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For many, road trips are an exciting summer tradition. However, in an uncomfortable vehicle, this otherwise fun event becomes significantly less pleasant. If you’re looking for a comfortable SUV for long rides, check out the Volkswagen Atlas. It made Carfax‘s list of the 10 best road trip cars of 2021. But blatantly missing from the roundup is one of the most popular midsize SUVs, the Honda Pilot.

The Honda Pilot didn’t make the cut on Carfax’s list

In choosing the best vehicles for this list, Carfax considered several factors. Of particular importance is highway fuel economy. However, reliability, seat comfort, high safety ratings, and a pleasant driving experience combine to create a vehicle that’s excellent for road tripping.

In addition to the Volkswagen Atlas, the list includes nine other models. They are the Honda Odyssey, Mazda CX-9, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Telluride, Toyota Highlander, Subaru Outback, Honda Ridgeline, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Ford Mustang GT Convertible. 

The Atlas ranks sixth on Carfax’s list, sitting just behind the Toyota Highlander. It also joins the Kia Telluride, one of its major competitors, in the roundup. However, one of the Atlas’ other big rivals, the Honda Pilot, is conspicuously absent.

What makes the Volkswagen Atlas such a great road trip SUV?


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Several perks make the Volkswagen Atlas an excellent option for road trips, Carfax reports. The Atlas gets 24 mpg on the highway, which translates to about 468 miles between each fill-up. This is excellent for longer trips, as it can save a significant amount of money.

According to Carfax, the Atlas offers a smooth and pleasant ride experience. Its seats are spacious enough for adults to be comfortable even in the second row, and the seating remains comfortable even over long periods of time on the road. However, reviewers note the third row is slightly cramped and will likely be comfortable only for children.

The cabin offers “storage nooks galore,” making it an excellent option for longer road trips. Expect a pocket for cell phones in front of the gear selector and a spacious console between the front seats.

Additionally, Carfax praises the roomy and comfortable interior. This SUV can seat seven and still has room for suitcases. If you want slightly more room, you can opt for captain’s chairs in the second row. However, this will mean the Atlas will seat only six people.

Specs and features of the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas

The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas starts at around $31,555. It features a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that makes 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. A 3.6-liter V6 producing 276 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque is also available.

The Atlas comes with a wide range of standard safety features. They include automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot warning.

Behind the third row, the Atlas offers 20.6 cubic feet of storage space. With the third row folded down, the SUV offers 55.5 cubic feet of space. And with both rows folded, the Atlas boasts an impressive 96.8 cubic feet of space.

All in all, the Volkswagen Atlas offers abundant standard safety features, comfortable seats, and room to spread out. This makes it an excellent option for any road trip. Although SUVs such as the Honda Pilot certainly offer their own advantages, you may want to consider the Atlas if you plan to head off on cross-country adventures.