The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas could put on a German badge however its tackle crossover SUVs is distinctly American: more room, extra room, and extra type is what’s on provide right here.
After introducing the Cross Sport variant final yr, Volkswagen has gone forward with a slight facelift on the standard three-row Atlas in an effort to carry it in keeping with its two-row sibling. The brand new seems to be embody a smoothed-out fascia, revised grille, and redesigned bumpers. This yr marks the primary time consumers are capable of get all-wheel drive with the 4-cylinder mannequin.
About that 4-cylinder: it’s a 2.0-liter turbo-4 making 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque and is paired to an 8-speed computerized transmission. Skip the newly non-obligatory all-wheel drive and energy is routed to the entrance wheels.
The opposite choice is a 276-hp 3.6-liter V-6. It too will get the 8-speed computerized and affords a alternative between front- and all-wheel drive. Just like the 4-cylinder, it’s out there with each the Atlas and the Atlas Cross Sport.
When geared up with the turbo-4, the Atlas charges 20 mpg metropolis, 24 freeway, 22 mixed with front-wheel drive or 18/23/20 mpg with all-wheel drive. Stepping as much as the V-6 nets fuel economic system of 17/23/19 mpg. Choosing all-wheel drive reduces that barely to 16/22/18 mpg. These figures are an identical for each Atlas physique types.
Each Atlas is supplied with computerized emergency braking and blind-spot displays. Non-compulsory gear consists of adaptive cruise management, energetic lane management, and a surround-view digital camera system. The non-obligatory traffic-jam assistant can routinely steer, brake, and speed up the Atlas at speeds slower than 35 mph, although drivers should proceed to maintain maintain of the wheel.
The NHTSA awarded the Atlas a five-star total rating for crashworthiness. The IIHS gave it their highest score of “Good” throughout all their battery of crash checks.
The Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport share the identical trim ranges and comparable standard gear however differ barely in price, with the Cross Sport being the marginally cheaper of the 2. Each provide 4- and 6-cylinder engines with a alternative of front- or all-wheel drive.
The most affordable Atlas is the bottom Cross Sport S, which begins at $31,565 after vacation spot; the most affordable three-row Atlas S begins at $32,750. Customary (*32*) embody material upholstery, a 6.5-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone local weather management, one USB port up entrance, 18-inch alloy wheels, and aforementioned energetic safety (*32*).
The SE is priced at $35,915 for Cross Sport fashions and $36,100 for the three-row Atlas. The SE brings about three further USB ports, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, tri-zone local weather management, a 10-way energy driver’s seat, heated entrance seats, wi-fi charging, and artificial leather-based upholstery.
The SEL begins at $43,315 or $43,915 for Atlas Cross Sport or Atlas, respectively. SEL fashions get a panoramic roof, absolutely digital instrumentation, 20-inch wheels, navigation, a hands-free tailgate, and reminiscence capabilities for the motive force’s seat and exterior mirrors. Energetic-safety (*32*) equivalent to adaptive cruise management, energetic lane management, computerized excessive beams, and parking sensors are additionally standard at this price level.
The Atlas has a blocky form that doesn’t instantly register with acquainted concepts of Volkswagen. It’s good-looking however not daring, clear however not trendy.
The Atlas Cross Sport isn’t fairly so intent to mix in. The 2-row model retains the identical chunky decrease physique as its larger brother however adopts a a lot racier roofline and trims the rear overhang. These are pretty easy tweaks however they go a great distance in conveying a way of swagger.
VW constructed the Atlas to maximise usability and effectivity, and the interior adopted that maxim as properly. You gained’t discover resplendent supplies or intelligent and chic design right here; the cabin skews in direction of the basic with easy supplies protecting a sensible and unfussy structure. The Atlas is about perform, not kind, to an extent that surpasses most different mass-market three-row crossovers.
The dearth of pizzazz doesn’t diminish the practicality of the Atlas’s interior, nevertheless. Large home windows and a low-set dashboard gives an ethereal cabin and wonderful outward imaginative and prescient. Controls are well-placed and shortly turn out to be second nature.The seats are comfy and swathed in sturdy material or artificial leather-based upholstery.
VW carved loads of area out of the cabin, a lot in order that the three-row Atlas is among the roomiest choices in the marketplace by passenger quantity. Third-row leg room measures in at a comparatively large 33.7 inches—a determine akin to what’s provided within the large Chevrolet Suburban—and the second row affords a formidable 40.4 inches of leg room. Whole cargo area is almost 97 cubic ft, which makes the Atlas a front-runner amongst three-row crossovers.
The Atlas Cross Sport sacrifices this roominess for type factors. In addition to axing the third row, the Cross Sport sees complete cargo quantity fall to 78 cubic ft. Behind the second row there may be 40 cubic ft of baggage area, which is properly beneath the 55.8 cubes discovered within the hatch of the three-row mannequin. The second-row leg room doesn’t change between Atlas fashions.
The Atlas doesn’t have a lot hassle smothering bumps and imperfections on a straight highway. The steering is completely appropriate for the kind of driving the Atlas will encounter. It’s gentle and direct, and that makes it simple to direct the large Atlas by means of tight streets or parking tons.
Each Atlas fashions present a alternative between turbo-4 or V-6 energy. On the face of it, the 276-hp V-6 seems to be like the higher alternative, however from behind the wheel we discovered it exhausting to inform which engine was below the hood. The turbo-4 retains the price level decrease and doesn’t really feel considerably slower than the bigger engine. Preserve acceleration at a extra average tempo and it strikes the two-ton Atlas round with out a lot criticism.
Each engines pair to an 8-speed computerized that shifts with a quiet, unobtrusive competence. All-wheel drive is non-obligatory with each engines; front-wheel drive is standard. Except we have been residing in a snowy clime, we might keep away from springing for the all-wheel drive. It prices an additional $1,900, provides weight, and doesn’t do a lot for dry efficiency.
The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas isn’t essentially the most trendy or luxurious three-row crossover, however it’s fairly priced and extremely spacious, two qualities that alone make this huge VW properly value a glance. We might select an SE with the turbo-4 and front-wheel drive if our winter apparel didn’t embody snow boots and parkas; those that are all too conversant in chilly climates could do higher with a V-6 and all-wheel drive.
—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Automotive Connection
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