Volkswagen Atlas: Chronicling the Changes

Revised: October 16, 2023

The Volkswagen Atlas is a midsize, three-row crossover utility vehicle with room for seven. It replaced the Touareg, a high-priced model with limited appeal. The Atlas tops Volkswagen’s four utility vehicle range and is followed by the Atlas Cross Sport, Tiguan, and Taos. This model offers two engine choices and available all-wheel drive. It has one of the roomiest interiors across all three rows.

Volkswagen logo

Chronicling the Changes

2024 — The Atlas family has been updated with improved interior materials and design. This update includes standard features such as Climatronic, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and the IQ.DRIVE driver assistance features. The new 2.0-liter turbo engine provides better torque, acceleration, and fuel economy than the previous engines. A new Atlas Peak Edition trim has been added with distinct interior and exterior features.

2023 – For its sixth model year, the Atlas is down to five grades –
SE, SE w/ Technology, SEL, SEL R-Line Black, and SEL Premium R-Line. For 2023, the SE w/ Technology grade gains the 10.25-inch fully configurable Volkswagen Digital Cockpit Pro.

2022 – Volkswagen drops the base S grade. The remaining changes cover amenities shuffling.

2021 – For its fourth model year, the Atlas receives a refreshening with updated front and rear fascias. Improved materials now dress the cabin. A two-row Atlas Cross Sport model debuts and is marketed separately.

2020 – A Wi-Fi hotspot and Volkswagen’s app suite are now standard.

2019 – For its second model year, the Atlas gains two additional R-Line grades. The remaining changes include broadening the available amenities.

2018 – The Volkswagen Atlas debuts, a midsize three-row crossover designed with American consumers in mind. Delivering room for seven, the Atlas comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine or a 3.6-liter V6. The standard engine works with an 8-speed automatic transmission and is front-wheel-drive only. Meanwhile, the V6 comes paired with a 6-speed automatic, and sends power to the front or to all four wheels. Upon its introduction, the Atlas comes in five grades — S, SE, SE w/technology, SEL and SEL Premium.

First-Generation Volkswagen Atlas

The first-generation Volkswagen Atlas
The first-generation Volkswagen Atlas

Volkswagen Atlas Considerations

The Volkswagen Atlas navigates a crowded segment with nearly every manufacturer represented. One brand that is absent is Mitsubishi.

The list of competitors includes the Ford Explorer, Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, and the GMC Acadia. Other models to consider include the Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Honda Pilot, Subaru Ascent, and the Mazda CX-9. The Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, and Kia Sorento are other models in this segment.

See AlsoDown Electric Avenue with the Volkswagen ID.4

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Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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