2023 Toyota Highlander Beats the 2023 VW Atlas: SUV Showdown!

The Toyota Highlander is a leading choice for the midsize SUV segment. One of its competitors is the Volkswagen Atlas. Check out this 2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 VW Atlas analysis to see how the two SUVs compare. With its many advantages, the Highlander beats the Atlas. 

2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Volkswagen Atlas

Front angle view of Wind Chill Pearl 2023 Toyota Highlander
Wind Chill Pearl 2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

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

Highlander vs. Atlas: Performance and gas mileage

Front angle view of Tourmaline Blue Metallic 2023 Volkswagen Atlas midsize SUV, highlighting its release date and price
Tourmaline Blue Metallic 2023 VW Atlas | Volkswagen

For performance, the 2023 Toyota Highlander offers two engine options: a turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four (265 horsepower) and a hybrid (243 horsepower). Likewise, the 2023 Volkswagen Atlas also offers two engine options, but not a hybrid: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (235 horsepower) and a 3.6-liter V-6 (276 horsepower). The Highlander has a higher base-engine horsepower, but the Atlas has a higher maximum horsepower.

For efficiency, though, the Highlander has a clear advantage, especially for the hybrid model. It has an estimated gas mileage of up to 24 combined mpg for the fully gas-powered model and 36 combined mpg for the Highlander Hybrid. In comparison, the Atlas has an estimated fuel economy of up to 23 combined mpg. 

Highlander vs. Atlas: Towing

The Highlander and Atlas are evenly matched for towing. When properly equipped, the SUVs can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Highlander vs. Atlas: Off-road capabilities

Both SUVs offer a traction-enhancing all-wheel drive system, but the Highlander is the better choice for off-road use. This is because it has higher ground clearance than the Atlas (up to 8.0 vs. 7.1 inches).

Highlander vs. Atlas: Safety

On the safety front, the Highlander has the advantage. Unlike the Atlas, for the previous model year, it earned the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award. Given that both SUVs are carryover models, the IIHS ratings will likely be similar for the 2023 model year. 

Highlander vs. Atlas: Passenger and cargo space

The 2023 Atlas is slightly bigger than the 2023 Highlander, resulting in more interior space. It has a total passenger volume of 154 cu-ft and a maximum cargo capacity of 96.8 cu-ft. In comparison, the Highlander has a total passenger volume of 141.3 cu-ft and a maximum cargo capacity of 84.3 cu-ft. However, while the Atlas has a seven-passenger seating capacity, the Highlander can seat up to eight people.

Highlander vs. Atlas: Warranty coverage

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For warranty coverage, the Atlas offers a more generous basic warranty, but the powertrain warranty is more generous for Highlander. The Highlander has a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. In comparison, the Atlas has a 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a 4-year/50,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Also, the Highlander is considerably more reliable than the Atlas. It earned a J.D. Power reliability rating of 82/100, compared to 70/100 for the Atlas. 

Highlander vs. Atlas: Price

Which midsize SUV costs more: the 2023 Highlander or the 2023 Atlas? The full price information is not yet available for either model, but we do know that the starting price of the 2023 Atlas is $34,600 MSRP. Also, the 2023 Highlander will likely cost slightly more than the 2022 Highlander, which has a starting price of $35,855 MSRP.

2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 VW Atlas: Which midsize SUV is better?

In this 2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 VW Atlas midsize SUV comparison, the 2023 Highlander has most of the advantages. This includes advantages for base-engine horsepower, gas mileage, off-road capabilities, safety, seating capacity, powertrain warranty, and reliability. Conversely, the 2023 Atlas has advantages for maximum horsepower, basic warranty coverage, and a lower base price. 

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