The mid-size SUV segment is booming, the average buyer today prefers these SUVs to hatchbacks and sedans. This is a segment where American and Japanese products have established their supremacy. For a long time, there was an absence of a German product. That all changed with the introduction of Volkswagen Atlas in 2018.
The Atlas is a newly introduced vehicle, so it would be a while before we can vouch for its credibility. But Volkswagen’s 6-year/72,000 mile warranty doesn’t leave any room for a second opinion.
The biggest strength of the VW Atlas is its three row capacity which is actually comfortable for adult passengers. The interior follows German minimalism but it is extremely spacious. The Atlas is available with an efficient 2.0L TSI engine but most buyers would prefer the larger 3.6L V6. However, the V6 is a tad slow when compared to its immediate competition.
2019 Volkswagen Atlas Features
With a starting price of $30,895, the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas enjoys a very clever pricing. While its base 2.0L TSI is impressive, it is only available with FWD. If you require AWD, then you have to pick the V6 engine. Advanced active safety features like Blind Sport Monitor and Front Assist start from the base S trim.
The SE trim adds a three zone climate control and a larger 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system for an expense of $2000. The SE with Technology adds Remote start, adaptive cruise control and auto dimming inside rear view mirror for $1800.
The SE with Technology R-Line adds design elements, the Atlas gets exclusive bumpers and design for an additional cost of $1950.
The SEL trim comes with luxury features like panoramic roof and R-Line adds distinct bumpers. The top of the line V6 SEL Premium comes Volkswagen Digital Cockpit and Overhead View Camera. This trim comes at a whopping price of $48,395 - which easily goes into luxury SUV territory.
V6 SE w/Technology
V6 SE w/Technology R-Line
V6 SEL R-Line
V6 SEL Premium
The S includes:
The V6 S includes:
The V6 SE includes:
The V6 SE w/ Technology includes:
V6 SE w/Technology R-Line includes:
The V6 SEL includes:
V6 SEL R-Line include:
The V6 SEL Premium w/ 4MOTION includes:
Dual-zone manual climate control
Dual-zone manual climate control
Four USB ports
Remote power liftgate with closing assist
R-Line bumpers and badging
Power tilting/sliding panoramic sunroof
R-Line bumpers and badging
4MOTION all-wheel-drive system
Volkswagen Car-Net App-Connect
Volkswagen Car-Net App-Connect
Media touchscreen sound system
Front seats, 10-way power
Volkswagen Digital Cockpit
Climatronic three-zone climate control
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
Adaptive Cruise Control
8" touchscreen navigation system
Discover Media touchscreen navigation
Rear Traffic Alert
Auto-dimming interior rearview mirror
Cruise Control (ACC)
With active safety features as standard for the base S trim, we would suggest buyers on a budget to get their Atlas with the smaller 2.0-liter engine. This engine has enough power to take care of your daily driving requirements.
2019 Volkswagen Atlas Engine
"With the exception of a horsepower deficit, the Atlas is a pretty pleasant crossover to wheel around, especially considering its size. Effortless but direct steering, a quick-shifting transmission and confident brakes are the main components to credit for the enjoyable driving experience."- Edmunds
Engine and Transmission
The 2019 Volkswagen Atlas is offered with two engine configurations. The smaller turbocharged 2.0L Inline-four belts out 235 horsepower but it brings almost as much torque as the larger V6 258 lb-ft. With a full load of cargo and passengers, the more powerful 3.6L V6 with 276 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque can struggle at inclines and merging.
3.6L V6 SIDI VVT
3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6
2.4-liter turbocharged Subaru Boxer 4-cylinder
2.7L 4-Cylinder(DOHC) 16-Valve
288 @ 6500
260 hp @ 5,600
254 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rpm
277 lb-ft. @ 2,000 rpm
Transmission duties are taken care by an 8-speed gearbox is the only available transmission. While the base 2.0L inline-four is only available with FWD, the 3.6L V6 can be equipped with Volkswagen's All-Wheel Drive system (4MOTION). The VW Atlas AWD offers excellent traction even in slippery situations and is a worthwhile upgrade for handling inclement weather conditions.
When we consider power output, Chevy Traverse offers 310 hp followed by Ford's 288 hp output. On paper, VW Atlas has 276 hp output but when we consider drivability the Atlas can be a bit sluggish when the going gets a bit tough.
The Atlas equipped with the 2.0L TSI does 0-60 in 7.2 seconds. Surprisingly, the larger V6 engine is slower to pass the 60 MPH marker. It takes 7.9 seconds despite having 41 horsepower more than the inline-four. However, Atlas V6 also weighs 500 pounds more. This disturbs Atlas's power to weight ratio
3.5 L V6
2.4 L H4
Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)
Honda's segment best 6.1-second run is followed by Chevy's 6.9-second 0-60 MPH. Honda's 3.5-liter I-Vtec needs to be revved to extract that segment leading performance. Let's face it, large three-row crossovers aren't meant to be used that way. Still when you compare the Honda Pilot with the Atlas you will find the former to be much-accomplished driver's vehicle.
Ride and Handling
The Atlas rides with excellent compliance and all but the harsh bumps are smoothened out effortlessly. This combined with excellent noise insulation (second only to the whisper-quiet Chevy Traverse) and famed German high-speed stability to make this VW SUV a true long-distance liner.
This does not imply the Atlas can't handle corners. The driver-selectable Sport Mode sharpens up the steering, throttle, and transmission transforming this German SUV into a machine capable of handling corners well. The steering provides great feedback for a three row vehicle and lets you know the exact status of the front tires. If you push the Atlas around corners, it will show body roll. Visibility is good, you have wide side view mirrors and getting accustomed to driving the VW Atlas wouldn't take much time.
The Atlas comes with 13.2-inch brake rotors up front and 12.2-inch brake rotors at the rear wheels. These can haul the Atlas from 60 mph in 115 feet. That's second to Ford Explorer. Apart from raw numbers, the Atlas brake pedal also delivers best in class pedal response.
60-0 MPH (ft.)
108 (With optional tires)
If the huge cabin and payload capacity of the Atlas is not enough for you, you can tow 5000 pounds trailer with a properly equipped Atlas. The competitors also have similar tow rating with only the Chevy Traverse edging slightly ahead with a towing capacity of 5200 pounds.
2019 Volkswagen Atlas Fuel Economy
With the base 2.0L TSI engine, the Atlas delivers 22 mpg in city and 26 mpg on highway. While that's better than the competition, the competition uses significantly more powerful V6 engines. The Atlas V6 is significantly thirstier delivering 17 mpg in city and 23 mpg on highway.
2019 Volkswagen Atlas Interior
"Third-row seating is best left to children in most SUVs, but not in the Atlas, which has plenty of head- and legroom in all three rows. The second-row seats tilt up and slide forward and backward to allow easy access to the third row. For installing child safety seats, there are three complete sets of LATCH connections on the second-row seats and a tether anchor on each third-row seat."-Cars.USnews
Seating and Comfort
The Atlas interior has a typical Volkswagen look and feel with clean elegant lines and intuitively arranged controls. However, what's more, impressive is the space. While the first and second-row room is up with the segment best, the third row beats all of them outright. Third-row access is easy and once seated, even 6-feet adults will find decent headroom and legroom.
Passenger Volume(ft cube)
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)
40/ 60.3/ 38.6
Third (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)
Apart from the impressive passenger volume, the Atlas also impresses with its capacious boot. Behind third row, the Atlas offers 20.6 cubic feet of cargo space. That's up with the segment best Chevy traverse. Folding third row liberates 55.5 cubic feet of space, again better than all others except Chevy Traverse. Finally, with all seats folded, Atlas offers an impressive 96.8 cubic feet of luggage capacity.
Behind 3nd Row(ft. Cube)
With 3nd row folded (ft. Cube)
With All Seats folded (ft. Cube)
The base Atlas S gets 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and six-speaker audio system. Splurging to the Atlas SE gets you larger 8.0 -inch touchscreen infotainment system and two additional speakers apart from three USB ports and Sirius XM satellite radio. The Volkswagen Digital Cockpit is available exclusively in Atlas SEL premium.
2019 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
The Atlas is styled like a typical Volkswagen product with clean lines and an understated demeanor. It relies on proportions to exude a confident stance. However, this Volkswagen SUV also has plenty of muscular details befitting its size. Speaking of size, it spans 198.3 inches in length and 78.3 inches in width. At 69.7-inch it's just as tall as any other SUV here.
Track width(in) F/R
2019 Volkswagen Atlas Safety
All 2019 Volkswagen Atlas come equipped with a standard backup camera. The Atlas comes with standard safety features:
Automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
Adaptive cruise control
Apart from these, the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas comes with following safety features:
StabiliTrak electronic stability control system
Air bag system.
Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA)
Rollover sensor system
Rear Vision Camera.
Child security rear door locks.
Passenger Sensing System.
Rear seat reminder.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System.
Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS)
2019 Volkswagen Atlas Competition
Volkswagen Atlas vs Honda Pilot
The Honda Pilot is one of the most well rounded midsize SUV with well-equipped, spacious seats and high-quality materials. An efficient and powerful engine pulls the pilot briskly along the road. On top of that, the Pilot comes with Honda's reputation for reliability and has great resale value too. However, the Atlas comes with a better third row and it's almost as good in other areas.
Volkswagen Atlas vs Chevrolet Traverse
The 2019 Chevrolet Traverse blends charismatic styling with plenty of passenger space and cargo capacity. The seats are supportive and higher trims cover them in soft materials. This is accompanied by a plush ride and composed highway manners. Also, the traverse is one of the quietest in the class. That said, the Atlas is nearly in many ways and better in some - like handling.
Volkswagen Atlas vs Toyota Highlander
The 2019 Toyota Highlander packs an upscale interior, a powerful V6 engine and plenty of advanced active safety features as standard. While its V6 is strong, it's also available with an efficient four-cylinder motor. However, while the Highlander can seat 8, its third row is significantly tighter than the third row in Atlas.
Volkswagen Atlas vs Ford Explorer
Explorer is one of the oldest nameplates in this segment. The 3.5-liter V6 engine is rated for 288 horsepower. The Explorer offers a spacious cabin, decent off-roading capacity and the versatility of three engine choices. The Atlas offers a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four. Ford Explorer (higher trims) offers more features than the Atlas but it comes at a bigger price tag.
Volkswagen Atlas vs Subaru Ascent
Subaru Ascent is the newest contender in the three-row crossover segment. It is powered by a four-cylinder boxer engine. Unlike the Volkswagen Atlas, the Subaru Ascent is a better driving three-row crossover. And when it comes to standard features, Ascent is equipped with standard AWD, Subaru's eyesight safety system and offers the better cargo and passenger volume than most crossovers in this segment. If you want a good-driving crossover without compromising on utility then Ascent comes off as a better choice.
2019 Volkswagen Atlas Final Verdict
After a long time, Volkswagen has a SUV that doesn't look like a big box. Atlas is a product that is going to find its way to the list of many potential shoppers. It is comfortable, offers great flexibility for passenger and cargo. It's immensely spacious inside with a third row that's easily among the best in the segment. On top of that, the cabin is impressively quiet even at high speeds and rides of supple suspension.
That the Atlas can also excite you through curvy roads is just icing on the cake. There are shortcomings though mainly in the powertrain department. The V6 does not pack enough punch and is not particularly efficient either. Also, the base 2.0L TSI engine is unavailable with AWD. Still, the Volkswagen Atlas offers a genuinely appealing package and is an easy recommendation if want a family-friendly SUV.