2023 Ford Explorer Beats 2023 VW Atlas in 7 Ways

Two popular choices for the midsize SUV segment are the 2023 Ford Explorer and the 2023 Volkswagen Atlas. See how the two SUVs measure up in this 2023 Ford Explorer vs. 2023 VW Atlas comparison. With its abundance of advantages, the Explorer beats the Atlas in seven ways. 

2023 Ford Explorer vs. 2023 Volkswagen Atlas

Front angle view of Rapid Red 2023 Ford Explorer midsize SUV
Rapid Red 2023 Ford Explorer | Ford

In this 2023 Ford Explorer vs. 2023 VW Atlas midsize SUV comparison, we evaluated multiple areas. This includes performance, gas mileage, towing, off-road capabilities, safety, passenger and cargo space, warranty coverage, reliability, and price.

Explorer vs. Atlas: Performance

Front angle view of Tourmaline Blue Metallic 2023 VW Atlas midsize SUV
Tourmaline Blue Metallic 2023 VW Atlas midsize SUV | Volkswagen

The 2023 Ford Explorer has the advantage for performance with its more powerful engine options. This includes a 2.3-liter EcoBoost I-4 (300 horsepower), a 3.3-liter V-6 hybrid (318 horsepower), and a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V-6 (400 horsepower).

In comparison, the 2023 Volkswagen Atlas offers two engine options: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (235 horsepower) and a 3.6-liter V-6 (276 horsepower).

Explorer vs. Atlas: Gas mileage

The Explorer is more efficient than the Atlas. The fully gas-powered Explorer has an estimated fuel economy of up to 24 combined mpg, while the Explorer Hybrid has a gas mileage of up to 27 combined mpg. In comparison, the Atlas has an estimated fuel economy of up to 23 combined mpg. 

Explorer vs. Atlas: Towing

For towing, the 2023 Explorer has the edge. It can tow up to 5,600 pounds, compared to 5,000 pounds for the 2023 Atlas. 

Explorer vs. Atlas: Off-road capabilities

If you’re aiming for some off-road adventures, then the Explorer is the better SUV for you. For one, the four-wheel drive system offered for the Explorer is more effective at driving over challenging terrain than the all-wheel drive system for the Atlas. Secondly, the Explorer has higher ground clearance than the Atlas (up to 8.7 vs. 8.0 inches). And thirdly, unlike the Atlas, the Explorer has an off-road model with the Timberline trim.

Explorer vs. Atlas: Safety

Given its history, the Explorer has the advantage for safety. For the previous model year, the Explorer earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, which is the highest possible IIHS rating. However, the Atlas didn’t receive any safety award from IIHS. 

Explorer vs. Atlas: Passenger and cargo space

The 2023 Atlas is bigger than the 2023 Explorer, resulting in more interior space. It provides a total passenger volume of 154 cu-ft and a maximum cargo capacity of 96.8 cu-ft. In comparison, the Explorer has a total passenger volume of 152.7 cu-ft and a maximum cargo capacity of 87.8 cu-ft.

Explorer vs. Atlas: Warranty coverage and reliability

For warranty coverage, the Explorer has a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty, compared to a 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a 4-year/50,000-mile powertrain warranty for the Atlas. Also, unlike the Explorer, the Atlas offers a free maintenance plan, with two years or 20,000 miles of coverage. 

However, the Explorer is more reliable than the Atlas. It earned a J.D. Power reliability rating of 83/100, compared to 72/100 for the Atlas. 

Explorer vs. Atlas: Price

Which midsize SUV costs more: the 2023 Explorer or the 2023 Atlas? The starting price of the 2023 Explorer ranges from $36,760 MSRP for the Base trim up to $54,130 MSRP for the King Ranch trim. In comparison, the starting price of the 2023 Atlas ranges from $34,600 MSRP for the SE trim up to $51,790 MSRP for the SEL Premium R-Line trim.

2023 Ford Explorer vs. 2023 VW Atlas: Which midsize SUV is better?

In this 2023 Ford Explorer vs. 2023 VW Atlas midsize SUV comparison, the 2023 Explorer has seven advantages. This includes advantages for performance, gas mileage, towing, off-road capabilities, safety, powertrain warranty coverage, and reliability. Conversely, the 2023 Atlas has advantages for interior space, a free maintenance plan, and a lower price. 

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