The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Sports A Fresh Face And Packs More Tech

Gone is the boxy-looking front end

When it first landed nearly three years ago, the Volkswagen Atlas redefined the brand’s approach to family haulers. It replaced the European-designed, expensive Touareg with a bespoke American model produced at the company’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, and stood out with its boxy styling compared to its more curvaceous competitors. Now, though, this updated 2021 Volkswagen Atlas leans into the more futuristic styling trend, taking on similar looks to its smaller, five-passenger sibling, the Atlas Cross Sport.

Check out the differences between the new model (left) and the old one (right) below:

This isn’t an entirely new Atlas, but the looks do stand out as more Touareg-like than before. Volkswagen made the updated Atlas three inches longer, but that mainly comes down to the front and rear bumpers. While the rear fascia looks broadly the same, the front end is substantially different to the original Atlas’ boxy design. New headlight and taillight designs befit this sort of update, and LEDs are standard across the range.

For those who want a sportier look, the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas R-Line adds a unique bumper and side skirts. Beyond that, you can also choose from 20- or 21-inch wheels, and you get bespoke R-Line badging.

The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas has also been updated inside. The steering wheel has been redesigned with VW’s new badge, for a start. It’s a small change, but one that gives the updated Atlas a much crisper, more modern look. An 8.0-inch infotainment system comes standard on all but the base S models, and that system does support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The same driver assist technology that was available on the Atlas before is still here, but Volkswagen will add Traffic Jam Assist and Dynamic Road Sign Display, which debuted on the Atlas Cross Sport.

All 2021 Volkswagen Atlas models available with all-wheel drive

Under the hood, the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas has the same engine options as before. On the smaller end, there’s VW’s turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine with 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the previous Atlas, however, it’s available with 4Motion all-wheel drive like the V-6. The naturally-aspirated 3.6-liter option also remains, with 276 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. Both engines still mate up to an eight-speed automatic transmission. V-6 models are capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds, when equipped with the proper towing package.

Pricing for the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas isn’t available yet. We should know more about that by the car’s on-sale date in spring 2020. Stay tuned to for more updates from the 2020 Chicago Auto Show!

2021 Volkswagen Atlas photo gallery