autoevolution

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Review

CAR SIZE: mid-size
BODY TYPE: SUV
It’s been only two years since German carmaker Volkswagen introduced the Atlas to the American market, and already a facelift for the model is brewing in Chattanooga.
102 photos
2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport2021 Volkswagen Atlas Refresh Revealed, Looks Like Atlas Cross Sport
At the Chicago Auto Show in the early days of February 2020, VW introduced the revised variant of the Atlas, an evolution of the first car developed specifically with North America in mind, a refreshed version that came to be thanks to the recent launch of the Atlas Cross Sport five-seater variant.

The changes prepared for the model are not at all extensive, but they can be considered effective. Volkswagen has brought to the table the same design language of the new five-seater introduced in January, has updated the engine offering, and revised a bit the range of technology features available.

1Exterior design & features

Design-wise, the changes are meant to bring the Atlas into the new decade. The car rides on the same underpinnings as before, and nothing has changed in this respect, but it does seem a bit longer – by 3 inches – thanks to the revised design of the front and rear bumpers. 

At the front, the car borrows the same three-bar grille extending into the front light signature that is featured on the Cross Sport. Also, the headlights have been redrawn – and the taillights, too – and now include LED technology as standard. 

By far the most spectacular incarnation of the Atlas is the R-line trim. When specified as such, the car comes equipped with a unique bumper and side skirts, rides on 20- or 21-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and sports R-line badging throughout.

2Interior design, features
and passenger space

The interior of the seven-seater seems to have changed the least with this new facelift. Each piece of hardware is in the same place as before, the materials are the same, and so are the colors. 

A close look inside however reveals a new steering wheel design, and we are also promised new optional contrast-stitching on the leather seating surfaces and door trim. The rest of the changes, limited as they are, pertain to the availability of the infotainment system.

3Gadgets

For the facelift Atlas, Volkswagen decided to offer an 8-inch infotainment screen on all models, with the exception of the entry-level S. 

The list of optional extras remains the same as before, and it starts with the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit. Equally optional are the Fender audio system, ambient lighting, 3-zone Climatronic, and remote start.

Operating an Atlas is backed by the Car-Net telematics system that comes with an updated mobile app, a series of services included for free for up to five years.

The car also comes with 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity that can support up to four devices at the same time.

4Performance

Engine-wise, the new Atlas comes with a choice of only two engines, at least for now. There is a V6 that develops 276 hp, and a four-cylinder that cranks out 235 hp. Both engines are linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and can be paired with the carmaker’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive.

The family SUV can tow as much as 5,000 pounds when equipped with the V6 towing package.

5Safety

Being one of the newest nameplates on the market, the Atlas is subsequently packed with safety systems. Aside from the huge range of mandatory hardware, the car also comes with one of the most comprehensive offerings in terms of ADAS.

The assistance technologies include things like collision warning, emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and blind spot monitor. 

As far as driving goes, the owner’s job is aided by adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and dynamic road sign display.

6Conclusion

Since its introduction on the American market in 2017, the Atlas managed to prove its worth. Sales grew steadily from nearly 30,000 in the first year to over 80,000 in 2019, giving Volkswagen enough reasons to launch the Cross Sport, and now the facelift for the model. 

The new version of the Atlas will hit the market this spring, with pricing starting from $31,545.