The 2024 Volkswagen Atlas Is Beaten by the 2024 Kia Telluride in 1 Surprising Way
The Volkswagen Atlas has been completely refreshed for the 2024 model year. As such, it is now a more appealing prospect in the competitive midsize three-row SUV class, where it competes with the highly touted Kia Telluride. Despite the bonafides of the expansive Atlas, the Telluride has one surprising advantage over the updated Volkswagen.
Comparing the 2024 Volkswagen Atlas and Kia Telluride
On paper, the VW Atlas’ updates for the 2024 model year make it a far better competitor against the Telluride, which continues to be heralded by both consumers and critics.
The 2024 Volkswagen Atlas starts at $37,725 MSRP and sports a revised and handsome exterior. Inside, cabin materials have been upgraded, and there are a host of new standard features, including a 12-inch touchscreen, heated steering wheel, and ventilated front seats.
VW has dismissed the previously standard four-cylinder engine and optional V6 of the prior model. All Atlas models are now motivated by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four delivering 269 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard on all models with all-wheel drive available, save for the Peak Edition all-terrain-tailored trims that get standard AWD.
The 2024 Kia Telluride is more affordable, with a base price of $35,990 MSRP. Like the Atlas, it comes with either front- or all-wheel drive with an eight-speed automatic transmission. One notable difference is the Kia is fitted with a naturally aspirated V6, delivering 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, 22 more horses but slightly less torque than the Atlas.
The Telluride’s notable advantage over the VW Atlas
The ability to move plenty of passengers is a hallmark of the midsize three-row SUV class. In that regard, the Kia has a significant advantage over the refreshed Volkswagen Atlas.
The 2024 Kia Telluride can haul up to eight passengers with a second-row 60/40-split folding bench in the base LX and mid-level EX trims. All other models are fitted with second-row captain’s chairs for a seven-passenger capacity. The Atlas, meanwhile, is strictly a seven-seater — second-row captain’s chairs are fitted across the range of six available trims.
That extra seat is a boon for those hauling families or most of the starting lineup of a kid’s soccer team. To boot, the Telluride offers more passenger space than the Atlas in the second and third rows, including 3.6 more inches of second-row legroom and a notable 4.4 inches of additional rear-row legroom.
The updated Atlas has its advantages over the Telluride
Though the 2024 Kia Telluride holds the edge in passenger accommodation, base price, and towing (the Telluride can haul up to 5,500 pounds to the VW’s 5,000 lbs.), the updated 2024 Volkswagen Atlas has its own share of advantages.
Front-wheel drive VW Atlas models are rated for 23 combined mpg (20 city/27 highway) by the EPA, 1 mpg better than what’s returned from a FWD Telluride. All-wheel drive models lower those figures to 18 city, 24 highway, and 20 combined mpg and match evenly with the Kia.
The Telluride can haul more passengers, but the Atlas is far more accommodating for overall cargo capabilities. The Telluride’s cargo area is slightly more spacious behind the third row at 21 cubic feet versus the 20.6 of the Atlas, but the VW holds a significant advantage behind the first and second rows. The Atlas delivers 55.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row, nearly 10 cubic feet more than the Telluride, and a massive 96.8 cubic feet behind the front seats, again, almost 10 cubic feet more than the Kia.
The Atlas’ turbocharged inline-four also delivers slightly more torque, making it feel peppier around town than the Telluride’s naturally aspirated V6.
Both SUVs are well-equipped in their base trims. Still, the Atlas also offers some appealing features as standard, like a 10-way adjustable power driver’s seat (the Telluride’s moves manually), wireless charging, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, and tri-zone automatic climate control.