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2021 Volkswagen Atlas Gets New Look, Tech: Chicago Auto Show

Automobile logo Automobile 2/6/2020 Aaron Gold
a car driving on a road: 2021 Volkswagen Atlas 13 © Automobile Magazine Staff 2021 Volkswagen Atlas 13

CHICAGO—If you thought the Volkswagen Atlas' visage was a bit too plain, you're going to like the facelifted 2021 model. Volkswagen has drawn the Atlas' upper grille down deeper into the bumper, giving it a clear resemblance to its smaller brother, the new-for-2020 Atlas Cross Sport. But the lower grille gets its own look, with silver accents highlighting the opening and faux bull bar. It's a good look that gives the understated Atlas some much-needed personality.

Out back, the Atlas gets the upgrade to LED taillights, though the shape and size appear largely unchanged. There's also a more prominent rear bumper, and together with the new jutting jawline it helps to add three inches to the Atlas' overall length.

Volkswagen is also sprucing up the interior with a new steering wheel and optional contrast-color stitching. All but the base model will get an 8" touch-screen infotainment system. Speaking of infotainment, there are a lot of upgrades here, including VW's Car-Net telematics with a host of subscription-based systems. Among them is a 4G-LTE hot spot, over which up to four devices can connect to the Internet via Car-Net's WiFI hot spot.

The engine lineup is unchanged, with a 235 hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four and a 276 hp 3.6 liter V6. What has changed is availability: The 2.0T engine will now be offered on the top-of-the-line SEL model, which previously was V6-only, and you'll be able to get the four-cylinder engine with 4Motion all-wheel-drive.

Those changes should allow buyers to get a nicer and grippier Atlas for a lower price, and that's a good thing. We'll know for sure when prices are announced closer to the 2021 Atlas' launch this spring.

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