Volkswagen Is Responsible for the Slowest Midsize SUV of 2021

Do you remember the old fable about the race between the tortoise and the hare? Well, it turns out the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas and Atlas Cross could play the tortoise in that story. Yep, they’re that slow compared with the fastest midsize sport utility vehicle on Consumer Reports‘ SUV rating list.

The Chevy Blazer took the honors as the fastest SUV on CR’s list. It did 0 to 60 mph in a speedy 6.4 seconds. The Volkswagen Atlas and Atlas Cross took a leisurely 8.7 seconds during the same test. That ties them with the Hyundai Santa Fe as the slowest midsize SUVs tested. 

2021 Volkswagen Atlas and Atlas Cross: Overall rankings

If comfort and safety are more important to you than speed, you might want to consider one of these Volkswagen models. The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport received an overall score of 64, while the Atlas received a 57. They both earned their highest scores during the road test, with the Atlas outperforming the Atlas Cross Sport 84 to 81. They also received fairly good scores in routine handling, ride quality, and ride quietness.

You might not care about how quickly it can reach 60 mph. After all, it’s just a matter of a few extra seconds over the course of a ride. Comfort, quietness, and handling, however, can affect your enjoyment of the entire ride.

The SUVs with the highest and lowest overall scores

The 2021 Kia Telluride received the highest overall rating with a stellar score of 97. The lowest score went to the 2021 Jeep Wrangler. It received an embarrassingly low 29. These ratings weren’t just at the extreme ends of midsize SUV scores — they were the highest and lowest among the 138 SUVs of all sizes on Consumer Reports’ list.

Where the Volkswagen Atlas fails miserably

The predicted reliability of these two SUVs is definitely their downfall. The Atlas Cross received a poor score, while the Volkswagen Atlas did even worse. It received the poorest possible score. These two definitely didn’t make CR’s list of the most reliable new midsized SUVs.

So, how does Consumer Reports judge a new vehicle’s reliability? It tallies responses to the auto surveys it sends out to all CR members each year. In 2020, the Consumer Reports car reliability survey included information covering approximately 329,000 vehicles. 

The information from those surveys is used to create a Reliability History chart. The chart covers 17 vehicle components, weighing each according to how likely it is to take the vehicle out of service and how expensive it is to repair.

Those scores indicate that quite a few Volkswagen Atlas owners are unhappy.

What the 2021 Atlas gets right


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According to, the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas tops the list of the best family vehicles. That means Volkswagen must be doing something right. Besides a comfortable ride, these three-row SUVs feature plenty of space (the staff called the interior “cavernous”), room for multiple car seats, and plenty of comfort during even the longest road trips. VW’s Car-Net 2.0 infotainment system even includes a Wi-Fi hotspot to keep everyone entertained as the miles roll by.

It’s also a safe vehicle to haul your family. Many safety features are standard, while advanced safety features are available as options. The standard driver-assist features include forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alerts, and blind-spot monitoring.

If you prefer a safe, steady, tortoise-like ride — and you have a reliable mechanic on speed dial — you might want to take a look at the family-friendly Volkswagen Atlas.