In three years, more than 170,000 Volkswagen Atlas sport utility vehicles have joined American families as the kids-and-stuff hauler of choice. With up to seven adult-sized seats, 17 cupholders and more cargo room than almost all of its competitors (96.8 cubic feet with second and third-row seats folded, to be exact), the Atlas has proven itself as a compelling family companion.
In the past, that might have been good enough for a three-year-old vehicle, but not in today’s market. Instead, Volkswagen today revealed a refreshed Atlas, based on Volkswagen’s understanding of what Americans want in their SUVs.
“This refreshed model brings all the functionality of the previous model, and ups the ante with new technology and more style,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.
If you’ve seen the all-new Atlas Cross Sport, the new face of the Atlas will look familiar. The standard LED headlights, grille and bumper all adopt a similar theme, while the rear of the Atlas also gets redesigned LED taillights. On higher trims, the Atlas daytime running lights have a new two-line look; a new all-weather lamp takes the place of separate fog lamps, and a new dynamic range control and cornering system allows them to turn with the direction of the vehicle and automate high-to-low beams.
Under the sheet metal, the 2021 Atlas arrives with a plethora of available new technology and advanced driver-assistance features. The Lane Assist feature has been updated to help keep the Atlas stable within a lane, while the new Traffic Jam Assist helps maintain the following distance to the vehicle ahead, from a full stop in traffic up to 37 mph. If traffic starts moving again within three seconds, the system restarts the vehicle into the flow. If the stop is longer than three seconds, the driver can start things off again by tapping the gas pedal or the “Resume” button on the steering wheel. Meanwhile, Dynamic Road Sign Display can display select key road data like speed limits in the on-board navigation system.
Standard Driver Assistance features on all Atlas models include: Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Braking (Front Assist), Blind Spot Monitoring, and Rear Traffic Alert. Higher trims add features such as Adaptive Cruise Control and Park Assist, which can automatically ease the Atlas into parallel and perpendicular parking spaces.
As with most new Volkswagens, the 2021 Atlas will arrive with the new Car-Net® with available Wi-Fi hotspot as standard equipment, with a long list of no-charge services for five years, and new subscription options. The interior has been reworked with a stylish new steering wheel and updated colors. To help keep everyone entertained, there’s now up to five available USB ports for charging in the first and second row.
Power choices for the Atlas remain either the 276-horsepower VR6 or the 235-hp (achieved with premium fuel) four-cylinder turbo, now available on all trims. Both engines pair with an eight-speed automatic transmission and are available with Volkswagen’s 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system (which had not been previously available with the four-cylinder engine). The V6 is rated at 5,000 pounds for towing, when equipped with the V6 Towing package.
Most importantly, the smart features that make the Atlas so welcoming — like holding three child seats in the second row — remain for 2021. If you need a three-row SUV, the Atlas might be your most versatile choice.
Driver Assistance features are not substitutes for attentive driving. See Owner’s Manual for further details and important limitations.
VW Car-Net is available on most MY20 and newer vehicles. Always pay careful attention to the road and do not drive while distracted. Certain services require trial or paid subscriptions, which may have their own terms and conditions. VW Car-Net requires vehicle cellular connectivity and availability of vehicle GPS signal, and not all services and features are available on all vehicles. Certain Car-Net services, such as Roadside Call Assist, connect out to 3rd party providers that may require additional payment. Standard text and data rates may apply for app and web features. Certain services may collect location and vehicle information. See Terms of Service, Privacy Statement, and other important information at www.vw.com/carnet.
The Wi-Fi hotspot feature is intended for passenger use only. 4G LTE coverage is not available in all areas. See materials provided for terms, privacy, data security details. Requires trial or paid Wi-Fi plan from third party wireless provider.
Remote Car-Net services offered for 5 years from vehicle in-service date.
Maximum tow rating when equipped with V6 engine and factory-installed towing hitch. Vehicle load, other accessories and options may reduce maximum towing capacity. See the vehicle owner’s manual for details.
When installing child safety seats, always ensure that the child restraint system is positioned correctly, is securely attached to the vehicle, and does not contact any of the safety belt buckles. See owner’s literature for details.