Is the Volkswagen Atlas Really a Better Family Car Than the Chrysler Pacifica?

The minivan is the ultimate family car, right? Well, it actually looks like SUV sales have officially taken over the family segment. In fact, some critics think the Volkswagen Atlas is an even better family car than the Chrysler Pacifica.

What is the best car for families? 

A black 2021 Volkswagen Atlas midsize SUV parked in front of mountains underneath a purple and orange sky
2021 Volkswagen Atlas | Volkswagen of America, Inc. Newspress Limited

For shoppers in the market for a family car there are a lot of things to consider. The number of passengers families expect to accommodate on a regular basis obviously comes into play. Cargo space for gear is also an important factor. Plus, families may need to check car seat compatibility.

On top of that, families typically want to actually like the car they end up in. The minivan stigma is no secret, but some people think that new models like the Chrysler Pacifica and all-new Toyota Sienna might change the game and encourage more families to turn from the ever-popular SUV. According to Cars.com, however, the Volkswagen Atlas reigns supreme over the Pacifica minivan. 

The Cars.com Family Car of the Year Award 

2021 Chrysler Pacifica parked
2021 Chrysler Pacifica | Stellantis

Each year, Cars.com dishes out several awards. The Family Car of the Year Award is one of such awards the website bestows upon deserving models. In 2018 and 2019, the Chrysler Pacifica held the family car title for minivans everywhere by gleaning the award. 

Up against the Pacifica in 2018 and 2019 were the Honda Ridgeline and the Subaru Outback. So it’s pretty clear to see that Cars.com is looking for diversity when it comes to the best family car. Then in 2019, the trend continued with the Chrysler Pacifica taking the award again; it was up against the Ford Expedition and the Volkswagen Atlas were the other contenders for the award this time. 

The following year, the Family Car of the Year Award for 2020 passed on from the Chrysler Pacifica to the Volkswagen Atlas. The Ford Expedition and the Hyundai Santa Fe were the other nominees in 2020. Then this year, up against the Ford Expedition and the Kia Telluride, the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas took the win again. 

So, yes. According to Cars.com the Volkswagen Atlas is really better than the Chrysler Pacifica.

Is the Volkswagen Atlas better than a minivan? 

An image of a Volkswagen Atlas, one of the most discounted new SUVs according to Consumer Reports.
Volkswagen Atlas | Volkswagen

According to Cars.com, the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas is better than any car, truck, SUV, or minivan when it comes to family-friendly accoutrements. For the 2021 model year, the Atlas gets a refresh that adds some updated design components. Plus, new assistance features like lane-centering are added. 

“Three-row mid-size SUVs have become the de facto standard of today’s families, even if minivans edge them out for absolute practicality. If the family car is indeed an SUV, then, it’s a good thing families have choices like the Volkswagen Atlas.”

Cars.com

Overall, Cars.com tells us that the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas SUV took the title again based on its execution of family-oriented fundamentals. The award “emphasizes seating accommodations, storage space and overall practicality.” These qualities are certainly found in several other models, but stand out especially for the Atlas compared with competitors.