• 2021 Volkswagen Atlas

    The 2021 VW Atlas features a new grille and new LED headlamps
  • But don't expect prices to increase much
  • Redesigned taillights and a new fascia in the rear
  • The same engines carry over
  • So there's a 234 HP four-cylinder
  • or a 3.6-liter V-6 with 276 HP
  • both of which mate to an eight-speed automatic transmission
  • A new eight-inch display and steering wheel freshen up the cabin
  • There are some standard safety and assistance features
  • Like Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring, Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Traffic Alert
  • But if you want the good stuff
  • Like Adaptive Cruise Control or Park Steering Assit
  • you'll have to pony up a the time of purchase
  • Pricing for the 2021 Atlas has yet to be announced

Facelift adds mild design changes and new technology

Introduced in 2017, the Volkswagen Atlas replaced the Touareg in the United States. Come 2020 and Volkswagen rolled out the first mid-cycle facelift for the midsize SUV, at the Chicago Auto Show. The seven seater boasts mild design changes on the outside, new technology on the inside, but it’s available with the same engines under the hood.

The Atlas remains highly familiar design-wise. The most notable change can be seen up front, where the SUV features a three-bar grille that extends into the upper trim of the headlamps. This feature is borrowed from the Atlas Cross Sport and makes it look a tad more aggressive. The SUV is also fitted with LED lights as standard, and both the headlamps and taillights feature a revised design. The new Atlas is nearly three inches longer than its predecessor, but that’s because of the changes that Volkswagen made to the bumpers. So none of that goes into the wheelbase for enhanced passenger room.

The interior upgrades are worthy of a facelift: they don’t stand out much, but they keep the design fresh. Volkswagen revised the steering wheel, now with fresh buttons, and added an eight-inch infotainment display on all models but the base trim. You can also opt for contrast stitching for the leather surfaces and door trim, as well as a Fender Premium audio system. The options list also includes three-zone climate, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and wireless charging.

Under the hood, the Atlas remains true to the old and reliable engines. There’s a 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque and a 3.6-liter V-6 that cranks out 276 horses and 266 pound-feet of twist. Both engines mate to the same eight-speed automatic transmission and are available with the 4Motion AWD system. The big news here is that the four-cylinder is available with AWD for the first time.

Volkswagen also offers new driver-assistance systems for the Atlas. Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring, Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Traffic Alert are standard on all models. The options list includes the following:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop and Go
  • Lane Keeping System (Lane Assist)
  • Park Distance Control (PDC)
  • Park Steering Assistant (Park Assist)
  • Overhead View Camera (Area View)
  • Traffic Jam Assist
  • Dynamic Road Sign Display
2021 Volkswagen Atlas specifications
Engine 2.0L inline four cylinder, 16V, turbocharged/intercooled, FSI 3.6L VR6
Bore 3.25 in 3.50 in
Stroke 3.65 in 3.80 in
Compression Ratio 9.6:1 12.0:1
Horsepower (SAE) @ rpm 235 @ 4500 276 @ 6200
Maximum torque, lb-ft @ rpm 258 @ 1600 266 @ 2750
Towing 2000 lb 2000-5000 lb
2021 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 884803
But don’t expect prices to increase much
2021 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 884802
So there’s a 234 HP four-cylinder
2021 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 884807
Pricing for the 2021 Atlas has yet to be announced
2021 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 884808
you’ll have to pony up a the time of purchase
2021 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 884809
Like Adaptive Cruise Control or Park Steering Assit
2021 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 884810
The 2021 VW Atlas features a new grille and new LED headlamps
2021 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 884811
But if you want the good stuff
2021 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 884812
Redesigned taillights and a new fascia in the rear
2021 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 884813
Like Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring, Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Traffic Alert
2021 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 884814
The same engines carry over
2021 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 884815
There are some standard safety and assistance features
2021 Volkswagen Atlas Interior
- image 884816
A new eight-inch display and steering wheel freshen up the cabin
2021 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 884817
both of which mate to an eight-speed automatic transmission
2021 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 884818
or a 3.6-liter V-6 with 276 HP
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
About the author

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