Crossover & Midsize

The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Might Be Ready to Compete in a Tough Segment

The SUV market in America is one of the most competitive segments of the industry. Every automaker from far and wide is trying to compete in this segment, and that includes automakers who aren’t known for their SUVs in the first place. Here’s a look at the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas, its new features, and the tough road it has ahead.

What’s new in the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas

The Volkswagen Atlas is just one part of Volkswagen’s grand plan to enter the American SUV market in force. While it has been a respectable car since it first came on American shores, VW, like any other automaker, has been constantly improving on it in hopes of dominating the market.

While VW hasn’t gone all the way and redesigned the Atlas, it has added several new things that many SUV owners will definitely enjoy. Kelley Blue Book said that the 2021 model year of the Atlas has a handful of changes. Cosmetically, it’s received updated front and rear styling, which, while it didn’t really change how it looks, did end up adding 3 inches to the car’s length. 

Kelley Blue Book also said that the 2021 Atlas’ standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine can now be equipped with all-wheel drive. Furthermore, this engine choice is also now available on the more expensive trims.

What’s good about the 2021 VW Atlas

Even though it was designed by VW, it is, like most cars sold in America, built in the U.S., which is something that Kelley Blue Book liked about the new Volkswagen Atlas. That said, Kelley Blue Book also liked the design choices that VW made as Volkswagen gave the car’s interior “a European sensibility.” One of those sensibilities included creating a spacious car. The 2021 Atlas has almost 97 cubic feet of cargo room when its first- and second-row seats are folded down.

And, in terms of safety, VW offers Atlas owners a lot of standard smart safety features. Forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection, and a rear-cross traffic alert system are all standard safety features on the Atlas, and there are more. 

Furthermore, the two engine options are adequate for most families looking to buy an SUV. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is turbocharged, and it gets 235 hp, which, Kelley Blue Book said was actually powerful enough for the Atlas. The other option is a 3.6-liter V6, which gets 276 hp that will give the Atlas more oomph, but it will drag down its fuel economy. The 2.0-liter powertrain gets 22 mpg combined while the 3.6-liter gets about 19 mpg combined. 

On top of that, the addition of the all-wheel-drive option for the 2.0-liter engine makes the Atlas even better for winters than it already was. That said, even when it’s equipped with its powerful 3.6-liter engine and a towing package, the 2021 Atlas can only tow about 5,000 pounds of cargo.

Can the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas compete with others?

Kelley Blue Book mentioned that the Volkswagen Atlas is in a very tough segment. SUVs with third-row seating is a highly competitive segment, even compared to other SUV segments. 

The Atlas is competing with the likes of the Kia Telluride, the Hyundai Palisade, and the Subaru Ascent, and that’s just naming some of the great SUVs in the segment. Indeed, other car review sites, such as Car and Driver, have gone on record and said that there’s nothing wrong with the Telluride. 

But, Kelley Blue Book does mention that the 2021 Atlas has a fighting chance against its foes. For instance, the Telluride has 10 cu. ft. less cargo space than the Atlas does, and at a price tag that starts at $31,500, the VW Atlas is an affordable SUV no matter what.