2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Rating7.4

Ranked #16 in Midsize Suv

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Starting MSRP 

$33,455 - $50,695

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Key Spec of 2021 Volkswagen Atlas
fuel economy

21/22/24

fuel type

premium unleaded

horsepower

235 hp @ 4500 rpm

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: May 4, 2022

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor

The new 2021 Volkswagen Atlas comes with a few important changes across its trim lineup giving it a new lease of life. Practical and capable in all respects, the 2021 Atlas definitely looks forward to ruling the sales charts with this one. As far as the changes go, the 235 hp, 2.0-liter TSI inline-4 Atlas engine is now standard with AWD configuration available across the trim except for the R-Line trims. Moreover, with the same trim lineup on offer, the 2021 Atlas will be priced at an MSRP of $31,555.

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. On the interior front too, the 2021 Atlas gets an upgraded cabin space.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Latest Updates

  • May' 10, 2022 : The Top 10 Cheapest Volkswagen Cars To Buy In 2022 Read More »

ProsConsWhat's New

Spacious cabin and cargo space

Not fuel-efficient

Refreshed front and rear design

Ergonomically sorted cabin

Boring to drive

Inline-4 engine standard across the trim lineup

Sorted ride and handling

AWD now available with the inline-4 engine

Competitively priced

More drive-assist features are now standard

Over All Rating

7.4

Out of 10

Pricing and Features9.00
Features7.00
Engine and Performance6.50
Fuel Economy6.50
Interior7.00
Exterior6.30
Safety7.00
Competition6.00
Notable Rankings

#16 in Midsize Suv

#17 in Suv


Pictures & Videos


Trims

S$33,455 onwards

  • 1St row LCD monitor
  • ABS and driveline Traction control
  • Climatic manual air conditioning
  • Front Fog/driving lights
  • Remote keyless entry

SE$34,905 onwards

  • Heated Front Seats
  • V-Tex leatherette Seat trim

SE R-Line$40,140 onwards

  • Blind spot monitor
  • Rear traffic monitor system
  • Remote start
  • Stabilitrak electronic stability control system

SEL$42,425 onwards

  • 2 - 1st row LCD monitor
  • Navigation system
  • Sliding and tilting glass Sunroof

SEL R-Line$44,420 onwards

  • 21-inch machined aluminum Wheels

SEL Premium$47,620 onwards

  • 4Motion w/Active control all wheel Drive type
  • Leather Seat trim
  • Park Distance control w/ Parking assist

SEL Premium R-Line$50,695 onwards

  • 21-inch machined aluminum Wheels


Colors and Styles

2021 Volkswagen Atlas in Aegean Blue Metallic color
Aegean Blue Metallic

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

Both the engines of the 2021 Atlas 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 space, it is 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.


Buying Advice

We suggest going for the 2021 Atlas 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.

Features
7.0/10

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 a 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.

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

Dual-zone automatic climate control

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

R-Line front bumper and badging

Side mirrors w/ memory function

21-inch alloy wheels

Leather upholstery for 1st and 2nd row

21-inch alloy wheels

 

Automatic headlights

Tri-zone automatic climate control

Hands--free liftgate

 

Digital cockpit

R-Line front bumper and badging

Ventilated front seats

R-Line front bumper and badging

 

18-inch alloy wheels

8-inch touchscreen infotainment

Remote start

 

8-inch touchscreen infotainment w/ navigation

 

Fender premium audio system 

 

 

Rain-sensing wipers

Power-adjustable driver’s seats

Adaptive cruise control

 

Volkswagen Car-Net

 

Park assist

 
 

Forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking

V-Tex upholstery

Maneuver braking w/ park distance control

 

Dynamic road sign display

     
 

 

Wireless phone charger

Front and rear parking sensors

 

Traffic jam assist

     

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, 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.

Engine and Performance
6.5/10

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 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. Both the engines are in no way power monsters and the way they accelerate makes it pretty evident.

The 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. 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.

Model

2021 Volkswagen Atlas

2021 Honda Pilot

2021 Chevrolet Traverse

2021 Toyota Highlander

MSRP

$36,945

$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

276 hp @ 6200 rpm

280 hp @ 6000 rpm

310 hp @ 6800 rpm

295 hp @ 6600 rpm

Torque

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

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. The Volkswagen Atlas despite its massive size and above 4,400 pounds curb weight manages to brake from 60-0 mph in just 115 feet.

Fuel Economy
6.5/10

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.

Interior
7.0/10

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.

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. 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.

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

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.

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 interior features include:

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

 

Exterior
6.3/10

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 minorly restyled front and rear ends. 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. 

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 and has a ground clearance of 8-inches. Compared to that the biggest SUV dimension-wise is the Chevrolet Traverse, it is 3.6-inches longer, 0.2-inches wider, 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)
Safety
7.0/10

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. 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)
Competition
6.0/10

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 interior of the Pilot feels much better and more 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 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.

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.

Features

vehicle bio
base price

$42820

body style

4dr SUV

engine type
displacement

121 cu in

horse power

235 hp @ 4500 rpm

torque

258 lb.-ft. @ 1600 rpm

transmission

8 speed Automatic w/Tiptronic

dimensions
length

198.3 in

wheelbase

117.3 in

width

78.3 in

curb weight

4248 lbs

Height

70 in

Ground Clearance

8 lbs

capacity
passenger volume

153.7 cu ft

cargo volume

96.8 cu ft

passenger capacity

5 Seats

fuel economy
city/combined/highway

21/22/24 mpg

highway range

483.6 mi

warranty
basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.


Volkswagen Atlas 5 year Cost To Own


Cash Price(MSRP)
$33,394
5 Year Cost To Own
$53,358
Total 5 year Cost To Own -  $53,358
Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5total
Depreciation$4,068$3,365$3,232$3,793$3,517$17,975
Insurance$1,397$1,447$1,534$1,525$1,653$7,556
Fuel$2,415$2,469$2,533$2,605$2,618$12,640
Maintenance$106$465$585$1,151$1,990$4,297
Repairs$34$-21$7$501$719$1,240
Financing Interest$2,029$1,711$1,200$784$299$6,023
Taxes and Fees$2,784$234$260$153$196$3,627
Total Cost-To-Own$12,833$9,670$9,351$10,512$10,992$53,358
Read more about Cost-To-Own »