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Since its rollout, the Volkswagen Atlas has been a formidable competitor in the midsize SUV segment. According to, the German automotive giant sold over 80,000 of the Chattanooga-built three-row SUVs in 2020. Is the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas a premium pick for families, especially on the used market?

The 2020 Volkswagen Atlas performance specs

A white 2020 Volkswagen Atlas parked near water.
2020 Volkswagen Atlas | Volkswagen

The Atlas is a handsome, large-bodied brute, with 96.8 cubic feet of interior storage space with both rear rows down, which fold flat to make an optimal cargo floor. With three rows of seating, the Atlas fits seven adults comfortably, even in the third row. 

Volkswagen was generous with interior cubby holes in the Atlas, particularly with cup holders. The Atlas has enough for third in class with 17. 

If you’re looking for performance, you’ll get some, but only some. The 2020 Volkswagen Atlas comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 with 235 hp and front-wheel drive (FWD) or the 276 hp 3.6-liter VR6 and Volkswagen’s refined 4Motion all-wheel drive (AWD), with both configurations mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Atlas may not satisfy if you’re looking for great gas mileage. Tipping the scale at just over 4,500 pounds, the 2.0-liter will warrant 20 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, whereas the slightly more enthusiastic six-cylinder will eke out 16 and 22 mpg, respectively. Yet, that’s the cost of hauling around more than 96 cu. ft of necessities.

2020 Volkswagen Atlas trim levels

Volkswagen’s 2020 Atlas is available in seven trim levels. The mighty VR6 is standard in the higher-end levels but available as an option for all.

  • Volkswagen Atlas S: The entry-level model comes standard with a cornucopia of tech and safety features like a rearview camera, post-collision braking system, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and pedestrian detection. It also includes a 6.5-inch infotainment system supporting Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, and VW’s new Car-Net Internet connectivity apparatus, all of which are user-friendly, U.S. News reports
  • Volkswagen Atlas SE: The SE gains an 8-inch infotainment system, V-Tex synthetic leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, and proximity keyless entry
  • Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology: In addition to a remote start, second-row captain’s chairs, and larger alloy wheels, the SE with Technology has more safety features, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and lane departure warning
  • Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology R-Line: The Technology with R-Line features front and rear parking sensors, a hands-free power liftgate, and distinguishing R-Line styling details
  • Volkswagen Atlas SEL: Adding a power-adjustable front passenger seat, SEL models are more driver-focused with a heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, and the 10-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit
  • Volkswagen Atlas SEL R-Line: This trim is identical to the SEL apart from the standard V6 engine and the R-Line’s styling cues.
  • Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium: Leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a 360-degree camera, and a 12-speaker Fender stereo system round out the top-of-the-line Atlas model

The 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport 

Those who want a two-row midsize SUV and still want the Atlas’ great looks can opt for the Atlas Cross Sport, a 2020 lineup addition. Although it’s a few inches shorter than the Atlas, it has the same trim options and engine configurations, boasting much more interior space than its baby brother Tiguan, while appearing like a budget Audi Q8. Moreover, the Atlas Cross Sport has an additional trim level, the SEL Premium R-Line, J.D. Power reports.

What consumers thought about the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas 

Judging the continuously increasing sales numbers of the Volkswagen Atlas, consumers loved the 2020 model. According to CarComplaints, only one consumer complaint was registered for a 2020 Atlas—the HVAC system.

Compared to the 60 complaints registered for the 2018 model year, the 2020 Atlas pleases well. While car reviewers may fault the Atlas for its lackluster performance, it delivers adequate power smoothly.

How much is a used 2020 Volkswagen Atlas?

Nationwide listings on Autotrader show Volkswagen Atlas prices around the $30,000-$32,000 range with very low miles; this is for Atlas S models. Cross Sport SEL Premium models are in the mid-$40,000 to low $50,000 range at the other end of the spectrum. Based on the trim level equipment and the V6 to haul around the Atlas’ size, buyers should look for an SE with low miles in the high $30,000 range.

Should you buy a 2020 Volkswagen Atlas?

The new Atlas has only a few subtle changes like a slightly different steering wheel and the incorporation of fog lights into the headlight assembly. Consumer Reports stated that 2020 Atlas owners should be aware of a recall on the front door wiring harnesses, but these are fixed free of charge by Volkswagen dealers. Nevertheless, with few safety and tech updates, a used 2020 Volkswagen Atlas can serve as an ideal solution for family transportation.


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