The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Updates Are Only Skin Deep

The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas got a brand new face, and that’s about it. However, the Volkswagen Atlas has a few strengths that didn’t need to be updated quite yet. Check out the new face and strengths that the Atlas brings to the table. 

The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas has a better look 

The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas got a refreshed face to help improve sales. According to, the old look it had from 2018 – 2020 was found to be blocky and too busy. Now the visual tweaks created a more attractive ride. 

2021 Volkswagen Atlas on country road
2021 Volkswagen Atlas | Volkswagen

With this refresh, the Volkswagen Atlas gained more rounded elements upfront, giving it a more similar look to the Atlas Cross Sport. The old cheese-grater crossbars on the grille were replaced with a more simple design. 

The grille bars extend into the headlights with a curvier frame giving it a less blocky look. The bumper cladding was also reduced for a less prominent look while the available R-Line trims gained larger outboard openings. However, the VW Atlas still looks boxy from behind. 

How does the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas drive? 

The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas has the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that provides 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. There is also the optional 3.6-liter V6 engine that pumps out 276 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. 

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While the base engine used to only be available in FWD drive, now you can pair with all-wheel-drive. But keep in mind that AWD could decrease the fuel economy as it makes the SUV heavier. 

Also, the V6 engine isn’t found to be super quick. The 8-speed automatic transmission is a little slow, making it more difficult to pass people on the highway. CarIndigo found that it takes the VW Atlas about 7.2 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph, which is pretty sporty. 

2021 Volkswagen Atlas driving on curvy roads
2021 Volkswagen Atlas | Volkswagen

With the V6 engine, the Volkswagen Atlas can tow up to 5,000 lb, which is a fair amount for its class. also notes that the Volkswagen Atlas performs well with heavier loads, so maybe trading speed for ability is fair. 

How is the 2021 Volkswagen interior? 

The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas did receive a few tech updates. It added Traffic Jam Assist, which is lane-centering steering. That’s about it for new features, but the 2021.5 Volkswagen Atlas will have Travel Assist to sense your hands on the steering wheel. 

2021 Volkswagen Atlas
2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Aside from a slightly updated steering wheel, the interior remains the same. The quality still feels cheap with the use of grainy-looking plastics and low quality feeling buttons and knobs in the dash. 

The base model comes with a 6.5-inch infotainment center while higher trim levels get an 8-inch screen. It includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but the upcoming 2021.5 Atlas will have wireless capabilities for these services. 

On a positive note, the Volkswagen Atlas is considered to be very comfortable. The seats in the second row are large and accommodating for adults. You can also opt for captain chairs in the second row. The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas begins around $31,545.