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Neil Cumins
Automotive Editor - March 12, 2020

2020 Volkswagen Atlas OVERVIEW

What's New

The 2020 Volkswagen Atlas gets a few minor tweaks for the new model year. VW's midsize crossover SUV gains the next generation of the brand's Car-Net telematics system and wi-fi hot spot capability. Feature shuffling among trims round out the changes.

Choosing Your Volkswagen Atlas

The Atlas is available in seven trims: S, SE, SE with Technology, SEL with Technology R-Line, SEL, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium. Pricing starts at $32,565 including destination for a base S and climb to $50,215 for the SEL Premium.

Engine Choices

The S, SE, SE with Technology, and SEL come standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The SE with Technology R-Line, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium get a 3.6-liter V6. The bigger engine is available on all other trims for $1,400 ($1,800 on the SEL).

Engine TypeHorsepowerTorqueMax. TowingFuel Economy (Combined)
2.0L Turbo 4-Cylinder235 hp258 lb-ft2,000 pounds22 mpg
3.6L V6276 hp266 lb-ft5,000 pounds19 mpg

Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Models with the four-cylinder engine are only available with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available with the V6 for an extra $1,800.

Passenger and Cargo Capacity

The Atlas offers three rows of seating for up to seven passengers (two in front, three in the second row, and two in back). Second-row captain's chairs, which drop seating capacity to six, are available for $695 starting on the SEL with Technology.

There's 20.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the third row. Fold it down, and 55.5 cubic feet become available; with both back rows out of the picture, the Atlas can carry a maximum of 96.8 cubic feet of cargo.

Safety Features

Every Atlas is packed with driver assistance technology, with automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert all standard. A crash response system shuts off the fuel pump and unlocks the doors, and a post-collision braking system reduces the risk of additional crash damage.

The SE with Technology model benefits from adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. The SE with Technology R-Line adds front and rear parking sensors, while the SEL Premium gets a surround-view camera system, an automated parking system, and automatic high beams.


The Atlas S starts with a 6.5-inch touchscreen and two USB ports, but all other trims feature an 8-inch display with satellite radio, HD radio, and three extra USB ports. Both systems feature Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth integration. Navigation becomes standard on the SEL trim.

Volkswagen’s Car-Net service, which is standard on every trim, provides the app-controlled management of vehicle locking, turning on the lights and horn, plus fuel level and mileage data.

S - From $32,565

Despite costing almost $18,000 less than flagship Atlas SEL Premium models, the S trim still delivers cruise control, dual-zone climate control, automatic LED headlights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The side mirrors are power-adjustable and heated, while the exterior features 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and roof rails. However, the cloth front seats require manual adjustment, and this is the only model to receive the smaller 6.5-inch touchscreen.

SE - From $35,715

Key upgrades on SE models include keyless entry, push-button start, heated washer nozzles, three-zone climate control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Seating is upgraded to leatherette upholstery, with a 10-way power driver seat and heated front seats. This is also where the larger 8-inch touchscreen becomes standard.

SE with Technology - From $38,065

Riding on larger 20-inch wheels, SE with Technology models receive remote start functionality and a power liftgate. Key safety upgrades from SE include adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist.

A panoramic sunroof with Homelink is available for $1,200.

SE with Technology R-Line - From $41,665

Putting aside its bizarre name, this model underlines its V6-only status with stainless steel pedal caps. The power liftgate gains hands-free activation functionality, and the front and rear parking sensors become standard. R-Line models also get dedicated badging, bumpers, side skirts, and wheel arch extensions.

SEL - From $41,815

The SEL is the first Atlas to receive a panoramic sunroof, LED taillights, an eight-way power passenger seat, and memory settings for the driver’s seat as standard. The steering wheel is heated, there’s navigation, and VW's Digital Cockpit replaces analog dials with more a sophisticated digital infotainment display.

SEL R-Line - From $45,315

Stainless steel pedal caps make another appearance in SEL R-Line trim, while a trailer hitch is also standard on all configurations. Otherwise, this model merges the SE with Technology R-Line and the SEL.

SEL Premium - From $50,215

The most expensive Atlas is the only model to ride on 21-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and the only one to receive ambient cabin lighting and a 12-speaker Fender audio system. It’s unique in receiving leather seating, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and puddle lights in the side mirrors.

Compare Atlas Trims Side-By-Side

CarsDirect Tip

Unless navigation is essential, we’d say the 2020 VW Atlas SE with Technology offers the ideal balance between affordability and equipment. If you can swing it, the SEL is a noteworthy step up, as it brings desirable features like the sunroof, heated steering wheel, navigation, and a power passenger seat.

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