2021 Volkswagen Atlas

MSRP $33,455 - $50,695

Ranked #9 in Suv

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2021 Volkswagen Atlas Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: July 7, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The new Volkswagen Atlas comes with few important changes across its trim lineup giving it a new lease of life. The 235 hp, 2.0-liter TSI inline-4 engine is now standard with AWD configuration available across the trim except for the R-Line trims. Other changes include refreshed front and rear design and more driver-assist features joining the standard features list. As usual, the three-row mid-size SUV Atlas comes in four main trims with R-Line trim for all but the base trim. The R-Line trim comes standard with 276 hp, 3.6-liter V6, and FWD configuration while the same is available as an option on other trims. 

More from 2021 Volkswagen Atlas

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Exclusive Interior and Exterior Pictures | View latest Pictures

See detailed review »

Pros

Spacious cabin and cargo space

Ergonomically sorted cabin

Sorted ride and handling

Competitively priced

Cons

Evident costing cutting saw inside

Not fuel-efficient

Boring to drive

What's New?

Refreshed front and rear design

Inline-4 engine standard across the trim lineup

AWD now available with the inline-4 engine

More drive-assist features are now standard


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$49420

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

7

drivetrain

all wheel drive

engine type

displacement

220 cu.in.

horsepower

276 hp @ 6200 rpm

torque

266 lb-ft. @ 2750 rpm

transmission

8 speed Automatic w/Tiptronic

chassis

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension w/anti-roll bar

brake rotors (f/r)

13.2/12.2 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

117.3 in.

length

198.3 in.

width

78.3 in.

height

70 in.

curb weight

4502 lbs.

ground clearance

8 in.

capacity

passenger volume

153.7 cu ft.

cargo volume

96.8 cu ft.

towing capacity

5000 lbs.

payload capacity

1213 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

7.2 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

14.9 sec.

braking (70-0 mph)

165 ft.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

16/24/22 mpg

highway range

483.6 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

corrosion warranty

7 yr./ 100000 mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

S$33,455 onwards

SE$34,905 onwards

SE R-Line$40,140 onwards

SEL$42,425 onwards

SEL R-Line$44,420 onwards

SEL Premium$47,620 onwards

SEL Premium R-Line$50,695 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Volkswagen Atlas in Aegean Blue Metallic color
Aegean Blue Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Pricing and Features

8.0

Engine and Performance

7.2

Fuel Economy

7.0

Interior

9.0

Exterior

7.2

Safety

8.5

Competition

9.5

8.3

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

8.3

Overall Rating


Both the engines are pretty relaxed and are best driven sedately or enjoyed while cruising on long highways. The planted ride and sure-footed handling of the Atlas is an added plus. Coupled that with the spacious cabin and cavernous boot making it the perfect mix for a long-distance family hauler. Prices for the 2021 Atlas start as low as $31,555 and go as high as $50,725. Rivals for the Atlas include the mid-size SUVs like the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and Chevrolet Traverse.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas SUV front view
2021 Volkswagen Atlas SUV rear view

7.2/10
Engine and Performance

7.0/10
Fuel Economy

9.0/10
Interior

7.2/10
Exterior

8.5/10
Safety

9.5/10
Competition


2021 Volkswagen Atlas Features

The Volkswagen Atlas comes in four major trims i.e., S, SE, SEL, and SEL Premium. Except for the base trim, the other three trims have their separate R-Line trims that add bigger wheels, a V6 engine, and R-Line-specific styling and badging. Further, you also have a SE with Technology pack and SE with Technology pack R-Line trim. Both the trims are based on the SE trim and the former adds few driver-assist features, a hands-free liftgate, and bigger wheels over the SE trims features. While the latter i.e. the SE with Technology pack R-Line gets the usual R-Line upgrades over the SE with Technology pack trim. The price range of the Volkswagen Atlas is from $31,555 for the base trim and goes up to $50,725 for the SEL Premium R-Line trim. 

The 235 hp, the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine is standard across the lineup except for the R-Line trim that gets the V6 engine as standard while for the rest it is available for an extra cost. Except for the SEL Premium and SEL Premium R-Line, all the trims have FWD configuration and AWD costs $1,900 extra. Standard features include LED exterior lights, automatic headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, 6.5-inch touchscreen, fabric upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, electronic differential lock, tire pressure monitoring system, blind-spot monitor, forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, rear traffic alert, etc.

Model

S

SE

SE w/ Technology

SE w/ Technology R-Line

SEL

SEL R-Line

SEL Premium

SEL Premium R-Line

MSRP (FWD)

$31,555

$34,905

$36,945

$39,745

$42,325

$44,025

-

-

MSRP (AWD)

$33,455

$36,805

$38,845

$41,645

$44,225

$45,925

$47,225

$50,725

Features

235 hp, 2.0-liter TSI inline-4 engine

Adds or upgrades to ‘S’

Adds or upgrades to ‘SE’

Adds or upgrades to ‘SE w/ Technology

Adds or upgrades to ‘SE w/ Technology

Adds or upgrades to ‘SEL’

Adds or upgrades to ‘SEL’

Adds or upgrades to ‘SEL Premium’

 

All-LED exterior lights

Remote opening and closing liftgate

20-inch alloy wheels

276 hp, 3.6-liter V6 engine

Side mirrors w/ memory function

276 hp, 3.6-liter V6 engine

Leather upholstery for 1st and 2nd row

276 hp, 3.6-liter V6 engine

 

Automatic headlights

Tri-zone automatic climate control

Hands--free liftgate

R-Line front bumper and badging

Digital cockpit

R-Line front bumper and badging

Ventilated front seats

R-Line front bumper and badging

 

18-inch alloy wheels

Heated front seats

Remote start

 

8-inch touchscreen infotainment w/ navigation

21-inch alloy wheels

Fender premium audio system 

21-inch alloy wheels

 

Rain-sensing wipers

Power-adjustable driver’s seats

Adaptive cruise control

 

Volkswagen Car-Net

 

Park assist

 
 

Dual-zone automatic climate control

V-Tex upholstery

Maneuver braking w/ park distance control

 

Dynamic road sign display

     
 

Forward collision warning and autonomous

emergency braking

Wireless phone charger

Front and rear parking sensors

 

Traffic jam assist

     
 

Rear traffic alert

Keyless access w/ push-button start

   

Panoramic sunroof

     
 

Blind-spot monitor

8-inch touchscreen infotainment

   

Lane keep assist

     
 

Rearview camera

     

High beam control

     

We Recommend:

We suggest going for the SE with the Technology pack trim. The trim costs under forty grand and adds a lot of nifty features like an 8-inch touchscreen, hands-free liftgate, adaptive cruise control, remote start, heated front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, front and rear parking sensor, etc. For an SUV this big we think these features are a must to ensure a relaxed driving experience.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Engine and Performance

7.2/10

There are two engine options available on the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas. The standard one is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine that puts out 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque channeled through an 8-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels. The above ratings can only be tapped when the four-pot is fed with premium fuel. The next in line is the bigger 3.6-liter V6 engine belting out 276 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque with the same gearbox and drivetrain configuration. 

2021 Volkswagen Atlas SUV driving view

Both the engines are in no way power monsters and the way they accelerate makes it pretty evident. Atlas’ V6 engine helps it to do 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds with another 7.7 seconds required to complete the quarter-mile. The four-pot engine also clocks a similar 0-60 mph timing but is slower to reach the quarter-mile by at least a second than the V6. The drivability of both the engines is great with the V6 being more refined than the inline-4.

Model

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

2021 Honda Pilot

2021 Chevrolet Traverse

2021 Toyota Highlander

MSRP

$38,345

$38,360

$39,100

$40,085

Engine

3.6-liter V6

3.5-liter V6

3.6-liter V6

3.5-liter V6

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

8-speed automatic

9-speed automatic

9-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

Power (hp @ rpm)

276 hp @ 6200 rpm

280 hp @ 6000 rpm

310 hp @ 6800 rpm

295 hp @ 6600 rpm

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

266 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm

262 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm

266 lb-ft @ 2800 rpm

263 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm

0-60 MPH

7.2 sec

6.9 sec

7.1 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.9 sec

14.4 sec

15.5 sec

15.3 sec

Top Speed

115 MPH

133 MPH

130 MPH

115 MPH

All the rivals come with a V6 engine but are more powerful than the Volkswagen Atlas. Among the lot, the Chevrolet Traverse puts out the highest 310 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque from its V6 engine. While the Honda Pilot with the V6 under its hood managed the fastest 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds and covered the fastest quarter-mile in 14.4 seconds. Coming in next place is Chevrolet Traverse taking 7.1 seconds for 0-60 mph followed by the Atlas and the Highlander in third place.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Ride and Handling:

Being a Volkswagen the ride and handling of the Atlas are in the lines of other Volkswagen cars. Thus the Atlas has a planted and comfortable ride quality with the steering feedback being accurate for the most part. Small bumps and minor undulations are dismissed with ease by the Atlas. 

Cruising at highway speeds is not a problem as the planted ride quality ensures the ride remains stable whatever the speed be. While in the city the big and heavy Atlas is surprisingly nimble to pilot. You will hardly realize how big an SUV you are driving. The steering is light at parking speed so maneuvering in and out of tight spaces and traffic isn’t an issue either.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Braking:

The Volkswagen Atlas despite its massive size and above 4,400 pounds curb weight stops in panic braking without drama. The Atlas managed to brake from 60-0 mph in just 115 feet. The stopping distance is the lowest among its rivals and due credit goes to the engine brake assist, hydraulic brake assist electronic brake pressure distribution, and ABS all of which kick in smoothly to ensure a smaller stopping distance. That said, the brake pedal felt smooth and easy to modulate without being oversensitive.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas SUV brake rotor

Model

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

2021 Honda Pilot

2021 Chevrolet Traverse

2021 Toyota Highlander

Brake Rotors Front (in.)

13.2

12.6

12.6

13.3

Brake Rotors Rear (in.)

12.2

13.0

12.4

13.3

Curb Weight (lbs)

4,427

4,041

4,362

4,195

60-0 MPH (ft.)

115

123

130

128

As for the rivals, the biggest set of rotors are available on the Toyota Highlander and it brakes from 60-0 mph in 128 feet. While the smallest distance of 123 feet to brake from 60-0 mph among the rivals was taken by the Honda Pilot. Still, it took 8 feet more than what the Volkswagen Atlas took to stop from the same speed. 

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Fuel Economy

7.0/10

The heavy curb weight and the big V6 of the Atlas cripple its fuel economy ratings. The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 17 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, and 19 mpg combined. While the AWD V6 sees a reduction of one mpg in all three parameters. The inline-4 engine with FWD of the Atlas on the other hand does a bit better with a fuel economy of 21 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. With the 19.5-gallon fuel tank the V6 powered FWD Atlas can go up to 330 plus miles in the city and close to 450 miles on the highway from a tankful of gas.

Model

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

2021 Honda Pilot

2021 Chevrolet Traverse

2021 Toyota Highlander

MPG (City)

17

20

18

21

MPG (Highway)

23

27

27

29

MPG (Combined)

19

23

21

24

Fuel Tank Capacity (gal.)

19.5

19.5

N/A

17.9

Range (City/Highway/ Combined)

332/ 449/ 370

390/ 527/ 448

N/A

376/ 519/ 429

Coming to the rivals the Volkswagen Atlas remains the least efficient while the Toyota Highlander is the most fuel-efficient among all with 21/29/24 mpg of gas mileage in city/highway/combined respectively. But the Honda Pilot with the bigger 19.5-gallon fuel tank and a 20/27/23 mpg of gas mileage manage the longest 390 miles of range in the city and 527 miles of range on the highway from a tankful of gas.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Interior

9.0/10

Step inside the cabin of the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas and honestly, you will feel nothing special about it. The material quality is average and the overall dash design is plain and simple. But where the cabin scores are for sorted ergonomics, loads of practicality, and how to forget a total of 17 cupholders. Another high point about the Atlas’ cabin is the space inside making it a perfect family hauler SUV just like it is advertised. The overall visibility around the cabin is great due to the large windows and the boxy shape of the Atlas.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas SUV cockpit area

The Atlas is available as a seven-seater as standard and a six-seater configuration can be had with the optional captain’s chair for the second row. The seats of the Atlas are well-bolstered and comfortable for most of the part. But they aren’t in the leagues of what rivals offer. The seats of the Atlas are a bit stiff and that does make it tiring to sit on them over long hauls. The rear seats are in the same league and can be slid back and forth to gain access to the third-row seats. 

2021 Volkswagen Atlas SUV front seats

Model

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

2021 Honda Pilot

2021 Chevrolet Traverse

2021 Toyota Highlander

Passenger Capacity

7

8

7

7

First row (Head/ Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

41.3/ 61.5/ 41.5

40.1/ 62.0/ 40.9

41.3/ 62.1/ 41.0

39.6/ 59.0/ 42.0

Second row (Head/ Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

40.4/ 60.8/ 37.6

40.2/ 62.0/ 38.4

40.0/ 62.2/ 38.4

39.4/ 58.4/ 41.0

Third row (Head/ Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

38.3/ 54.9/ 33.7

38.9/ 57.6/ 31.9

38.2/ 57.5/ 33.5

36.1/ 55.0/ 27.7

Cargo Capacity (ft3)

20.6

16.5

23.0

16.0

The Volkswagen Atlas overall has a more spacious cabin among the rivals while the legroom in the second row of Atlas is a bit low compared to the Highlander’s 41-inches of second-row legroom. Moving to the cargo area the Volkswagen Atlas offers 20.6 cubic feet of cargo space while the biggest cargo area is offered in the Chevrolet Traverse with 23 cubic feet of space. The Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander have almost similar cargo spaces of 16.5 and 16 cubic feet respectively. Key highlights of the interior features include:

  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • LED interior lighting
  • Auto-dimming inner rearview mirror
  • 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat (available)
  • Heated and ventilated front seats (available)
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control(available)
  • V-Tex leatherette upholstery (available)

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Infotainment System:

There are two screen sizes available for the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas infotainment system. The standard one is a 6.5-inch unit while the other one is an 8-inch touchscreen unit. The former is available only on the base S trim while the latter is available on the SE trim and above. The SEL trim and above adds navigation to the standard 8-inch unit. Overall impression of both the screens was positive and we found both of them were easy to use for most of the part. 

2021 Volkswagen Atlas SUV infotainment screen

The response time is quick and using the screens won’t be a task as the interface is fairly simple and feels like using a regular smartphone. That said, standard features include Wi-Fi hotspot, App-Connect, remote access, etc. Available features include a 12-speaker fender premium audio system, wireless smartphone charging, SiriusXM, etc. Key highlights of the infotainment include:

  • 6.5-inch or 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Six speaker sound system
  • Navigation (available)
  • SiriusXM (available)
  • 12-speaker Fender sound system (available)
  • Wireless smartphone charging (available)

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior

7.2/10

Look at the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas from whatever angle and you will see only straight lines and symmetry that culminates into a boxy-shaped SUV. The 2021 Atlas got minor restyled front and rear. The grille has been changed and the Volkswagen logo has been updated as well. The three slat grille merges into the headlights while the foglights have now been removed from the lower bumper and integrated into the headlights. 

2021 Volkswagen Atlas SUV 

All the exterior lights are LED as standard on the Atlas. The side profile is pretty much simple and the big wheel arches get chunky black cladding all around to reduce the visual bulk. The rear profile continues the same design philosophy. Standard features include cornering lights, automatic headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, welcome lights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, etc.

Model

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

2021 Honda Pilot

2021 Chevrolet Traverse

2021 Toyota Highlander

Curb Weight (lbs)

4,427

4,041

4,362

4,195

Length (in.)

200.7

196.5

204.3

194.9

Width (in.)

78.4

78.6

78.6

76.0

Height (in.)

70.1

70.6

70.7

68.1

Ground Clearance (in.)

8.0

7.3

7.2

8.0

Wheelbase (in.)

117.3

111.0

120.9

112.2

Dimension wise the Volkswagen Atlas is pretty big measuring 200.7-inches in length, 78.4-inches in width, 70.1-inches in height, has a ground clearance of 8-inches, and has a wheelbase of 117.3-inches. Compared to that the biggest SUV dimension-wise is the Chevrolet Traverse, it is 3.6-inches longer, 0.2-inches wider, 0.6-inches taller, and has a 3.6-inches longer wheelbase compared to the Atlas. The Atlas weighing 4,427 pounds is the heaviest SUV of all. Key highlights of the exterior features include:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Heated outside mirror
  • LED headlights and tail lights
  • Automatic headlights
  • Panoramic sunroof (available)
  • Powered liftgate (available)
  • Side mirror w/ memory function (available)
  • 20-inch or 21-inch alloy wheels (available)

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Safety

8.5/10

Safety-wise the Volkswagen Atlas is a well-rated SUV. The 2021 Atlas was given an overall rating of five out of five stars by NHTSA with four stars in the front crash test, five stars in the side crash test, and four stars in the rollover test, all the ratings are out of five. The IIHS shared a similar opinion about the Atlas and rated it ‘Good’ in all its six parameters. The headlights of the Atlas’ SEL trim and above were rated as ‘Good’ while the lower trims headlights got the second-lowest rating of ‘Marginal’. 

The ease of use of LATCH in the Atlas was again given the second-lowest rating of ‘Marginal’ by IIHS. Ratings aside, the best part about the Atlas is that it gets active and passive features as standard across the range while driver-assist features like forward collision warning, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and pedestrian detection are standard. Key highlights of the safety features include:

  • Forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking
  • Blind-spot monitor w/ pedestrian detection
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) 
  • Crash Response System
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (available)
  • Front and rear parking sensor (available)

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Competition

9.5/10

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Vs 2021 Honda Pilot

If we compare the V6 powered Atlas and the Honda Pilot that gets V6 as standard then there is a minimal price gap between the two. Yet the Pilot is more powerful, lighter, quicker, and more fuel-efficient than the Atlas. The Atlas on the other hand is more utilitarian, spacious, and has generous cargo space. On the flip side, the cabin of the Pilot feels much better and comfortable compared to the Atlas. To conclude both the SUVs are closely matched but going by the sales figures of the Pilot we feel it is being favored by more customers compared to the Atlas.

2021 Honda Pilot

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Vs 2021 Chevrolet Traverse

The Chevrolet Traverse is another workhorse that is not only more powerful but also frugal and more spacious compared to the Atlas. On the interior part, both the SUVs have a similar quality cabin to start with but the spaciousness in the Traverse tilts the scale in its favor. The Traverse isn’t fun-to-drive or an engaging SUV but then the same goes for the Atlass too. Although the Atlas feels more sure-footed and pliant than the Traverse at high speeds. The main flex for the Atlas is its far lower pricing if you go for the inline-4 engine. So if you are on a tight budget then Atlas could be a better option here.

2021 Chevrolet Traverse

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Vs 2021 Toyota Highlander

The Toyota Highlander is a well-rounded product that offers a frugal engine with great drivability. Although it is not as spacious or practical as the Atlas, it surely is more reliable than the Atlas. Two things common between the two SUVs are a feature-rich cabin and a host of standard safety and driver-assist features. Again except for the lower base price, there isn’t anything special that the Atlas has to offer over the Highlander. 

2021 Toyota Highlander

 

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Final Verdict

The Volkswagen Atlas isn’t the most powerful, fuel-efficient, or comfortable SUV in the segment. Instead, it is an SUV that slots between the flashiest Kia Telluride and the most utilitarian Chevrolet Traverse. The ride and handling of the Atlas are well-sorted and the 8-inch ground clearance is sufficient to see you through minor off-road trails provided you have the AWD configuration. The styling and overall cabin are kept basic and in our opinion, these kinds of designs and materials age well with time. So if you are on a budget and looking for a decent family hauler we suggest looking at the Volkswagen Atlas.

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