Now With A Simplified Lineup. Last year, the Volkswagen Atlas was available in four main trims with a handful of packages. For the 2023 model year, the Atlas lineup grows to five trims, though there aren’t any optional packages. Instead of having to worry about what optional packages to choose, Volkswagen’s streamlined lineup for the 2023 Atlas allows shoppers to focus on a single specific trim.

The other major change for the 2023 Atlas is the introduction of its Digital Cockpit Pro digital instrument cluster as standard equipment on all trims above the entry-level SE. The base SE trim makes do with a standard 8-inch digital instrument cluster, though it’s a non-configurable unit.

With the new lineup, the SE with Technology stands out as the one to get. It starts at $40,065 (with destination) and adds some noteworthy features over the base SE trim. Standard equipment includes remote start, front and rear parking sensors, tri-zone climate control, seven USB ports, a hands-free liftgate, and 20-inch wheels.

Room For Everyone. By midsize SUV standards, the Atlas is downright massive. It offers one of the roomiest cabins in the segment with enough space for everyone and everyone’s belongings. The front two rows of seats are incredibly spacious, while the third row is surprisingly roomy for adults. That’s not a trait that most midsize SUVs have.

For passengers seeking the most seats, the second-row bench seat brings a seating capacity of up to seven, while the available captain’s chairs reduce seating capacity to six. While you lose a seat with the captain’s chairs, they make it far easier to get to the third row. Once there, passengers get 33.7 inches of legroom, a large figure for the segment.

The Atlas also impresses when it comes to cargo capacity. With the third row in place, the Atlas has 20.6 cubic feet of cargo space. That figure expands to 55.5 cubic feet of space behind the second row and a total of 96.8 cubic feet of cargo space in total. That’s plenty of space for everyone’s luggage on a road trip.

2023 Volkswagen Atlas Trunk

Poor Acceleration, Smooth Ride.Volkswagen continues to offer the Atlas with two engines. The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. For a midsize SUV of this size, a 235-hp feels underpowered. It’s fine around town and for short commutes but lacks the punch needed to tow large cargo or pass on the highway.

The available 3.5-liter V6 engine is a much better option for the Atlas. It brings a rating of 276 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, which results in far better acceleration and passing power on the highway. While the V6 is an upgrade over the four-cylinder engine, it’s well off of what you’ll find with other midsize SUVs. Still, we prefer the V6 engine and so will consumers looking to tow cargo, as the V6 offers up to 5,000 pounds of towing capacity.

The Atlas may not be the most exciting SUV to drive in a straight line or around corners, but it does offer a smooth ride. The midsize SUV feels more like a large SUV on the road with a supple ride that evens out on the highway. The result is an SUV that will soak up miles on the annual family trip.

Drab Styling. Volkswagen is playing it safe with the 2023 Atlas’ exterior and interior design. Compared to midsize SUVs like the Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, and Jeep Grand Cherokee L, the Atlas’ design comes off as boring. We don’t mind the staid exterior look, but the utilitarian design of the cabin and drab materials are hard to ignore.

There’s not a lot of color on the inside and a few of the Atlas’ interior materials feel below average for the class. The Atlas lacks the same soft-touch materials as its rivals and a lot of the switchgear doesn’t have the same well-designed feel.

Final Thoughts. The 2023 Volkswagen Atlas is a room-first SUV. For consumers in search of an SUV with a generous amount of interior space, few competitors can match the Atlas. In other areas, like performance, technology, and interior quality, the Atlas doesn’t have what it takes to compete with our favorites.

The Kia Telluride continues to be a class favorite. It has a stylish design, comes packed with tech features, offers upscale trims with a luxurious feel, and comes with a punchy V6 engine. The Jeep Grand Cherokee L has serious off-roading capability, a luxurious interior, high-tech features, and three rows of spacious seats.

Check prices for the 2023 Volkswagen Atlas