Written by Marco Carvajal
2021 Atlas V6 SEL Premium R-Line 4MOTION
The Volkswagen Atlas is Volkswagen’s first three-row midsize SUV. Killer stylish exterior image with a very spacious interior and comfortable ride. The 2021 Atlas V6 SEL Premium R-Line I am test driving is a special limited edition of the Atlas, full of premium features.
The Atlas has been very successful in the very competitive segment of three-row SUVs, since its debut in 2018. Not everyone knows the Atlas or has driven it, but those who know the Atlas usually love it.
I loved the interior of the Volkswagen Atlas since the first time I drove it during its launch back in 2018, and now a few years later, I still enjoy the perfect optimized interior for families and large groups.
With only three years of production and very successful sales, new competitors and a rapidly evolving market bring a challenge to Volkswagen, that must offer updates and innovation producing better Atlas like the one I am test driving, the 2021 Atlas V6 SEL Premium R-Line.
2021 Atlas V6 SEL Premium R-Line is a new seven-seat SUV assembled in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This limited edition is only sold by special order and it has design upgrades, new driver assistance, and infotainment features.
Volkswagen is the largest automaker in Europe and one of the largest in the world, the brand keeps innovating with new succesful products like the Atlas and producing several cars in their international plants including the United States, but competition is not easy, the car market keeps evolving and every day is a challenge.
Smaller Atlas Cross Sport 2 Rows. The regular Atlas version, the one I am test driving, is a 3 row 7 seater, but Volkswagen also has created a smaller version of the Atlas, a 2 rows 5 seats SUVs, the Atlas Cross Sport. The Cross Sport is smaller than the regular Atlas. For drivers who need more space, the regular Atlas is the right choice.
Engine and Performance
The Atlas is powered under the hood by one of these two different engines, depending on the trim, with a 3.6L V6 engine with 276 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque or a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are strong enough for any ride and the selection of the engine depends on off-road needs, towing, and also fuel economy as the V6 engine will spend more gas.
The turbocharged four-cylinder engine is available on top trims, and all-wheel drive is available with both the turbocharged four-cylinder and VR6 engines.
The Atlas transmission includes eight speeds for better efficiency and performance. The transmission can be used in Tiptronic mode where you can shift speeds manually. The transmission of the Atlas is very efficient and elevates performance.
Ready for any off-road or weather conditions, the driver onboard the Atlas can switch between four different all-wheel-drive modes in order to ride in any conditions.
The new advanced 4 wheel system, Volkswagen’s 4Motion with Active Control all-wheel-drive system is available with both V6 and also in the turbocharged four-cylinder powertrain options for the first time in the new 2021 Atlas.
The new latest-generation 4Motion system is designed to activate before wheelspin occurs, helping eliminate traction losses. This smart four-wheel system achieves its goal by using an advanced control function based on specific driving conditions.
The Atlas is very spacious, just what Americans love in a 3-row SUV. The exterior design of the 2021 Atlas has redesigned headlights, bumpers, taillights, and a new grille. Also, the interior of the Atlas received some small updates like a new steering wheel and the addition of new driver aids, including a system that can scan road signs.
This SUV is an ideal family SUV, with 3 large rows, a nice contemporary design, new technology, and fun onboard to keep everyone entertained, good value for the money priced very reasonably.
The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas 2.0T SE 4MOTION is a real family car. The Atlas was created with children and passengers in mind. This 3-row 7 seater provides space and fun inside and outside for all the family on board.
The Atlas has excellent space distribution that makes you feel you are inside an even larger SUV.
The Atlas is a great SUV, but Volkswagen encounters a big challenge as many SUV buyers don’t know the Atlas yet, since it is a very new SUV, just 3 years old. Marketing penetration and word of mouth is necessary.
Competitor brands like Toyota, Nissan, Honda Mazda, and Ford have penetrated the SUV market and new buyers have known them for a much longer time than the Atlas, but with the quality and great options available within the Atlas lineup makes it a very good player in the SUV market.
The Atlas is an American Volkswagen, built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, proudly made in the United States.
Highlights for the 2021 Atlas V6 SEL Premium R-Line 4MOTION
- 16 City / 22 Hwy
- 276 hp and 265 lb-ft
- 4MOTION all-wheel drive
- 3.6L V6 engine
- 8-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic and Sport mode
- Start-Stop System
- 21-inch. two-tone machined alloy wheels
- LED performance headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
- R-Line bumpers and badging
- Rain-sensing windshield wipers
- Fender Premium Audio System
- Overhead View Camera (Area View)
- Climatronic dual-zone automatic climate control
- Heated 2nd-row outboard seats
- Heated steering wheel
- App-Connect with wireless capability
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
- Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution, and Hydraulic Brake Assist
- Electronic Stability Control, Anti-Slip Regulation, Electronic Differential Lock, and Engine Brake Assist
- Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Traffic Alert.
The Atlas 2020 and 2021 years got the highest safety rating from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Trims and Pricing for the 2021 Atlas
The Atlas is available in eight trim levels for the 2021 model year.
Trim levels: S, SE, SE with Technology, SE with R-Line Technology, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL Premium, and SEL Premium R-Line.
Models SEL R-Line and SEL Premium R-Line are only available as a special order.
The Atlas is available as Forward-Wheel Drive or 4Motion (All-Wheel-Drive). Pricing varies from $31,000 up to $50,000 depending on the trim model and additional options and packages selected.
2021 Atlas S
$30,855 Starting MSRP
2021 Atlas SE
$34,205 Starting MSRP
2021 Atlas SE with Technology
$36,245 Starting MSRP
2021 Atlas SE with Technology R-Line
$39,045 Starting MSRP
2021 Atlas SEL
$41,625 Starting MSRP
2021 Atlas SEL R-Line
$43,325 Starting MSRP
2021 Atlas SEL Premium
$46,525 Starting MSRP
2021 Atlas SEL Premium R-Line
$50,025 Starting MSRP
Atlas is larger than any other Volkswagen, sitting 200.7 inches long, 78.4 inches wide, and 70.1 inches high. Overall height remains the same as the 2020 Atlas, but the new 2021 Atlas is 2.4 inches longer than before due to its restyled front and rear bumpers.
The sportier R-Line I am test driving adds R-Line badging; unique front and rear bumpers that incorporate stylish air intakes at the front and a diffusor in glossy black paint at the rear, as well as side skirts, emphasizing the premium profile of the Atlas.
SEL Premium R-Line trims includes 21-inch alloy wheels and 265/45 all-season tires.
Climatronic 3-zone automatic climate control and roomy 2nd and 3rd-row seating are part of the features available on every Atlas.
The Atlas accommodates three rows for seven passengers, the spacious and comfortable 2nd row has room for three child seats, something very difficult to find in other SUVs.
All 2021 Atlas models feature innovative Volkswagen MIB touchscreen infotainment systems. For the model year 2021, Car-Net Services will be offered in three areas: Remote Access, Safe & Secure, and Hotspot.
The interior of the new 2021 Atlas is better than the previous model, with more advanced technology, with connected and comfortable features.
New interior enhancements include a leatherette-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, available contrast-stitching on the leather seating surfaces and door trim, and an 8-inch Composition Media infotainment system on all Atlas models.
Available features in the new Atlas include the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, Fender Premium Audio System, ambient lighting, 3-zone Climatronic climate control, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, wireless charging, and remote start.
Captain’s Chairs are available on SE trim models and higher, replacing the standard three-passenger, second-row bench seat with two individual seats for even greater comfort and adjustability, providing a more luxurious feel inside the Atlas.
The Atlas provides passive and active safety systems. It features six airbags as standard, front and side airbags for front passengers, and side curtain airbags for outboard seating positions. Several safety features like Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) are included.
Optional features include Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist); Blind Spot Monitor; Rear Traffic Alert; Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Lane-Keeping System (Lane Assist); Traffic Jam Assist; Park Distance Control; Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist); Dynamic Road Sign Display; High Beam Control (Light Assist); and Overhead View Camera (Area View).
New for this year the updated Atlas includes new driver tools, including a system that can scan traffic signs. This feature can help you know what is the speed limit is for the road you are driving and other advanced features to enjoy a safer ride onboard the Atlas.
Volkswagen Car-Net is a system that allows Volkswagen owners to get connected to their vehicles. The 2021 Atlas features the next generation Car-Net with an updated mobile app, a long list of no-charge services for five years, and new subscription options. Advanced Car-Net Services suite is offered in four main features, Remote Access, Safe & Secure, Hotspot, and Guide & Inform.
Car-Net includes services like Family Guardian services and Roadside Call Assist can provide added peace-of-mind for all the family. Speed alert notifies the owner when the pre-determined maximum speed limit is exceeded something that can be a great tool to monitor the driving style of children or guests. You can limit the area of driving for your children or guests, a boundary alert lets the owner know when the vehicle has traveled outside of a pre-set virtual boundary.
Curfew Alert notifies the owner if the vehicle is driven outside the specified timeframe, while Valet Alert alerts if the vehicle is driven more than 0.2 miles from the valet drop-off location.
The advanced Car-Net app allows users to control who receives notifications by designating primary and secondary users, with varying levels of control and functionality for each. Notifications can come in the form of text messages, emails, or push notifications from the mobile app itself.
Car-Net services include Remote Access, Car Health Reports, the New Driver program, Safe and Secure, Hotspot. If the Atlas becomes disabled, Roadside Call Assist is available at the touch of the wrench button.
The Atlas is a very practical modern family car connected to very advanced technologies and offered in several trims and models depending on your needs. If you can afford the SEL R-Line Premium trim model priced around $50K, you will be spoiled with modern features and luxury inside your Atlas.
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