Atlas

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2020 Volkswagen Atlas Overview

The 3-row Atlas midsize crossover was a notable debut for Volkswagen in 2018, and it has carried over mostly unchanged save a few new features for 2020. Competitors include the Subaru Ascent, Honda Pilot, and Ford Explorer as well as two impressive newcomers, the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade.

The Atlas is one of the sportier-looking models in its segment, thanks to a bold and wide front grille, LED lighting front and back, and the available R-Line package with exclusive trim accents. For 2020, buyers will get standard 20-inch alloy wheels starting on SE with Technology models and above, and the top-tier SEL Premium model gets 21-inch wheels.

The base Atlas features a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can upgrade to a 3.5-liter V6 engine rated for 276 hp and 266 lb-ft. An 8-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive (FWD) come standard, and all-wheel drive (AWD) is available paired with the V6 engine. Base Atlas models are rated for 20 mpg city, 24 highway, and 22 combined. With the V6, fuel economy drops to 17, 23, and 19 with front-wheel drive (FWD) and 16, 22, and 19 with AWD.

This year, the Atlas is available in seven trims: S, SE, SE with Technology, SE with Technology R-Line, SEL, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium. The base Atlas includes cloth upholstery, automatic windshield wipers, and heated side mirrors. The SE trim upgrades to remote start, synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a panoramic sunroof. The SE with Technology R-Line adds a remote power liftgate. SEL Premium features genuine leather, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats. Both R-Line trims add exclusive bumpers and side skirts, plus R-Line badging.

The Atlas comes standard with a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, a 6-speaker audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and new for 2020, a WiFi hotspot. Options include an 8-inch touchscreen, VW’s Digital Cockpit instrument cluster, an 8-speaker audio system, a 12-speaker Fender premium audio system, voice recognition, and navigation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the 2020 Atlas a 5-star overall rating, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded top Good scores in six crash tests. Standard safety features include a reversing camera, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, automatic post-collision braking, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Safety options include a multi-angle camera system, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, forward-collision monitoring, and front and rear park assist.

The Atlas may have lost some of the spotlight to flashier new rivals, but it’s absolutely still worth consideration, particularly for families who want a spacious and practical 3-row SUV.

Updated

Cherise is a Chicago-based freelance writer and editor with nearly 15 years of experience covering the automotive industry. Cherise loves writing about car culture and sharing common-sense car-buying advice. She owns a 2019 Subaru WRX Series.Gray, 2020 Subaru Outback Onyx XT, 2007 Genuine Buddy Italia 150, 2015 Honda Grom, and 1979 Boston Whaler Montauk.

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