Refreshed, the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas remains an incredible value.  And what’s impressive is that it carries over the same starting MSRP from last year.

Exterior front and rear updates enhance its bold design.  And a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is now available on top trims.

Plus full LED lighting is now standard along with next-gen VW Car-Net telematics.  Also, extra driver-assist safety features.

 2021 VW Atlas Top-3:

  1. Value
  2. Technology
  3. Interior space

My friends at Ontario VW hooked me up with a 2021 VW Atlas SEL Premium with 4MOTION for this review.  And, in case you’re wondering, the official color is pure white.

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117.3″ wheelbase & 200.7″ length

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Trims & Prices

Many trim options are available.  In fact, VW offers a total of 15-different trims.

But, in typical VW fashion, they’re all broken down to S, SE, and SEL primary options.

And from there you have engine options.  Plus packages like Premium, Technology, and R-Line.

Here are the ranges.

 Trims & Starting MSRPs:

  • S: $31,545 to $33,445
  • SE: 34,895 to $41,595
  • SEL: $42,295 to $48,995
Ontario VW is where I send all my friends, listeners and readers.  I’m happy to connect you.  Just email me: tom [at] idrivesocal [dot]com.

Engines, Transmissions & MPG

2021 Atlas is powered by two different engines.

There’s the 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder.  That’s turbocharged and puts out 235 horsepower with 258 pound-feet of torque.

2021 VW Atlas wheel

18″ wheels standard – 20 & 21″ wheel available

Also, there’s the bigger V6.  And it’s a 3.6L.  Putting out 276 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque.

Either engine will give you the same transmission.  And that’s an 8-speed automatic whether you go with front-wheel or all-wheel drive (4MOTION).

Fuel Economy

Efficiency in the fuel consumption department depends on your engine and transmission configuration.

But the turbocharged inline 4-cylinder will give you about 20 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway.

And the bigger V6 is rated to deliver 16 in the city with AWD and up to 23 on the highway with FWD.

2021 VW Atlas Exterior & Updates

Both the front and rear have been spruced-up.  A bit bolder looking and more athletic.

Subtle to the uneducated eye.  But I’ll point out a difference from last year that’s easy to notice.


78.4″ width & 70.1″ height

So, the three chrome horizontal bars running across the grill.  Last year, those were only two.  :0)

Other than that the lines are a bit more defined.  Specifically the curvature of them.


8″ ground clearance & up to 4,612 lb curb weight

Updates to the rear are tough to identify.  But it looks more modern overall.

And if not for the Volkswagen badge it could be mistaken for an Audi.

Exterior Dimensions:

  • Wheelbase 117.3
  • Track:
    • Front: 67.0
    • Rear: 67.6
  • Length: 200.7
  • Width: 78.4
  • Height: 70.1
  • Ground clearance: 8.0

*Above inches

Depending on your config, the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas has different towing capacities.  And they range from 2,000 to 5,000 lbs.

Likewise, your config impacts the vehicle’s total curb weight as well.  Ranging from 4,248 to 4,612 lbs.

2021 VW Atlas Interior

Inside the Atlas is huge.  Factoring the ample space with a smart and simple VW design provides a very versatile interior.

2021 VW Atlas cargo area w. backseats partial down

Up to 96.8 cu-ft of cargo space

Both rows of backseats lay flat.  And with nearly 100 cubic-feet of cargo space.  Any typical family will be able to haul whatever they need.

2021 VW Atlas interior from 3rd row titan black and quartzite leather

33.7″ of third-row legroom

Snapping pictures from the 3rd-row seats was no problem.  Because the 3rd-row gives you 33.7-inches of legroom.

37.6-inches of legroom in the second row of seats

37.6″ of legroom in the 2nd-row

And that’s plenty, even for a full-grown adult.  Plus getting to the 3rd-row seating is easy.

So, if you go with captains chairs in the 2nd-row you are left with one-less total seating capacity.  But those captains chairs are comfortable.

interior, steering wheel, dash and seats 2021 Atlas

61.5″ 1st-row shoulder room

So the interior of my Atlas SEL Premium was the Titan Black & Quartzite Leather.  And I found it to be quality to the touch.

Also, the seats were both comfortable and breathable on a hot Inland Empire day. :0)  Plus the white accent stitching is a classy touch.

 Interior dimensions:

  • Headroom: 41.3/40.4/38.3
  • Shoulder room: 61.5/60.8/54.9
  • Legroom: 41.7/37.9/33.7

*All inches

Infotainment Technology in 2021 VW Atlas

Perhaps my favorite tech element in the 2020 VW Atlas is the available digital cockpit.

A feature that’s long been part of Audis (VW’s luxe sibling) it greatly enhances your driving experience.

digital instrument display - in dash

Available digital cockpit

By allowing you to customize your in-dash display it delivers a more evolved sense of motoring.  What’s more, is that you can save different profiles.

And I love that.  Because my wife would have one profile.  And I’d have two.  One for my daily driving and one for my extended highway runs.

2021 VW Atlas cockpit titan black _ quartzite leather

VW Car-Net telematics standard

Additionally, Volkswagen’s Car-Net telematics is now standard across all trims.

And that’s significant because the best parts of that subscription service are free for the first 5-years.

Driver Assistance & Safety Tech

Plus, the 2021 Atlas can come packed with driver assistance and safety technology.

Standard Safety & Assistance Tech:

  • Forward collision warning & auto emergency braking w/ pedestrian monitoring
  • Blindspot monitor w/ rear traffic alert
  • Automatic post-collision braking
  • Rearview camera


  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane keep assist
  • Park distance control
  • Park steering assist
  • High beam control
  • Traffic jam assist
  • Dynamic road sign display
  • Overhead view camera

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Top-3

  1. Value: The overall package that VW’s Atlas offers has always been tough to beat.  A non-luxury European rival simply doesn’t exist.
  2. Technology: The safety tech is great. But the digital cockpit really pivots the driving experience.  Giving us a taste of what the future will bring.
  3. Interior space: This midsize rivals the inside space of some full-size SUVs.  And that’s impressive.  But it’s not just raw space.  It’s easily converted for people or stuff.
Ontario Volkswagen's 2021 Atlas

Courtesy of Ontario VW

And for your 2021 VW Atlas go see my friends at Ontario Volkswagen.  They’re in Southern California’s Inland Empire.  Right by the Ontario Airport.