Volkswagen Readies Refresh for U.S. Success Story
Lusted after by no writer upon its debut, the intentionally inoffensive, strength-projecting Volkswagen Atlas did exactly what the automaker intended. It gave the brand a viable challenger in the midsize utility vehicle space, luring Americans into its Teutonic cabin and generating the margins necessary to help fund VW’s electric vehicle push.
The Atlas is a hit, and the coming year sees it undergo its first refresh. Details follow.
We weren’t at the small, sort-of reveal event in Michigan yesterday, but others were. According to Car and Driver, the 2021 Atlas arriving next May grows 3 inches in length and adopts a face similar to that of the upcoming Atlas Cross Sport two-row. It’s a less blocky, more integrated visage, and it’s no surprise it’s showing up on the Cross Sport’s bigger brother.
All told, the upcoming Atlas is 5.7 inches longer than the Cross Sport. Both models share the same wheelbase.
Also like the Cross Sport, the Atlas has decided to put its thriftiest powertrain and 4Motion all-wheel drive together — something not offered in the previous iteration. Good luck finding any 2.0-liter-equipped Atlas on a dealer lot. It seems both engines (2.0-liter four, 3.6-liter V6) will carry over unchanged, as will the eight-speed automatic.
Elsewhere, VW plans to update the model’s suite of driver-assist features with Dynamic Road Sign Detection and Traffic Jam Assist, the latter feature allowing adaptive cruise control to operate at annoyingly low speeds.
First appearing on VW’s sales charts in May 2017, the Atlas has steadily grown its customer pool. Sales are up 40 percent through the end of November. With a refresh inbound and a new Cross Sport variant on the way, Atlas volume will almost certainly top this year’s sales tally in 2020, likely by a significant margin.
Planning pays off.
Steve203 on Dec 11, 2019
Atlas is way too big for my taste, so, of course, they make it even bigger. I really like the Tiguan, but it too is a bit too big. Why, oh why, don't they put the 2.0 from the base Atlas in the Tig? My guess is the Atlas 2.0 wants premium gas and they know people in the US want to cheap out on everything. VW says they have a smaller CUV in the works, but guesses vary whether it is just the short wheelbase Tig that is offered in Europe, or something smaller. My Jetta wagon is only 6 years old, so VW has plenty of time to come up with something the size I like. If they miss the boat, I was admiring a BMW X1 in the grocery store parking lot the other day. That's more like it, sizewise, but I would have to learn to stop using the turn signals.
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