2023 Volkswagen Atlas

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2023 Volkswagen Atlas Review: The Three-Row Guarantee

In the vast realm of midsize three-row crossover SUVs, the Volkswagen Atlas stands out as a vehicle that actually offers decent third-row space. Top that off with VW's reputation for quality and refinement, and you've got yourself an SUV worthy of praise. The VW Atlas features a 235-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder in base form, but those after more power can spec the 276-hp V6 option with a tow rating of 5,000 lbs. Power is sent to the front or an all-wheel-drive system via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Some Volkswagen Atlas competitors such as the Mazda CX-9 might have plusher interiors, but the Atlas puts up a good fight taking on the Mazda and other rivals such as the Kia Telluride, Toyota Highlander, and Subaru Ascent.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 8 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 7 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 10 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 8 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
8.2
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2023 Volkswagen Atlas Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 Atlas?

For 2023, the new Volkswagen Atlas SUV lineup in the USA loses the SEL R-Line trim. The fully configurable digital 10.25-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit gauge cluster is standard on all but the base model this year too, being fitted to every trim from the SE w/ Technology Package and up. These are the only tweaks and the Atlas otherwise continues unchanged.

Pros and Cons

  • Spacious third row and trunk
  • Impressive towing capacity
  • User-friendly tech features
  • Good warranty
  • Fine ride/handling compromise
  • Uncompetitive performance and economy
  • Not a real off-roader
  • Uninspiring interior
  • Dimwitted transmission

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2023 Volkswagen Atlas Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0T SE
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$35,150
2.0T SE TECH
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$39,320
V6 SE TECH
3.6L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$41,070
2.0T SEL
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$44,940
V6 SEL
3.6L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$46,690
See All 2023 Volkswagen Atlas Trims and Specs

2023 Volkswagen Atlas Handling and Driving Impressions

This is a three-row SUV, so nimble steering and razor-sharp response times are not its forte. What the Atlas is good at is offering a reassuring driving experience that is predictable and comfortable. Steering is light and precise, making this midsize SUV easy to steer in the city, and it manages to keep its composure when going through tighter corners, with minimal body roll. This SUV shines on the open road: the cabin is well-insulated, and the suspension copes well with undulations, providing a comfortable ride. Both the four-cylinder and six-cylinder engine options offer enough poke to keep things going above 60 mph, and overtaking is never a problem, but the V6 hardly pulls any harder than the 2.0-liter turbo and is slightly underwhelming. The eight-speed automatic transmission is smooth and responsive most of the time, but can occasionally be a bit indecisive.

Verdict: Is The 2023 Volkswagen Atlas A Good SUV?

Where most three-row midsize SUVs fail to impress in terms of interior space, the VW Atlas bucks the trend by providing a spacious cabin with a truly usable third row and enough cargo space behind the rearmost seats to pack a good amount of shopping. The Atlas also offers an impressive range of standard features, a wide trim selection, and solid build quality. Unfortunately, its engines don't blow us away: the four-cylinder turbo engine is probably the pick of the bunch, as the six-cylinder costs more but doesn't add much performance. The Atlas is a capable city car but makes for an even better highway cruiser. If you're able to pay for the top-tier trims, the Atlas transforms into a premium product that sets the bar high. Every safety review of the Volkswagen Atlas has so far also yielded good results too. Competent as it is, the Atlas doesn't quite rise to the top; there are safer and generally more accomplished rivals in this competitive class.

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2023 Volkswagen Atlas Popular Comparisons

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