2021 Volkswagen Atlas Facelift Revealed - Chicago Auto Show
Midsize SUV Gets Updated Styling as Part of Refresh
The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas arrived at the Chicago Auto Show this week. A midcycle update of the current-generation SUV, the 2021 Atlas brings more standard safety features, sportier styling, and newly available 4Motion all-wheel drive for the standard 2.0L turbocharged I-4.
The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas takes abundant stylistic inspiration from its new little sibling, the two-row Atlas Cross Sport. Its new grille features three chrome strips that blend in almost seamlessly with the daytime running light elements in the headlamps. Reshaped front and rear bumpers add 3 inches of overall length, although the Atlas is still based on the same 117.3-inch wheelbase as before. LED head- and taillights are standard for 2021.
The interior has been updated somewhat, featuring a new steering wheel, available contrast stitching, and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes standard on all but the base trim.
The most significant functional change to the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas comes in the form of an additional powertrain option. The current Atlas comes standard with a 2.0L turbocharged I-4 engine with an available 3.6L VR6, but currently, 4Motion all-wheel drive is only available on the bigger mill. For 2021, both engines will be available with 4Motion, giving buyers a bit more variety. As before, front-wheel drive will be standard.
The 2021's 3.6L narrow-angle VR6 still produces 276 hp and 266 lb-ft, matching the 2020 model. The 2.0L turbocharged I-4 again boasts 235 hp and 258 lb-ft. Both mills are direct-injected and mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Safety is Still Standard
Like the 2020 model, the new Atlas will come standard with forward collision monitoring with pedestrian detection, automated emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Advanced driver-assist features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, parking assistance, and a 360-degree camera are available on certain trim levels. The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport's novel Dynamic Road Sign Display will make the jump to the larger SUV.
Subtle Changes to Keep the SUV Competitive
The Atlas is a popular vehicle in Volkswagen's stable, representing nearly a quarter of every VW sold. What's more, sales of the midsize family SUV were up 37 percent last year compared to the year before, far outpacing the industry's slight decline and proving its importance in the company's lineup. The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas isn't a drastically modified vehicle, but small changes (and what we think is more attractive styling) should help it stay relevant.