Her + His Car Reviews

2021 Volkswagen Atlas V-6 Tech R-Line and 4Motion AWD

Our car reviews are innovative and interesting as we provide insightful and expert reviews from both Her + His perspectives.

Her: Anne Fleming, Car Buying Advocate, women-drivers.com
His: Don Hammonds, Writer, AutomobileJournal.com 

$40,195 $40,195
The 2021 VW Atlas is quite the 3-seated midsized SUV with a good amount of power. Combined with a 3.6 Liter V6 engine, our metallic silver model has 276 horses to provide plenty of force on the roads. The acceleration can feel somewhat leisurely, but the acceleration is definitely smooth along with its receptive shifts. A hefty SUV, the towing capacity comes in at 5,000 pounds.

The All-Wheel Drive feature is a winner on the 2021 Atlas for all road conditions year-round. The 20" wheels had this vehicle feel stable up and down and through corners for driver and passengers alike.
The Atlas may feel a bit sluggish off the line, but things pick up quickly, at least if you order the V6. Handling is exactly what you would expect from VW--sporty, agile behavior. Steering was a bit light-- I would prefer a little more feedback and more response. The brakes are excellent, however, handling is decent, though not necessarily sporty.
Fuel Economy
18 Highway Miles, 16 City Miles and 22 Overall Miles. The Atlas, with a 3.6-liter, 276 horsepower, V6 with 4Motion (VW's vernacular for all wheel drive) has well below average gas mileage. We are talking 16 city, 18 highway and 22 overall. They're full-sized luxury SUVs that do better than that! I was surprised by how often I had to stop to buy gasoline. Loves that gasoline!
The Car
A very good value for those in pursuit. The 2021 VW Atlas V6 has been refreshed for this model year with several new safety features added and generous spacious seating. Volkswagen designers have upgraded the technology, too. The cabin was quiet in our model.

We rate the Atlas as a mid-tier in its category. While it has many bells and whistles, has a standout exterior, the performance is a shoutout above board. This three-row SUV is also available in a 4-cylinder model. Some of the dashboard features had the hand and feel of lower cost materials. We enjoyed the front and rear seats, leather seat, and a kick audio system with 6 speakers.

There is a totally of 153.7 cubic feet of passenger volume. Need more for packing? Second row folds easily 60/40 and then slides and reclines. Third row has a 50-50 split-fold seats which then fold flat; All easily manageable for owner.
The Atlas, a mid-sized, three rowed SUV for Volkswagen, is a square jawed, rugged looking family car, and it is a big improvement over any number of other station wagons and SUVS that VW has offered. It feels pretty solid and stable and isn't as sluggish as the model that I tested in 2019.

It's been a big seller for VW and for good reason. It's well equipped, has good visibility all around, and is one of the roomiest of its kind on the market. Lots of stretch out room and plenty of cargo room too.

But unless you buy the version we tested--snappy looking Atlas SE with the R-Line package, with its cool dark gray wheels, special trim inside and out, the Atlas still doesn't have a lot of shall we say, pizazz and a feeling of driving pleasure.

For 2021, the Atlas has been given a revised front headlights and grille, and around back, you will find different taillights and a generally upgraded look in the rear. The interior has been upgraded, too, but it still doesn't look very inviting compared to some of its competitors. It still looks pretty austere inside and out, to me, not comfortable and welcoming.

There are some other new items for 2021: You can now get the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine on the top trims of the Atlas, and if you're interested in having AWD, it will cost you about $1,300 less.
Safety Belts and Airbags, Advanced Airbag Protection (6), Anti-Lock Braking System with Disc Brakes, Andi Slip Regulations Engine Brake Assist, Electronic Brake Pressure Distribution, Hydraulic Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control, Intelligent Crash Response System, Automatic Post Collision Braking, LATCH, Rear View Camera System, Tire Pressure Monitoring System. Advanced Airbag Protection System, anti-slip brakes, anti-slip regulation and engine brake assist, electronic stability control and electronic differential lock, Intelligent Crash Response system. Rear view camera system and other items.
Park Distance Control, Front and Rear. Adaptive Control, Stop and Go, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (front assist). Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Traffic Alert. Hill Hold Control and Hill Decent Control. Remote Engine Start. Keyless Access to Doors and Liftgate with Push start button. Hands free Easy Open Remote Power Rear Liftgate.

The next-generation Car-Net® telematics system is standard on all models. In-car Wi-Fi capability is subscription based. Traffic Jam Assist and Dynamic Road Sign Display are now available. Powered by Parkopedia, the Parking Information feature helps to locate off-street parking.

Composition Media: 8" Touchscreen AM/FM/HD/Radio with USB input voice control and SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio with limited subscription. Bluetooth Connectivity. VW APP Connect for Smartphone Integration and Interface. Wireless charger for compatible devices. Color multi-functional displays (MFD) with trip computer. Electric parking brake.
You can buy your Atlas in a wide variety of versions. The lavish life for Atlas owners begins with the SLE, which has as standard equipment, panoramic sunroof, LED taillights, a power-adjustable front passenger's seat, a heated steering wheel, a hands-free rear liftgate, park distance control, an upgraded touchscreen display with navigation, and the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit. Digital Cockpit is a display that replaces the standard gauge cluster with a reconfigurable video screen that shows a wide variety of information beyond basic speed, fuel and temperature readings. Both the SE with Technology and the SEL are available with the R-Line version, which adds 20-inch wheels, unique bumpers, side skirts and badging, and some unique interior trim.

The creme-de-le creme model is the SEL Premium. It adds standard all-wheel drive, automatic high-beam headlights, power-folding mirrors with puddle lamps, full leather seating, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a 12-speaker Fender sound system, a 360-degree surround-view parking camera, and a parking assist system. The SEL Premium also gets its own unique 20-inch wheels, with 21-inchers as an available option.
Aesthetics & Styling
The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas is striking in the front and rear, all with a modern design, and a clean, boxy look. Inside, the lines are clean and utilitarian. Nothing flashy, but stylish in a uncomplicated way. All the necessities are here. Ambient lighting, mega cup holders, bottle holders, storage space, and containers. This is a fantastic option that Volkswagen has refined and made even more attractive this model year.

Large panoramic sunroof. Overhead, roof rails are standard. This 2021 VW Atlas is assembled in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The R-Line package really made our Atlas look quite sporty--a good thing because the styling is pretty boxy. But--the other Atlas models, while modestly attractive, won't turn many heads with its boxy, square styling. Fortunately, the grille and the rear end have designs that say "Volkswagen."

The interior is quite well done in terms of ergonomics, the straightforward design of the dashboard and controls, and the amenities that it contains. But I do wish they would put a bit of excitement and interest in the design, materials and trims inside the car.
Volkswagen is putting a 'KIA move' on VW rivals with a robust warranty! Pay attention to this: New Year Limited Warranty for 4 Years of 50,000 Miles. Limited Corrosion Warranty for 7 Years or 100,000 Miles. 24-Hour Roadside Assistance Warranty for 3 Years or 36,000 Miles. Carefree Maintenance Warranty is 2 Years of 24,000 Miles. Here is an area in which Volkswagen really shines, compared to its competitors. It has a six year/72,000 mile (whichever comes first) new vehicle limited warranty.