The Atlas is the three-row crossover from Volkswagen and is the largest VW made. It gets a makeover for 2024, following a redesign in 2021. Why so many updates? Because the introduction of the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride made this segment super competitive.
Base Price: $52,455
As Tested: $53,805
Mileage: 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway/21 mpg combined
The Atlas debuted for the 2018 model year, the first VW designed for the American buyer. For 2024, it gets updated exterior styling including front and rear LED headlights, a new powertrain, and a more upscale cabin including a bigger and better infotainment system. Volkswagen is trying to make the Atlas more refined and more competitive with the likes of the Palisade and Telluride, as well as the Jeep Grand Cherokee L and Mazda CX-90.
There’s room for six or seven passengers, depending on whether you choose captain’s chairs for the second row.
The 2024 Atlas comes in six trims: SE, SE with Technology, Peak Edition SE with Technology, SEL, Peak Edition SEL and SEL Premium R-Line. Starting prices range from $39,075 to $53,805. The SE and SE with Technology trims have front-wheel drive and the option of 4Motion, Volkswagen’s all-wheel drive system. 4Motion is standard on all the other trims.
All trims get the same engine: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 269 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain replaces a V6.
The new engine makes for peppier performance. The Atlas has decent acceleration and responds quickly for passing and merging at freeway speeds. Steering is responsive through the Atlas does have noticeable body lean when cornering. The ride is mostly smooth and comfortable. As you’d expect in a family hauler, the Atlas may not be thrilling to drive but it’s easy to handle which is what you want in a vehicle like this.
Fuel economy is decent for a three-row crossover. EPA ratings for my tester are 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway with a combined rating of 21. I got 21 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
When properly equipped, the Atlas can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Standard features include keyless entry, push-button start, rear-view camera, three-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, digital instrument cluster, infotainment system with 12-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio system, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, wireless device charging, and adaptive LED headlights.
Available features include remote start, surround-view camera system, head-up display, leather upholstery, driver’s seat memory settings, power-adjustable passenger seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated second row seats, 12-speaker Harmon Kardon premium audio system, navigation, panoramic sunroof, manual rear window sunshades, and ambient cabin lighting.
Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, blind spot intervention, lane keeping assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Available driver assistance technologies include front and rear parking sensors and safe exit warning.
The large new 12-inch touchscreen is easy to see and reach with a clear display and large icons. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard. However, you must use the touchscreen or touch-sensitive buttons and sliders for almost all functions, which can be clumsy, especially if you want to make quick audio or climate adjustments. Please, VW, at least add a volume knob instead of making us fumble with a slider!
The Atlas has plenty of cargo space. There are 20.6 cubic feet with all rows of seating in place; 55.5 cubes with the third row folded, and a whopping 96.8 cubes with the second and third rows folded. The second-row bench seat splits 60/40 and the third-row bench seat splits 50/50. A hands-free power liftgate is available.
Good value for the money
Comfortable driving dynamics
Cavernous cabin with lots of room for passengers and cargo
Packed with features and tech
Standard wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Infotainment system needs some physical controls
My tester starts at $52,455. Destination charge is $1,350 bringing the grand total to $53,805.
The Volkswagen Atlas has been a top offering among three-row crossovers and the updated 2024 version has even more appeal. Its smooth ride and cavernous cabin make it great for hauling kids and gear. Still, you’ll want to check out rivals such as the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride before making your choice.