The VW Atlas 7-seat midsize SUV receives a bold refresh and advanced features
Hein Schaefer, Senior Vice President, Product Marketing & Strategy for Volkswagen of America, Inc. walks through the facelift of the 2021 Atlas midsize SUV, inside and out.
The refreshed Atlas maintains the same underpinnings of the successful outgoing model, and adds more aggressively-styled front and rear bumpers. Mirroring the Atlas Cross Sport front fascia, a bold three-bar grille extends into the front light signature, creating a more sophisticated presence, while new headlight and taillight designs feature standard full-LED lighting, including low beams, high beams, turn signal indicators, Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), and taillights. SEL and SEL Premium models add standard 900-lumen LED headlights with Volkswagen’s Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS). Automatic headlamps and rain-sensing windshield wipers are standard across the lineup.
Engineered from Volkswagen’s award-winning Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture, the refreshed 2021 Atlas is larger than any other vehicle in the Volkswagen portfolio, sitting 200.7 inches long, 78.4 inches wide, and 70.1 inches high. Though its overall height remains the same as the 2020 Atlas, the refreshed Atlas is 2.4 inches longer than before, thanks to restyled front and rear bumpers. Despite its size, the Atlas still offers a low coefficient of drag of 0.34.
Overhead, roof rails are standard—black on entry-level trims, and silver on SEL and SEL Premium models. A large panoramic sunroof, measuring about 4.5 feet by 3 feet, with a two-part glass opening system and powered sunshade, is available on SE w/ Technology models and standard on SEL and SEL Premium models.
At the back, a chromed “Atlas” name strip sits above the newly sculpted rear bumper. A power tailgate is standard on the Atlas SE, while the SE w/ Technology and higher trims add the Easy Open feature. Easy Open works in conjunction with KESSY® keyless access to enable opening of the tailgate with just a kick of the foot below the rear bumper when the key is in range.
The sportier R-Line trims add R-Line badging; unique front and rear bumpers—also restyled for 2021—that incorporate stylish air intakes at the front and a diffusor in glossy black paint at the rear, as well as side skirts, emphasizing the premium profile of the Atlas.
S and SE trims feature standard 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels wrapped in 245/60 all-season tires, while SE w/ Technology and above models boast 20-inch alloy wheels and 255/50 all-season tires. When equipped with the optional R-Line trim, the SE w/ Technology models feature unique 20-inch alloy wheels. SEL R-Line and SEL Premium R-Line trims receive 21-inch alloy wheels and 265/45 all-season tires. All Atlas models feature 8.0 inches of ground clearance and departure angles of 20.4 and 22.3 degrees (front/rear).
The interior design of the Atlas is classic Volkswagen—clean and functional, with a premium feel. Driver controls are positioned for optimal ergonomics and usability, and simple, driver-centric displays enhance involvement behind the wheel. The seat position, shifter height, and the spacing between the pedals are all designed for maximum driver comfort. With available contrast stitching on the surfaces and door trim as well as a redesigned steering wheel, the 2021 model offers a high-end environment that belies its attainable starting price. Ambient lighting, standard on the Atlas SEL Premium, further highlights this upscale character.
Starting MSRP at $31,545
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