If you’re looking for a reliable three-row midsize SUV, the Volkswagen Atlas deserves consideration. VW has long been synonymous with safety, and you want the peace of mind that comes with knowing your family is riding in a safe vehicle. The 2021 Atlas also has one significant advantage over other midsize SUVs that might help you decide if it’s the right vehicle for you.
2021 Volkswagen Atlas performance and features
The 2021 Atlas is an affordable choice, with a starting price of only $31,545, MotorTrend reports. It’s also the largest SUV Volkswagen makes. The Atlas is big, with a wheelbase measuring 117.3 inches and a total length of 198.3 inches. Sitting on 20-inch wheels, the Atlas comfortably seats seven and comes in one of eight color choices. Roof racks and trailer hitch extras are also available.
The base-model Atlas also comes packs an eight-speed automatic transmission and a four-cylinder engine producing 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It gets 22 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. There’s also a 3.6-liter V6 model making 276 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. And you can get all-wheel drive with this engine, but your fuel economy will drop to 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, MotorTrend reports.
The base model also comes with a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth integration. Entertainment options grow with higher-level trims. The base model also comes with the Car-Net telematics system to keep you connected to your vehicle.
The Atlas advantage
However, one of the Volkswagen Atlas’s best features is a great perk for families. Its large cabin holds plenty of passengers and cargo. In fact, it offers 20 cubic feet of cargo space with all three rows up — far more than competitors like the Mazda CX-9 (14.4), Toyota Highlander (16), Honda Pilot (16.5), and Subaru Ascent (17.8).
Atlas drivers get 55.5 cubic feet of space with the third row folded down and a whopping 96.8 cubic feet with both the second and third rows down. This far surpasses the CX-9’s total of 71.2 cubic feet and other competitors in its class.
With this much cargo room, an Atlas-riding family can take practically whatever they want on their next road trip or vacation fairly easily. And even with all three rows occupied, there’s plenty of space for luggage and passengers. Indeed, even the back row seats adults comfortably — and third-row-seating comfort is hit-or-miss in this segment. And with plenty of legroom for passengers and space for luggage and equipment, the Atlas is tailor-made for a family’s next camping, beach, or cross-country trip.
Other family-friendly bona fides
But space isn’t the Volkswagen Atlas’ only family-friendly feature. The standard model boasts various advanced safety features to make the ride smooth and safe. Rear cross-traffic alerts, forward collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and a rearview camera come standard.
The Atlas also received a perfect 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and top scores in six crashworthiness tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. And though size isn’t a true measure of safety, it stands to reason the Atlas’s sheer bulk might help reduce the risk of injury in an accident.
Finally, if you opt for a higher trim level, you’ll get more entertainment options and technology. The Atlas SEL Premium boasts a 12-speaker premium audio system, ambient interior lighting, and heated leather-upholstered seats, among other features. Even if you opt for a lower-level trim, the Atlas provides more than enough amenities for you to transport your family in comfort and style. And with plenty of cargo space, you’ll be able to take whatever you need with you.