2021 Volkswagen Atlas V-6 Tech R-Line with 4Motion: Brawny, big family carrier

8 Jan 2021 | 567 views | No Comment
  ​       By Don Hammonds I admit that I'm a great admirer of Volkswagens. Anytime I was given one to drive, I've always immediately fell in love with them for their snappy, crisp handling, and strong acceleration.  They simply treats to pilot anywhere--and especially on highways. But the Atlas, the company's mid-sized SUV, is something else again. It's big, almost massive in how it presents itself.  It has tons of room inside and given its cargo space, rugged looks, and crisp handling, it's a whole different ballgame from what we usually associate with VW.' And except for one of my favorites, the Tiguan, it is by far one of VW's best offerings for an SUV.  VW has struggled mightily trying to find just the right combination of design, features and performance for crossovers and SUVs, and I think after a number of tries, it finally has hit the sweet spot for families and its a strong seller for the German brand. And with good reason. Take a look:     2021 Volkswagen Atlas V-6 Tech R-Line and 4Motion (All Wheel Drive) Price: Pricing for the V-6 equipped Atlas V-6 with Tech R-Line and 4Motion start at $40,195.   Fuel Economy: The Atlas, with a 3.6 liter, 276 horsepowerV6with 4Motion (VW's vernacular for all wheel drive) has well below average gas mileage.  We are talking 16 city, 18 highway and 22 overall. There are full sized luxury SUVs that do better than that!  I was surprised by how often I had to stop to buy gasoline. Loves that gasoline! Performance: The Atlas may feel a bit sluggish off the line, but things pick up quickly, at least if you order the V6.  Handling is exactly what you would expect from VW--sporty, agile behavior. Steering was a bit light-- I would prefer a little more feedback and more response.  The brakes are excellent, however, and handling is decent, though not necessarily sporty. The Car:  The Atlas, a mid-sized, three rowed SUV for Volkswagen, is a square jawed, rugged looking family car, and it is a big improvement over any number of other station wagons and SUVS that VW has offered.  It feels pretty solid and stable, and doesn't feel quite as sluggish as the model that I tested in 2019. It's been a big seller for VW and for good reason. It's well equipped, has good visibility all around, and is one of the roomiest of its kind on the market. Lots of stretch out room and plenty of cargo room too. But unless you buy the version we tested--snappy looking Atlas SE with the R-Line package, with its cool dark gray wheels, special trim inside and out, the Atlas still doesn't have a lot of shall we say, pizazz and a feeling of driving pleasure. It gets the job done, to be sure, but don't look for a lot of excitement when you get behind the wheel. For 2021, the Atlas has been given a revised front headlights and grille, and around back, you will find different taillights and a generally upgraded look in the rear. The interior has been upgraded, too, but it still doesn't look very inviting compared to some of its competitors.  It still looks pretty austere inside and out,  to me, not comfortable and welcoming. There are some other new items for 2021. You can now get the turbocharged four cylinder engine  on the top trims of the Atlas, and if you are interested in having all wheel drive, it will cost you about $1,300 less.   Technology:
    You can buy your Atlas in a wide variety of versions, including S, SE, SE with Technology, SE  with Technology R-Line, SEL, SEL R-Line and finally, the SEL Premium. If you get the base model S, you get a The base S comes with a 235 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Any other version you might purchase will have a 276 horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 engine Front-wheel drive is standard, and V6 models can also be ordered with all-wheel drive (standard on the SEL Premium). Regardless of engine, every Atlas gets an eight-speed automatic transmission.
        Your base model S will have cloth seating, a bench seat in the second row, LED automatic headlights, dual-zone manual climate control, a rearview camera and cruise control. Forward collision mitigation, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert standard for all Atlas trim levels. The Atlas S also has a 6.5-inch touchscreen interface that offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity. We think you might like the SE better for everyday use. It comes with simulated-leather upholstery, push-button start, a power driver's seat, heated front seats, rear sunshades, three-zone automatic climate control, a larger 8-inch touchscreen interface, Car-Net subscription services, and the option of captain's chairs in the second row.  If you need a bit more, take a look at the SE with Technology, which was what we tested. In addition to getting all the other SE goodies, you will also get as standard equipment  remote engine start, a power rear liftgate, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and an active blind-spot monitor. The lavish life for Atlas owners begins with the SLE, which has as standard equipment,  panoramic sunroof, LED taillights, a power-adjustable front passenger's seat, a heated steering wheel, a hands-free rear liftgate, park distance control, an upgraded touchscreen display with navigation, and the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit. Digital Cockpit is a display that replaces the standard gauge cluster with a reconfigurable video screen that shows a wide variety of information beyond basic speed, fuel and temperature readings. Both the SE with Technology and the SEL are available with the R-Line version, which adds 20-inch wheels, unique bumpers, side skirts and badging, and some unique interior trim. The crème-de-le crème model is the SEL Premium. It adds standard all-wheel drive, automatic high-beam headlights, power-folding mirrors with puddle lamps, full leather seating, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a 12-speaker Fender sound system, a 360-degree surround-view parking camera, and a parking assist system. The SEL Premium also gets its own unique 20-inch wheels, with 21-inchers as an available option.
Safety: Advanced Airbag Protection System, anti-slip brakes, anti slip regulation and engine brake assist, electronic stability control and electronic differential lock, Intelligent Crash Response system. rear view camera system and other items. Aesthetics/styling:   As I mentioned earlier, the R-Line package really made our Atlas look quite sporty--a good thing because the styling is pretty boxy.  But--the other Atlas models, while modestly attractive, won't turn many heads with its boxy, square styling. Fortunately, the grille and the rear end have designs that say "Volkswagen." The interior is quite well done in terms of ergonomics, the straightforward design of the dashboard and controls, and the amenities that it contains. But I do wish they would put a bit more of excitement and interest in the design, materials and trims inside the car. Warranty: Here is an area in which Volkswagen really shines, compared to its competitors. It has a six year/72,000 mile(whichever comes first) new vehicle limited warranty.

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