How the 2024 Volkswagen Atlas Compares to Other SUVs

The 3-row crossover has become the go-to family vehicle in the U.S. It can carry six, seven, or sometimes eight, in comfort, or have the seats folded down to bring home just about anything from the big-box home, furniture, or sporting goods store. AWD is available for stability in poor weather and safety and convenience features are abundant. These vehicles are not just for big families of six or seven. They will accommodate a day trip for a family of four with each child bringing along a friend, or a visit by a set of grandparents or other couple. Space with comfort and hopefully efficiency is the name of the game here and Volkswagen checks all the boxes with the Atlas. But this is a popular segment with many competitors. How well does the Atlas compete against them?

Make/Model Volkswagen
Atlas
Ford
Explorer
Chevrolet
Traverse
GMC
Acadia
Jeep Grand
Cherokee-L
Hyundai
Palisade
Kia
Telluride
Nissan
Pathfinder
Toyota
Highlander
Subaru
Ascent
Photo
Trims SE, SE+SEL, SEL R-Line Black, SEL Premium R-Line Base, XLT, ST-Line, Timberline, Limited, ST, King Ranch®, Platinum LS, LT, RS, Premier, High Country SLE, SLT, AT4, Denali Laredo, Altitude, Limited, Overland, Summit, Summit Reserve SE, SEL, XRT, Limited, Calligraphy Work Truck, Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ, ZR2, High Country S, SV, SL, Rock Creek, Platinum Pro, LE, Elevation, SLT, AT4, Denali, AT4X, Denali Ultimate Base, Premium,
Onyx Edition,
Limited,
Touring
Color Options 8 9 8 9 15 7 9 16 9 12
Engine 3.6L V6 3.0L EcoBoost® V6 Engine 3.6L V6 3.6L V6 3.6L Pentastar® V6 3.8L V6 GDI 3.8L V6 GDI 3.5-liter DOHC DIG V6 2.4L 4-cylinder turbo 2.4-liter
turbo
BOXER I-4
Horsepower 276 HP 300 HP 310 HP 310 HP 293 HP 291 HP 291 HP 284 HP 265 HP 260 HP
Torque 266 lb-ft 310 lb-ft 166 lb-ft 271 lI-ft 260 lb-ft 262 lb-ft 262 lb-ft 259 lb-ft 310 lb-ft 277 lb-ft
Transmission 8-speed Auto w/ Tiptronic 10-Speed Automatic 9-Speed Automatic 9-Speed Automatic 8-Speed Automatic 850RE 8-speed automatic w/ SHIFTRONIC® 8-Speed Automatic 9-Speed Auto w/ CVTCS Direct Shift-8AT 8-speed ECT Lineartronic®
CVT
DriveTrain FWD, AWD Avail. FWD, HTRAC AWD (available) FWD, AWD Avail. FWD, AWD Avail. Quadra-Drive® II Active 4×4 Avail. FWD, HTRAC AWD (available) Active On-Demand AWD FWD, 4WD (available) FWD, AWD (available) Symmetrical
AWD
Fuel Economy (Hwy/City/Comb.) 20/24/21 19 / 22 / 24 18/27/20 19/26/21 19/26/22 19 / 27 / 22 20/26/23 20/27/23 22/29/25 20/26/22
Fuel Tank Capacity 18.6 gal. 18.8 gal. 19.3 gal. 21.7 gal. 23 gal. 18.8 gal. 18.8 gal. 18.5 gal. 17.9 gal. 19.3 gal.
Towing Capacity 5,000 lbs. max* 5,600 lbs. max* 5,000 lbs.max* 4,000 lbs max* 7,200 lbs. max* 5,600 lbs. max* 5,600 lbs. max* 6,000 lbs. max* 5,000 lbs.* 2,000 lbs.*
Cargo Capacity

(all down, third row, all seats up)

96.8/55.5/20.6 cu.ft. 87.8/47.9/18.2 cu.ft. 98.2/57.8/23 cu.ft. 79/41.7/12.8 cu.ft. 84.6/46.9/17.2 cu.ft. 86.4/45.8/18 cu.ft. 87/46/21 cu.ft. 80.5/45/16.6 cu.ft. 84.3/48.4/16.0 cu.ft. 75.6/43.5 cu.ft.
Interior Passenger Volume 154 cu.ft. 152.7 cu.ft. 157.1 cu.ft. 143.8 cu.ft. 152 cu.ft. 155.3 cu.ft. 178.1 cu.ft, 139.5 cu.ft. 141.8 cu.ft 153.2 cu.ft.
Seating 6 or 7 7 7 or 8 6 or 7 6 or 7 7 or 8 7 or 8 7 or 8 7 or 8 7 or 8
Wheelbase 117.3 in. 119.1 in. 113.8 in. 112.50 in. 121.7in. 114.2 in. 114.2 in. 114.2 in. 112.2 in. 113.8 inches
Ground Clearance 7.5in. 7.9 in. 7.5 in. 7.2in. 10.9 in. 8 in. 8 in. 7.1in. 8 in. 8.7 in.
Infotainment 8″ Touchscreen 10.1-inch LCD Capacitive Portrait Touchscreen 8″ diagonal Chevrolet Infotainment 3 System 8″ diagonal GMC Infotainment System Uconnect® 5 system with 10.1-inch touchscreen 12.3-in Touchscreen 12.3-in Panoramic Touchscreen NissanConnect® 9-in color touchscreen 12.3-in. Toyota Audio Multimedia Touchscreen SUBARU
STARLINK®
11.6-in
Multimedia
Plus
Sound System 12-speaker Fender Premium Audio System

B&O® Sound System by Bang & Olufsen®, 14 Speakers Including Subwoofer Bose premium 10-speaker sound system Bose premium 8-speaker sound system 19-Speaker Premium McIntosh® Audio System Available Harman Kardon® premium audio with 12 speakers and QuantumLogic® Surround with Clari-Fi™ Music Restoration Technology Available Harman Kardon® premium audio with 12 speakers and QuantumLogic® Surround with Clari-Fi™ Music Restoration Technology Bose Premium Audio System With 13 speakers and Acoustic Waveguide Technology 11-Speaker JBL® * Premium Audio including subwoofer and amplifier Available
Harman
Kardon®
premium
audio system
Base Price $35,150* $36,760* $35,915* $38,195* $43,530* $35,900* $35,890* $35,200* $36,420* $33,895*

Volkswagen Atlas vs. Subaru Ascent

Like almost all models in the Subaru lineup, the 3-row Ascent has standard all-wheel drive. That said, the MSRP for a base Atlas with AWD is still less than a base Subaru Ascent.

  • The Atlas has more horsepower than the Ascent with 269 vs 260.
  • The Atlas has slightly better EPA-estimated highway and combined mpg with 27 / 23 compared to 26 / 22 for the Ascent.
  • You have better control of the engine power on the Atlas with an 8-speed automatic transmission compared to the continuously variable transmission on the Ascent.
  • The Ascent has your back (and hands) when it gets cold with standard heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel, none of which are available on the base Ascent.
  • The Atlas also helps you see behind you with standard heated outside mirrors and an auto-dimming rearview mirror, both of which cost more on the Ascent.
  • Standard Atlas features either optional or unavailable on the base Ascent include remote entry and ignition.
  • Atlas also has standard in-car Wi-Fi which will require an upgrade on the Ascent.
  • The Blind spot monitoring system that is standard on all Atlas models requires a model upgrade from the base Ascent.
  • Front passengers enjoy more head, hip, and a bit more shoulder room in the Atlas over the Ascent.
  • 3rd-row passengers get two more inches of legroom in the Atlas.
  • The Atlas has the Ascent beat with more cargo space in all configurations:
    • All seats up: 20.6 vs. 17.8 cubic feet
    • 3rd row down: 55.5 vs. 43.5 cubic feet
    • All seats down: 98.8 vs. 75.6. cubic feet
  • The Atlas can tow over twice as much with a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds vs. just 2,000 pounds for the Ascent.
  • The Atlas beats the Ascent in all the ways that count for a 3-row crossover including passenger room, cargo space, value, and capability.

Volkswagen Atlas vs. Toyota Grand Highlander

After years of simply stretching the Highlander to wedge in a small 3rd row, Toyota has finally offered a dedicated 3-row crossover with the Highlander for the 2024 model year. Toyota offers the Highlander with both gas-only and hybrid drivetrains.

  • The Highlander has a grand entry price of $43,070 vs. $37,725 for the Atlas. The closest price-comparable Atlas to the base Highlander would be the $41,665 SE with Technology.
  • The Atlas has 269 horsepower to the Highlander’s 265.
  • The Atlas SE with Technology has 20-inch wheels to the base Highlander’s 18-inch wheels.
  • Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) w/ dynamic cornering lights are a standard feature on all Atlas models that is not available on the Highlander
  • The multi-level ventilated front seats on the base Atlas will cost extra on the already more expensive base Highlander.
  • The hands-free power liftgate on the Atlas SE With Technology is not available on the Highlander until the $47,860 Limited grade.
  • The Atlas has more leg, hip, shoulder, and headroom for front passengers than the Highlander
  • 2nd-row passengers have more head, hip, and shoulder room in the Atlas than the Highlander
  • 3rd row passengers have more legroom and headroom in the Atlas than the Highlander.
  • Both models offer a 5,000-pound maximum towing capacity.
  • The Atlas has a longer basic warranty of 4 years / 50K miles vs. the Highlander’s 3 years / 36K miles.
  • The Atlas’s complementary 24-hour roadside assistance program also lasts three years compared to two for the Highlander.
  • With more passenger space, value, and a better warranty, the Atlas beats out the Highlander.

Volkswagen Atlas vs. Ford Explorer

Once a body-on-frame SUV based on the Ranger Pickup, the Explorer switched to a unibody design in 2011 and thus competes in the 3-row crossover segment. However, the drivetrain choices remain as rear-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive. Explorer models are powered by a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-4 or turbocharged 3.0L V6 or 3.3-liter V6 hybrid drivetrain on upper-level models.

  • The Atlas’s standard Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) w/ dynamic cornering lights system is only available on the Explorer Platinum with a starting MSRP of $54,270.
  • The Atlas standard heated front seats require a trim upgrade on the Explorer. The standard vindicated front seats require two Explorer upgrades.
  • The Atlas standard keyless systems require an upgrade on the Explorer.
  • The Atlas comes standard with an easy-to-read and use 12-inch touchscreen. The standard touchscreen on the Explorer is 8 inches.
  • Wireless cell phone charging (for compatible devices) is standard on the Atlas but not the Explorer.
  • The Atlas offers more room for 3rd-row passengers with 1.5 more inches of legroom and over 4 inches more hip room.
  • The Atlas has significantly more cargo space than the Explorer in all configurations:
    • All seats up: 20.6 vs. 18.2 cubic feet
    • 3rd row down: 55.5 vs. 47.9 cubic feet
    • All seats down: 98.8 vs. 87.8. cubic feet
  • The two years or 20K miles of free maintenance on the Atlas is not an Explorer feature.
  • The Atlas has a longer-lasting basic warranty with 4 years / 50K miles vs. the Explorer’s 3 years and 36K miles.
  • When it comes to cargo carrying, using the 3rd-row seat and overall value, the Atlas is the model you should check out first.

Volkswagen Atlas vs. Hyundai Palisade

The Hyundai Palisade is a recent player that has garnered attention. It has old-school power delivery with a large 3.8-liter normally aspirated V-6. All but the very top model comes standard with front-wheel drive with all-wheel drive available.

  • The Palisade has more horsepower but the Atlas beats it in peak torque with 273 lb-ft compared to 262 lb-ft for the Palisade.
  • The Atlas gets a little better fuel mileage with EPA estimates of 20 city / 27 highway / 23 combined mpg beating the Palisade by one mpg for all three figures.
  • Multi-level heated and cooled front seats are standard on the Atlas but require an upgrade for the Palisade.
  • The Atlas standard heated steering wheel requires an upgrade on the Palisade.
    For front passengers, the Atlas has more head, hip, and shoulder room than the Palisade.
  • For 2nd row passengers, the Atlas has more head, hip, and shoulder room than the Palisade
  • The Atlas is more accommodating for 3rd-row passengers with more leg, head, and hip room than the Palisade.
  • The Atlas wheelbase is over three inches longer than the Palisade for more room and a more stable highway ride.
  • The Atlas has the Palisade beat with more cargo space in all configurations:
    • All seats up: 20.6 vs. 18.0 cubic feet
    • 3rd row down: 55.5 vs. 45.8 cubic feet
    • All seats down: 98.8 vs. 86.4. cubic feet
  • When it comes to the things you want a 3-row crossover for, namely carrying people and/or cargo, the Atlas beats the Palisade hands down.

Volkswagen Atlas vs. Kia Telluride

While sharing none of its exterior or interior styling, the Kia Telluride is mechanically identical to the Hyundai Palisade with the same platform and drivetrains. Thus, many of the Atlas advantages over the Palisade are the same for the Telluride.

  • The price-comparable Kia Telluride model to the base Atlas would be the Telluride S.
  • The Telluride has more horsepower but the Atlas beats it in peak torque with 273 lb-ft compared to 262 lb-ft for the Telluride.
  • The Atlas gets a little better highway and thus combined EPA-estimates fuel mileage than the Telluride with 27 and 23 respectively compared to 26 / 22 for the Telluride
  • The Atlas standard multi-level ventilated front seats are not available on the Telluride S.
  • A heated steering wheel is standard on the Atlas but requires an upgrade on the Telluride.
  • Font passengers in the Atlas have more head, hip, and shoulder room than the Telluride.
  • The Atlas is more accommodating for 3rd-row passengers with over two inches more legroom than the Telluride as well as more head and hip room.
  • The Atlas wheelbase is over three inches longer than the Telluride for more room and a more stable highway ride.
  • When 3rd row seats are down, the Atlas has 55.5 cubic feet of cargo space compared to 46.0 for the Telluride.
  • When 3rd and 2nd-row seats are down the Atlas’s 96.8 cubic feet of cargo space is significantly more than the Telluride’s 46.0.
  • Like its Hyundai cousin, when it comes to the business of carrying people or cargo, the Atlas has the Telluride beat.

Volkswagen Atlas vs. Nissan Pathfinder

The Nissan Pathfinder dates back to 1985 when it was essentially a wagon-shaped version of the compact Hardbody Pickup with a 2nd row of seats but still just two doors. A second set of doors was soon added but the big changes came when a third row was added to a larger Pathfinder in 2005 and when the model went to unibody construction in 2013, sharing its platform with the Altima, Murano, and other Nissan models. Now in its 5th generation, the Pathfinder is solely powered by a 3.5-liter normally aspirated V6 and features either front- or all-wheel drive.

  • As often when compared to V6 engines, the Atlas has less horsepower than the Pathfinder but more torque with 273 lb-ft compared to the Pathfinder’s 259 lb-ft.
  • The fuel mileage of both models is nearly identical with the AWD version of the Atlas being rated at one mpg higher than the Pathfinder AWD.
  • The Atlas’s standard heated and ventilated front seats are not matched by the base Pathfinder.
  • The standard heated steering wheel and side mirrors on the Atlas require trim upgrades on the Pathfinder.
  • The Atlas’s standard Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) with dynamic cornering lights is unavailable on the Pathfinder.
  • The standard in-car Wi-Fi on the Atlas requires an upgrade on the Pathfinder.
  • At 117.3 inches the Atlas wheelbase is longer than the Pathfinder’s 114.2
  • The Atlas has significantly more legroom for passengers with more than two inches for the 2nd row (37.6 vs. 35.5) and over five inches (33.7 vs. 28.0 more for 3rd-row passengers.
  • The Atlas also has more, hip, shoulder, and headroom for 2nd-row passengers and more headroom for 3rd-row passengers.
  • The Atlas has significantly more cargo space in all configurations:
    • All seats up: 20.6 vs. 16.6 cubic feet
    • 3rd row down: 55.5 vs. 45.0 cubic feet
    • All seats down: 98.8 vs. 80.5 cubic feet
  • The Atlas has greater maximum towing capacity than the Pathfinder with the Atlas at 5,000 pounds and the Pathfinder at 3,500 pounds.
  • The Atlas has a longer-lasting basic warranty with 4 years / 50K miles vs. the Pathfinder’s 3 years and 36K miles.
  • The two years or 20K miles of free maintenance on the Atlas is not standard on Pathfinder models.
  • The Atlas outclasses the Nissan Pathfinder in just about every important 3-row crossover metric.

Volkswagen Atlas vs. the Chevrolet Traverse

While the better-known 3-row models from Chevrolet are the full-size truck-based Tahoe and Suburban, the Traverse is the brand’s model for carrying three rows of people with a car-like ride and dynamics. The Traverse is still fairly old-school with its normally-aspirated 3.6-liter V6 as the heart of its drivetrain. Though having been on the market for 13 years, the Traverse is still in its 2nd generation which came out in the 2018 model year.

  • While the Traverse has more horsepower, the Atlas has a higher peak torque of 273 lb-ft vs. 266.
  • The Atlas’s smaller turbocharged engine gets better city and combined fuel mileage with EPA estimates of 20 vs. 18 for the city and 23 vs. 21 combined.
  • Popular features that are standard on the Atlas but cost extra on the Traverse include:
    • Blind spot system
    • Adaptive cruise control
    • Heated and ventilated front seats
    • Heated steering wheel and side mirrors
    • Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) w/ dynamic cornering lights
  • The Atlas has a standard 12-inch touchscreen compared to an 8-inch touchscreen for the Traverse.
  • The Atlas has a standard 6-way power driver’s seat vs. the 6-way manual driver seat that is standard on the Traverse.
  • The Atlas has standard Active Lane Keeping Assist that can re-center the vehicle as opposed to just a warning on the Traverse.
  • The Atlas has a longer-lasting basic warranty with 4 years / 50K miles vs. the Traverse’s 3 years and 36K miles.
  • The two years or 20K miles of free maintenance on the Atlas is not standard on Traverse models.
  • The Traverse and Atlas are pretty close in interior room but the Atlas has an edge in front leg and hip room, 2nd-row hip room, and 3rd-row legroom.
  • Feature for feature, the Atlas is the 3-row crossover you want.

Volkswagen Atlas vs. the GMC Acadia

Given the history of GMC cloning Chevrolet models, the initial expectation for the Acadia is that it is simply a rebadged Traverse. However the Acadia has about an 8-inch shorter wheelbase than the Traverse and instead of the latter’s V6, the Acadia is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 engine much like the Atlas.

  • While the engine configurations are similar, the Atlas has significantly more horsepower at 269 vs. 228 for the Acadia.
  • The Atlas also has a significantly higher peak torque of 273 lb-ft. vs. 258 for the Acadia.
  • The Atlas gets better city and combined fuel mileage with EPA estimates of 20 vs. 18 for the city and 23 vs. 21 combined.
  • Popular features that are standard on the Atlas but cost extra on the Traverse include:
    • Adaptive cruise control
    • Heated and ventilated front seats
    • Heated steering wheel and side mirrors
    • Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) with dynamic cornering lights
  • The Atlas has a standard 12-inch touchscreen compared to an 8-inch touchscreen for the Acadia.
  • The Atlas has a standard 6-way power adjustable driver’s seat vs. the 4-way manual driver seat that is standard on the Acadia.
  • The Atlas has more overall passenger volume than the Acadia with 154 cubic feet vs. 144. This can be seen with more leg and hip room for front passengers, more head and hip room for 2nd-row passengers, and more leg and headroom for 3rd-row passengers.
  • The Atlas has a longer-lasting basic warranty with 4 years / 50K miles vs. the Acadia’s 3 years and 36K miles.
  • The two years or 20K miles of free maintenance on the Atlas is not standard on Acadia models.
  • The Atlas has a five-inch longer wheelbase than the Acadia for a more stable highway ride.
  • The smaller Acadia causes it to have significantly less cargo space than the Atlas in all configurations:
    • All seats up: 20.6 vs. 12.8 cubic feet
    • 3rd row down: 55.5 vs. 41.7 cubic feet
    • All seats down: 98.8 vs. 79.0. cubic feet
  • The Atlas has a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds compared to 4,000 pounds for the Acadia.
  • For everything you want in a 3-row crossover, the Atlas beats the Acadia.

Volkswagen Atlas vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee L

While Jeep has the new 3-row Wagoneer model, its price range is way above that of the models in this class. For this segment, Jeep has an extended version of the Grand Cherokee known simply as the Grand Cherokee L which is equipped with a 3rd row seat. The Grand Cherokee L is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 and is available in either rear or four-wheel drive.

  • The Grand Cherokee L is a bit premium priced with a starting MSRP of $41,535. A price-equivalent Atlas would be the SE with Technology at $41,665.
  • The maximum seating capacity for the Atlas is seven compared to six for the Grand Cherokee L.
  • As usual, when compared to V6 engines, the Grand Cherokee L has more horsepower (296 vs. 296) but less peak torque (273 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm vs. 260 lb-ft @ 4,000).
  • The Atlas has better fuel mileage with an EPA City/Hwy/Combined mpg estimate of 20 / 27 / 23 vs. 19 / 26 / 21 for 2WD models. The figures drop about 1 mpg for all/four-wheel drive models.
  • The Atlas has more interior room in almost all dimensions including:
    • Front passengers: More, head, leg, hip, and shoulder room (41.3 / 41.7 / 58.2 / 64.5 inches respectively vs. 57.4 / 41.3 / 57.4 / 59.2)
    • 2nd-row passengers: More head, hip, and shoulder room (40.4 / 58.0 / 60.8 vs. 39.9 / 56.3 / 58.0)
    • 3rd-row passengers: More head, leg, hip, and shoulder room (38.3 / 33.7 / 45.1 / 54.9 vs. 37.3 / 30.3 / 42.9 / 51.9) In case it is lost in the figures, the Atlas has 3.4 inches more 3rd-row legroom.
  • Atlas has more cargo space with all seats up (20.6 vs. 17.2 cubic feet) and with all seats down (98.8 vs. 84.6 cubic feet) Jeep doesn’t post the cargo space with just the 3rd-row seats down but these figures imply it’s likely less than the Atlas.
  • The Grand Cherokee does not have standard heated and ventilated front seats as in the Atlas.
  • The Atlas SE with Technology sports 20-inch wheels compared to 18 inches for the Grand Cherokee L.
  • The Atlas standard Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) w/ dynamic cornering light system is unavailable on the Grand Cherokee L.
  • The Atlas SE with Technology comes with a hands-free power tailgate compared to just a manual tailgate for the base Grand Cherokee L.
  • The Atlas has a longer-lasting basic warranty with 4 years / 50K miles vs. the Grand Cherokee L’s 3 years and 36K miles.
  • The two years or 20K miles of free maintenance on the Atlas is not standard on the Grand Cherokee L.
  • If you are regularly planning on taking three rows of passengers for some rugged off-roading, the Grand Cherokee L is a strong contender, but for anything else, the Atlas is the better vehicle to own.

Visit Volkswagen of Duluth today to experience the fun and amazing in a New Atlas. If you are a proud Atlas owner and are in need of Manufacturer Suggested Maintenance or Service, schedule an appointment today. Would you like to update your pre-owned Atlas? Find the value of your current vehicle or contact our team so we can help you fall in love with your new model year of the Volkswagen Atlas.

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