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2021 Volkswagen Atlas: First Look

  • Longer by 3 inches
  • All-wheel drive now available with both engines
  • Latest Car-Net app

In an effort to bring current the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas, Volkswagen treated its 3-row crossover to a face-lift, bringing it more in line with its somewhat smaller sibling, the Atlas Cross Sport. Likewise, it added to the availability list a couple of new driver-assist technologies and its Car-Net app’s smartphone-as-key technology. Shoppers of 2021 Atlas models, equipped with the 4-cylinder engine, will find that they can now opt for AWD — an option formerly available only on V6 versions. None of these upgrades is a huge leap forward, but more than we often see in a midcycle freshening.

What Are the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Appearance Changes?

The current Atlas, when sitting next to the fresh, more svelte Atlas Crossover Sport on a showroom floor, looks a bit bland. VW began addressing that in its 2021 update. It’s not a redesign, mind you, but some tinkering around the edges to add a few gadgets and strengthen the exterior styling.

Applying a tape measure, you would realize the 2021 Atlas is almost 3 inches longer than the 2020 Atlas. It is added-on length, rather than stretched length, which means there’s no increase in interior space. The extra inches come from new, beefier bumpers fore and aft. VW modeled the made-over front end in the image of the Atlas Cross Sport. It’s not exact, but the upcoming Atlas face incorporates a Cross Sport-inspired 3-bar grille with chrome cross lines flanked by new head lamps. The taillight design is also an update. Headlights and taillights are now LEDs as standard equipment. Standard across the board is a new steering wheel sporting VW’s new logo. Available accent stitching for the leather interior is now an option.

What Is the New Technology in the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas?

Relentless advancements in safety and driver-assist technologies are forcing carmakers to include such systems at every opportunity. Currently, VW offers as standard on all Atlas grades forward-collision warning with emergency stop and pedestrian detection, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Standard on upper trims are Active Blind Spot Monitor, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, Park Distance Control, parking assist, automatic high-beam assist and a 360-degree camera. Adding to the available list, and introduced on the Cross Sport, are Traffic Jam Assist and Dynamic Road Sign Display. These new additions bring driver-assist technology up to the level of the Cross Sport.

Another feature pioneered by Cross Sport is the next-gen Car-Net. This is an app providing smartphone access to a range of features including vehicle wellness, fuel level, accident assistance, roadside assistance, vehicle location and so on. It also provides remote lock and unlock.

Standard on all but the 2021 base model is a new infotainment system with an 8-in touchscreen.

Why Should You Consider the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas?

The 2020 Volkswagen Atlas remains one of the roomiest midsize 3-row crossovers. This includes 33-in of third-row legroom. A long list of standard features, now with AWD available on both engines, translates to a greater appeal based on needs and budgets.

When is the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Available, and How Much Will It Cost?

VW hasn’t announced prices, but since most of the enhancements are in the options category, base prices shouldn’t vary all that much from the current model, which starts at $31,545 with the factory destination charge. Look for the 2021 Atlas to drop sometime in the spring of 2020. Find a Volksagen Atlas for sale

Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps is an author specializing in automotive, financial and travel news. For nearly 35 years he has covered the automotive industry for newspapers, magazines and internet websites. His resume includes The Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, The Washington Times and numerous other daily newspapers through syndication. He edited Auto World magazine, and helped create and edit NOPI Street... Read More about Russ Heaps

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