The 2020 Volkswagen Atlas is all about providing the basics. For families in need of a vehicle with tons of space, it delivers in abundance. Each seating row is so spacious that you could comfortably fill the Atlas exclusively with 6-footers, while more of their luggage will be able to fit inside than in virtually every competitor. Despite this size advantage, it's competitively priced and equipped, providing families great value for the money – especially when you consider that it comes with an extra year of warranty beyond most non-luxury carmakers. It's a sensible pick, but certainly not a sexy one (if a three-row family crossover can ever be such a thing). Its sub-par interior quality, dull design, underpowered engines and unusually springy ride stand in contrast to competitors that are genuinely luxurious, snazzy to look at, compellingly powered and/or sharp to drive. As such, we think cheaper trim levels represent the Atlas at its strongest. What's new for 2020? The base 2.0-liter turbo engine is no longer exclusive to the base S trim level. Though still exclusively married to front-wheel drive, it also now comes standard on the SE, SE with Technology and SEL trim levels. In-car WiFi and VW's next-generation Car-Net remote services technology is now standard, while the "SE with Technology" trim and SEL Premium get bigger wheels. One final update for 2020: Volkswagen's warranty may be better than more non-luxury brands, but it was actually better last year having been reduced from six years down to four. Note that the new Atlas Cross Sport debuts for 2020, a five-passenger version similar in concept to Honda's Passport/Pilot. It's a separate model, though, so we review it separately. What's the interior and in-car technology like? Interior materials and overall ambiance are disappointing. There is classically austere German design and then there's just plain – the Atlas falls into the latter category. That's especially true in the lower trims, but even swapping out the S and SE's silver plastic accent trim (pictured above right) for the unusual wood-ish substance of the SEL (pictured above left) doesn't snazz things up enough. The quality of plastics, particularly on the center console, is worse than what you'd find in rival SUVs. Upmarket interiors used to be a Volkswagen trademark. Today, it's space and value, which might be fine for many shoppers. In-car technology is a better situation. Even the base Atlas S we tested includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus a touchscreen that's easy to use and see, if a bit small at 6.5 inches. There's only one USB port, however. Stepping up to the SE trim adds an extra three USB ports, satellite radio and an 8-inch touchscreen with effectively the same interface as the 6.5-inch one. That's the infotainment situation for all the upper trim levels, though the SEL does boast the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit that replaces the standard gauge cluster with one digital display. It can simulate regular gauges, or minimize them to show a large …
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|MPG||20 City / 24 Hwy|
|Power||235 @ 4500 rpm|
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