Justin Cupler
Automotive Editor - February 6, 2020

Model Preview

Volkswagen is pushing hard to remain competitive in the red-hot crossover segment. Recently, it released the all-new Atlas Cross Sport, and now it releases a refreshed version of the standard Atlas that’ll hit showrooms a year earlier than expected.

The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas will retain the bulk of its exterior design, but its front and rear end will get designs that better match the recently unveiled Cross Sport variant. These updates will include a larger grille flanked by smaller headlights. The new grille’s lower section will tick upward slightly to meet the new headlights instead of flowing horizontally like in the current Atlas. The front bumper will also get a Cross Sport-inspired update with more prominent air inlets and an upward tick that follows the grille. There will also be new silver trim around the bumper’s center air inlet.

Around back, the refreshed Atlas will gain new taillights and a revised chrome bar connecting them. Down below, the rear bumper will feature a new look with a full-length black lower insert and integrated tailpipes.

Volkswagen Atlas

Inside, the Atlas will gain new driver-assistive features and updated tech. These updates will include a new infotainment system with app-based functionality and Traffic Jam Assist.

Under its hood, the 2021 Atlas will continue with its standard 235-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and optional 276-hp 3.6-liter V6. Both engines will continue to pair with an eight-speed automatic transmission and front- or all-wheel drive.

The current Atlas missed being an IIHS Top Safety Pick due to its “Marginal” and “Poor” headlight ratings. Otherwise, it received top marks in all crash tests and front-crash prevention with its standard automatic emergency braking. Unless the updated headlights fix the current model’s crummy ratings, we expect the 2021 Atlas to barely miss being a Top Safety Pick again.

Pricing & Release Date

The 2021 Atlas will arrive in U.S. showrooms this spring.

With this being only a light refresh with minor feature updates, we expect mild pricing increase relative to the current Atlas, which ranges from $31,890 to $49,390 (destination fees included).

This three-row crossover will compete with the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, and Subaru Ascent.

Learn more about the 2020 Atlas »

Pictured: 2021 Atlas

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