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2019 Volkswagen Atlas Review

The 2019 Volkswagen Atlas ranks midpack among midsize SUVs. The Atlas has a spacious cabin and a user-friendly infotainment system, but its underpowered engine lineup and hit-and-miss cabin quality keep it from a top spot in this competitive segment.

Pros & Cons

  • Lots of cargo room
  • Spacious in all three rows
  • Intuitive infotainment system
  • Drives like a smaller vehicle
  • Slow acceleration
  • Some cheap cabin materials

Rankings & Awards

The 2019 Volkswagen Atlas's #10 ranking is based on its score within the 2019 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. It was a finalist for our 2019 Best 3-Row SUV for the Money award. Currently the Volkswagen Atlas has a score of 7.9 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 28 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.3
Performance: 6.9
Interior: 9.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.5
Safety: 9.7
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas a Good Used SUV?

Yes, the Atlas is a good used midsize SUV. It features adult-friendly space in all three rows and one of the largest cargo capacities in the class. It also has an impressive list of standard tech and safety features that includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

The Atlas' only major drawback is its tepid acceleration, and that's something you'll find in both four-cylinder and V6 models. Both the 2019 Honda Pilot and 2019 Mazda CX-9 provide stronger base engines.

Compare the Atlas, Pilot, and CX-9 »

Why You Can Trust Us

To give you a complete overview of the 2019 Atlas – and make your car-shopping experience easier – we analyzed 28 Volkswagen Atlas reviews alongside performance specs, interior dimensions, and more.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our crew has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we do not accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an external company manages the ads on our site.

How Much is the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas?

Based on listings for the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas, the average list price is $27,495. Prices range from $27,495 to $43,479 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas Cost to Own?

The 2019 Atlas’ five-year costs for gas, insurance, taxes, fees, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $27,520, or $5,504 per year. That’s below average for the class.

2018 vs. 2019 Volkswagen Atlas: What's the Difference?

Aside from gaining more standard safety features, the 2019 Atlas is otherwise identical to the 2018 model. These newly standard features – including a post-collision braking system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection – were available as options in the all-new 2018 Atlas.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Atlas review to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

Compare the 2018 and 2019 Atlas »

How Reliable Is the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas?

The 2019 Atlas has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about Atlas reliability »

2019 Volkswagen Atlas Recalls

There have been 5 safety recalls issued from NHTSA.

FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:STORAGE:TANK ASSEMBLY Recall Date: 08/20/2019
  • Summary: Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain 2019 Atlas vehicles. The suction jet in the fuel tank may have been welded in the incorrect position allowing fuel to leak. Additionally, the vehicle may stall due to uneven fuel distribution.
  • Potential Number of Units Affected: 6
  • Consequence: A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source increases the risk of a fire. An engine stall can increase the risk of a crash.
  • Remedy: Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel tank, free of charge. The recall began August 30, 2019. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 20BU.
  • Dates of Manufacture: JUL 22, 2019 to JUL 24, 2019
  • Manufacturer Recall Number: 20BU
  • NHTSA Campaign ID: 19V614000
EXTERIOR LIGHTING:HEADLIGHTS Recall Date: 05/21/2019
  • Summary: Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain 2012-2020 Volkswagen Passat and 2018-2019 Atlas vehicles. The blocking cap disabling the adjustment of the headlight's horizontal aim may not have been installed. As such, these vehicles fail to conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 108, "Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment."
  • Potential Number of Units Affected: 662185
  • Consequence: Without the blocking cap, the headlight aim can be adjusted out of specification, reducing visibility and increasing the risk of a crash.
  • Remedy: Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and, as necessary, block the headlight horizontal adjustment, free of charge. The recall began July 16, 2019. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-253-2834. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 94L9.
  • Dates of Manufacture: NOV 16, 2016 to FEB 11, 2019
  • Manufacturer Recall Number: 94L9
  • NHTSA Campaign ID: 19V389000
AIR BAGS:SIDE/WINDOW Recall Date: 03/19/2019
  • Summary: Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain 2019 Atlas and 2020 Passat vehicles. An incorrect driver and/or front passenger side impact air bag may have been installed.
  • Potential Number of Units Affected: 3
  • Consequence: In an event of a side impact crash, an incorrect side airbag may not deploy as intended, increasing the risk of injury.
  • Remedy: Volkswagen has inspected and replaced the side air bags, free of charge. The recall was completed in April 2019. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 69Y8.
  • Dates of Manufacture: OCT 30, 2018 to FEB 11, 2019
  • Manufacturer Recall Number: 69Y8
  • NHTSA Campaign ID: 19V218000
SUSPENSION:REAR:SPRINGS:COIL SPRINGS Recall Date: 12/18/2018
  • Summary: Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain 2018-2019 Volkswagen Atlas, 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, and 2019 Volkswagen Jetta vehicles. The rear coil springs may prematurely fracture.
  • Potential Number of Units Affected: 6322
  • Consequence: If a coil spring fractures while driving, it may damage a rear tire causing a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.
  • Remedy: Volkswagen has notified owners, and dealers will replace the rear axle coil springs, free of charge. The recall began January 31, 2019. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 42J2/42J3.
  • Dates of Manufacture: MAY 13, 2018 to OCT 25, 2018
  • Manufacturer Recall Number: 42J2/42J3
  • NHTSA Campaign ID: 18V904000
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM: INSTRUMENT PANEL Recall Date: 11/25/2018
  • Summary: Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain 2018-2019 Volkswagen Atlas and Tiguan and 2019 Volkswagen Jetta vehicles that do not have keyless entry. The instrument cluster may not provide an audible warning to let the driver know that the key is still in the ignition when the door is open. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 114, "Theft Protection."
  • Potential Number of Units Affected: 73549
  • Consequence: If the driver is not notified by an audible noise that the key is left in the ignition, it can increase the risk of vehicle theft or crash.
  • Remedy: Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the instrument cluster, free of charge. The recall began December 13, 2018. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298. Volkswagen's numbers for this recall are 90L3 and 90L4.
  • Dates of Manufacture: DEC 21, 2016 to NOV 09, 2018
  • Manufacturer Recall Number: 90L3 / 90L4
  • NHTSA Campaign ID: 18V824000

See more information on Volkswagen Atlas safety recalls »

Which Used Volkswagen Atlas Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2019 Volkswagen Atlas comes in seven trim levels: S, SE, SE with Technology, SE with Technology R-Line, SEL, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium.

The entry-level S trim has plenty of tech and safety features, making it a good choice. A V6 engine is standard in all but the base trim, but you can find base models equipped with the V6. It isn’t really worth tracking down four-cylinder-equipped base models, though, since they have even slower acceleration than models with the V6.

All-wheel drive is available in all trims except the Premium, which comes standard with AWD. Four-cylinder models are not available with AWD.

  • Volkswagen Atlas S: The base S trim comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission. It also has cloth upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a USB port, six speakers, and Bluetooth. All Atlas models come with a rearview camera, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
  • Volkswagen Atlas SE: The Atlas SE builds on the base trim with a V6 engine, an 8-inch touch screen, three additional USB ports, satellite radio, HD Radio, heated front seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, synthetic leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and fog lights.
  • Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology: This trim adds adaptive cruise control, remote start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a power liftgate. SE with Technology R-Line models have unique exterior styling.
  • Volkswagen Atlas SEL: The SEL trim comes with a heated steering wheel, a sunroof, a navigation system, a 10-inch digital instrument display, front and rear parking sensors, and a hands-free liftgate. SEL R-Line models have unique exterior styling.
  • Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium: The range-topping SEL Premium trim gains all-wheel drive, first- and second-row leather seats, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a surround-view parking camera system, parallel park assist, and a 12-speaker Fender audio system.

See 2019 Volkswagen Atlas trims and specs »

What Does Volkswagen's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Volkswagen offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles seven years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. You receive the balance of the new-car warranty when you purchase a CPO model. Depending on your car’s model year, you get a limited comprehensive warranty that takes effect once the new-car warranty has expired or on the sale date of the CPO VW vehicle. For 2018 and newer VWs, the limited comprehensive warranty is good for one year or 12,000 miles. The length of the warranty increases to two years or 24,000 miles for 2017-and-older gas, hybrid, and electric vehicles. Finally, 2016 and older TDI vehicles get a two-year/unlimited miles warranty.

VW CPO vehicles must pass a 100-plus-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing, a Carfax vehicle history report, a three-month SiriusXM All-Access satellite radio trial subscription, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volkswagen warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Volkswagen’s CPO program is the least robust of all auto manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Atlas?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 Atlas an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2019 Atlas the highest rating of Good in all crash tests. The SEL Premium trim received the second-lowest rating of Marginal for how well its headlights illuminate the road ahead. All other Atlas models got the lowest rating of Poor.

The IIHS uses a different scale for grading collision avoidance features. This vehicle earned the highest rating of Superior for its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Post-collision braking system
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers

Available advanced safety features:

  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Parallel park assist

See Atlas safety scores »

2019 Volkswagen Atlas Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2019 Volkswagen Atlas or 2019 Mazda CX-9?

The 2019 Mazda CX-9 is a more well-rounded vehicle than the Atlas. The Mazda features a stronger engine and a richer interior than the Atlas, and it has precise steering and some of the best fuel economy ratings in the midsize SUV class. The Atlas offers more cargo and passenger space, but the CX-9 has a higher predicted reliability rating. Unless you need the Atlas’ additional space, stick with the CX-9.

Which Is Better: 2019 Volkswagen Atlas or 2019 Honda Pilot?

The 2019 Honda Pilot has a lot in common with the Atlas, including an adult-friendly third row, ample cargo room, a comfortable ride, and easy maneuverability. However, the Pilot comes standard with a V6 engine and delivers quicker acceleration. Still, the Atlas comes out ahead because it's more affordable and earns a slightly higher predicted reliability rating.

Compare the Atlas, CX-9, and Pilot »

2019 Atlas Performance

How Does the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas Drive?

The base turbocharged four-cylinder engine has sufficient power for commuting around town, but it struggles when you're trying to quickly pass and merge on the highway. Upgrading to the stronger V6 engine doesn’t improve matters much. On the plus side, both engines come with a smooth-shifting automatic transmission. The Atlas remains composed when taking corners, and it delivers a comfortable ride, even over rough roads.

  • Base engine: 235-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder
  • Available engine: 276-horsepower 3.6-liter V6
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: eight-speed automatic
Does the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas Get Good Gas Mileage?

When equipped with its standard four-cylinder engine, the Atlas gets great gas mileage. Fuel economy figures for V6-equipped models are about average for the midsize SUV class.

  • Four-cylinder, FWD: 20/26 mpg city/highway
  • V6, FWD: 17/24 mpg
  • V6, AWD: 17/23 mpg
2019 Volkswagen Atlas Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Atlas can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Read more about Atlas performance »

2019 Atlas Interior

How Many People Does the 2019 Atlas Seat?

The 2019 Atlas seats seven people in its standard configuration or six people with its available second-row captain’s chairs. This VW has abundant cabin space, even in its third row. The second-row seats tilt and slide, which makes it easier to get into and out of the third row. However, interior quality is a mixed bag. While the Atlas looks upscale inside, there are some hard plastics that make it less appealing than some class rivals.

Standard seating features:

  • Cloth upholstery

Available seating features:

  • Synthetic leather upholstery
  • Genuine leather upholstery
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Heated second-row seats
  • Second-row captain’s chairs
  • Rear sunshades
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas?

The 2019 Atlas has three complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in its second row as well as a tether-only connection for each of its third-row seats.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this LATCH system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use. The upper tethers are easy to find, but the lower anchors are too deep in the seats and require too much force to attach.

2019 Volkswagen Atlas Features

The Atlas features a user-friendly infotainment system with a responsive touch screen. This Volkswagen is also available with Digital Cockpit, which replaces the traditional gauge cluster with a customizable digital display that shows navigation, vehicle information, climate and audio settings, and more.  

  • Standard infotainment features: a 6.5-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a USB port, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker audio system
  • Available infotainment features: 10-inch Digital Cockpit gauge cluster, an 8-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker audio system, a 12-speaker Fender stereo, navigation, and satellite radio
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Other available features: tri-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, remote start, and a sunroof

See 2019 Volkswagen Atlas specs »

Read more about Atlas interior »

2019 Volkswagen Atlas Dimensions

Volkswagen Atlas Cargo Space

This Volkswagen has one of the roomiest cargo areas in the midsize SUV class. You’ll find 20.6 cubic feet of storage space behind the rear seats, 55.5 cubic feet with the second row folded, and a maximum cargo capacity of 96.8 cubic feet with both rows folded.

A power liftgate and a hands-free liftgate are also available.

2019 Volkswagen Atlas Length and Weight
  • Length: about 16 feet, 6 inches
  • Curb weight: between 4,242 to 4,528 pounds

Where Was the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas Built?

Volkswagen built the 2019 Atlas in Tennessee.

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