VW hasn’t yet clued us into all the options and packages for the 2021 Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport, but the basics will stay the same from last year.
The 2021 Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport will be available in S, SE, SEL trim with a handful of tech, premium, and R-Line packages adding various creature comforts and colorful accents scattered throughout. The base Atlas costs $32,565 in the base configuration and can reach up toward about $50,000 fully loaded. The Atlas Cross Sport is largely identical, except for a few small differences, and costs about $1,000 less than a comparably equipped Atlas.
It’s a 7 for features thanks to good equipment in every version including the base Atlas S and it gets another point for a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty that’s still generous among competitors.
The base Atlas S gets a 6.5-inch touchscreen for infotainment, active safety features (covered above), cloth upholstery, 18-inch wheels, and three rows of seats (two in the Atlas Cross Sport).
The top SEL goes further with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, driver-assistance features, synthetic leather upholstery, 20-inch wheels, three-zone automatic climate control, premium audio, panoramic sunroof, available captain’s chairs, wireless smartphone charger, and remote start. R-Line versions add sporty interior and exterior touches.
We’d opt for the Atlas SE with technology package that costs $41,215 with a V-6 and all-wheel drive with one caveat—the audio system doesn’t sound great to us. We’ll comfort our bodies instead with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, synthetic leather upholstery, three-zone climate control, 20-inch wheels, and five USB ports.
The premium audio system designed by Fender (yeah, the guitar folks) is reserved for SEL trim levels, and while it sounds great, it also sounds like several thousand more dollars tacked on to the bottom line.
VW’s infotainment is one of the more straightforward systems available from an automaker, and its simplicity is refreshing. We recommend it for nearly every function except for navigation, which isn’t all that great.
Every Atlas gets smartphone compatibility software including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that can sub in for navigation. Buy new cords though; every Atlas for 2021 is likely to be equipped with newer USB-C connectors for phones.
An optional 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster is available on top trims and can be customized to display gauges, navigation maps, or other information. It’s mostly sharp and lag-free, although some menus and other icons can obscure information like the trip meter, and icons for some safety systems can be difficult to read.
Review continues below