. The Atlas bound and floats over undulations, yet greets manholes and burst pavement with archetypal Germanic firmness. The added pounds added by the heavily able SEL we activated achieve those high-seas anatomy motions a bit, but the Atlas’ ride is consistently badly soft.
We analysis the cheapest adaptation of the Atlas: the S trim with front-wheel drive, a four-cylinder engine, bolt seats and few accessories and gizmos.
The Cross Sport loses the third-row bank and a agglomeration of length, chops the roofline and makes the administration a bit sportier. It’s still almost enormous, though, and not a bad best if lots of burden amplitude is added important than eight-passenger seating.