Volkswagen’s first family-sized utility vehicle is the Atlas, a mid-size SUV with room for seven. The 2019 VW Atlas offers decent value, an excellent warranty, and comfortable ride quality. It isn’t especially fast and, like competing models, prices rise quickly with the top-trim models.

Best Value

The 2019 Volkswagen Atlas comes with standard front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. A four-cylinder engine is standard, but only the optional V6 supplies available all-wheel drive. The Atlas comes in S, SE, SEL, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium trims.

The list of standard features include LED headlights, blind-spot monitoring, cloth seats, and a six-speaker audio system with a 6.5-inch display. Upgrades include 20-inch wheels, leather seats, navigation, a Fender audio system, and driver-assist features.

We recommend the SE trim, which has imitation leather seats, an eight-inch touchscreen display, three-zone climate control, and four USB ports.

  • Model:2019 Volkswagen Atlas SE
  • Engine:3.6-liter V6
  • Output:276 hp / 266 lb-ft
  • Transmission:Eight-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain:Front-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy:17 City / 24 Hwy
  • Options: 2nd-row Captain's Chairs ($695), Tow Hitch ($550)
  • Base Price: $36,490 (including the $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $37,735

Performance

Volkswagen Atlas

The standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine supplies sufficient power around town, but it isn’t available outside of the base S model nor can it be ordered with all-wheel drive. The far-more-common 3.6-liter V6 supplies 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Both work with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which matches well to the V6 as it responds quickly to inputs. On the fuel efficiency front, the base engine makes an EPA-estimated 22 miles per gallon in the city, 26 mpg highway, and 24 combined, compared to 17/24/19 mpg (city/highway/combined) for the V6.

The V6 supplies a strong feel, but when this SUV carries a full contingent of passengers and all their equipment, it has its work cut out for it. The Atlas’ ride quality is one of its strong suits as is its handling. Steering is direct and precise and the suspension system is taut, but not stiff.

Style

The VW Atlas is a sizable SUV and wears its sheetmetal well. Firm shoulders, strong lines, and angular edges supply definition. Up front, it has a wide grille offset by square headlights that gently sweep back into its fenders. The standard 18-inch wheels look huge as they’re set within squared-off wheel arches. From the rear, the Atlas has wraparound taillights and dual exhaust finishers.

Inside, the Atlas is spacious and supplies a conservative look with controls sensibly placed. The standard 6.5-inch touchscreen display seems almost buried in the center stack, while the available eight-inch display is proportionally better. The seats are comfortable and all three rows supply ample room for seven adults. In some competing models, the last row is more of a penalty box than a useful passenger-carrying space. This isn't the case with the Atlas.

The Best and Worst Things

Third-row seat access and comfort is one of the Atlas’ strengths. Not only does the second-row seat move and tilt forward with ease, but the last row is actually comfortable for adults. On the other hand, the V6 has below average fuel economy for the segment.

Right For? Wrong For?

Volkswagen Atlas

Volkswagen fans needing a larger family vehicle no longer have to leave the brand. The VW Routan minivan is no more and the Atlas fills that hole with a more versatile vehicle. Other shoppers, however, may find the Atlas is too large for their needs. That’s where the smaller Volkswagen Tiguan is worth a closer inspection.

The Bottom Line

The 2019 VW Atlas does what it needs to do to keep the Volkswagen faithful in the brand. This car-centric automaker now boasts two SUVs, with more to follow. It matches well against stiff competition, delivering a capable package with a strong warranty.