First Drive: Here’s Why The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Is The Most Luxurious VW You Can Buy

Especially with the recent updates, the Atlas is one of the nicest VWs currently on sale

Just three short years ago, Volkswagen ditched the European-built Touareg SUV in the United States for something more thoroughly American. The result was the appropriately titanic three-row Atlas. Since it first went on sale in 2017, the SUV won buyers over on our shores with its rugged styling and lower price tag. Mind you, as the initial glitz of a new model wears off it needs worthwhile updates to keep it competitive, and that’s exactly what VW aimed for with the refreshed 2021 Atlas.

In the video below, Nathan contends the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas is the most luxurious car out of the brand’s lineup you can buy right now. The updated model starts off at a reasonable $31,545 (not including destination) for the base S model. Step up through the trims to the SEL Premium, though, and you can end up with a comfortable and feature-rich crossover for $50,000. The Arteon also offers a stylish solution for around the same price, but we’d argue the Atlas still tops the list on sheer spaciousness.

Different look, same powertrains

Like the previous Atlas, you still get one of two powertrain options depending on which trim you buy. The base 2021 Volkswagen Atlas S and SE trims get a 2.0-liter engine with 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Get the SE w/ Technology trim or higher, and you’ll get the larger V6 engine instead. That powertrain puts out a meatier 276 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. No matter which version you get, the Atlas still comes equipped with the same eight-speed automatic transmission.

Volkswagen did take the interior into account with the 2021 model, so there’s a new steering wheel and better feeling materials throughout the cabin. On the outside, the Atlas drops its blockier styling for a more streamline approach akin to the two-row Atlas Cross Sport that also launched this year.

Stay tuned for Nathan’s full-length review next week on In the meantime, check out the video below for a closer look at the updated Atlas: