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2024 Volkswagen Atlas Review: A Spacious, More Fuel-Efficient SUV

2024 Volkswagen Atlas | Photo: K.Soltani
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Khatir Soltani
The 2024 Atlas: innovation, comfort and fuel economy all in one

•    Auto123 reviews the 2024 Volkswagen Atlas.

Faced with fierce competition in the mid-size SUV segment, the 2024 Volkswagen Atlas stands out for its notable improvements in terms of powertrain, on-board space and comfort.

2024 Volkswagen Atlas, profile
2024 Volkswagen Atlas, profile | Photo: K.Soltani

2024 Volkswagen Atlas - what's new?

For 2024, the VW Atlas gets updated with a slightly more powerful engine, an improved interior and six new exterior finishes. This midsize SUV, assembled in the U.S., is designed specifically to meet the expectations of American consumers.

See: 2024 Volkswagen Atlas, first test drive: some welcome tweaks

Powertrain of the 2024 Volkswagen Atlas

The 2024 Volkswagen Atlas is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged engine producing 269 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, surpassing the previous model by 34 hp and 15 lb-ft of torque. 

This direct-injection turbo engine has undergone numerous improvements. It features variable valve timing, acoustic improvements and a larger catalytic converter to meet emissions standards. 

The model (in front-wheel drive configuration) offers EPA-estimated fuel consumption of 11.8/8.7/10.2L/100 km (city/highway/combined), varying slightly according to version. Towing capacity is 2268 kg or 5000 lb for certain models. 

The 2024 Volkswagen Atlas, rear
The 2024 Volkswagen Atlas, rear | Photo: K.Soltani

4Motion system
Volkswagen's 4Motion system with Active Control is the latest generation of the company’s all-wheel drive system. It activates before the wheels slip, reducing traction losses. Under normal conditions, only the front wheels are powered to save fuel, but the rear wheels can be engaged quickly via a central differential actuated by an electro-hydraulic oil pump. 

The system continuously adjusts the torque transmitted to the rear wheels, up to a maximum of 50 percent. In addition, electronic side differential locks, integrated into the electronic stability control system, can briefly brake a slipping wheel to maintain stable traction.

2024 Volkswagen Atlas, dashboard
2024 Volkswagen Atlas, dashboard | Photo: K.Soltani

Driving modes
The Volkswagen Atlas features a Drive Mode Select system with five driving modes (Eco, Comfort, Sport, Snow and Off-Road) plus Custom. This system adjusts the operating parameters of the engine, transmission, steering and adaptive cruise control, as well as traction assistance systems such as hill descent control and hill start assist. In Snow mode, it optimizes traction and reduces engine power in the event of slippage. Off-road mode adds manual transmission control and activates hill descent control.

Exterior design of 2024 Volkswagen Atlas
Exterior design of 2024 Volkswagen Atlas | Photo: K.Soltani

Driving the 2024 Volkswagen Atlas

On the road, the 2024 Atlas shows a clear improvement in performance and fuel economy thanks to the update turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine, compared with the previous model equipped with the V6 engine. 

In previous tests, the V6-equipped Atlas consumed over 14L/100 km in mixed driving, while recent city tests with the 4-cylinder engine showed consumption reduced to around 11.5L/100 km. 

Although the engine is smaller in displacement, downsizing from 3.6 to 2.0 litres, it's just as pleasant to drive - provided you don't push it too hard. 

Furthermore, the 2024 Atlas makes no compromises when it comes to comfort and generous interior space. With three rows of seats, the SUV can accommodate up to seven passengers, ensuring flexibility for families. There's plenty of legroom and headroom in all rows, making long journeys more enjoyable. It is one of the few models to offer so much legroom in the second and third rows. 

2024 Volkswagen Atlas grey
2024 Volkswagen Atlas grey | Photo: K.Soltani

Pricing of the 2024 Volkswagen Atlas 

The 2024 Volkswagen Atlas starts at $49,995 in Canada. Our test model, the Atlas Execline R-Line, costs $59,995. The only option added to our vehicle was captain's chairs for $700. Here's the complete list of variants and their prices:

  • - 2024 Atlas Comfortline - MSRP $49,995
  • - 2024 Atlas Peak Edition (new model) - $53,995
  • - 2024 Atlas Highline - $56,995
  • - 2024 Atlas Execline R-Line - $59,995

See: 2024 Volkswagen Atlas: pricing and details announced for Canada

See: New York 2023: a more robust Peak Edition for the 2024 Volkswagen Atlas


The front of 2024 Volkswagen Atlas
The front of 2024 Volkswagen Atlas | Photo: K.Soltani

The final word
Faced with fierce competition in the mid-size SUV segment, the 2024 Volkswagen Atlas stands out for its notable improvements in terms of powertrain, on-board space and comfort levels. In a segment where the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot are established benchmarks, the Atlas 2024, with its reduced fuel consumption and spacious interior, now offers an attractive alternative. 

Its strengths could make it a preferred choice for Canadian consumers looking for a versatile, economical family vehicle.

Competitors of the 2024 Volkswagen Atlas

This is a category fairly crowded with quality rivals. As mentioned, the Highlander and Pilot are the names that stand out as direct competitors, and all three models offer similar features in terms of comfort and space. Here's a fuller list of models competing with the 2024 Atlas:

  • - Ford Explorer
  • - Chevrolet Traverse
  • - GMC Acadia
  • - Mazda CX-9
  • - Nissan Pathfinder
  • - Subaru Ascent
2024 Volkswagen Atlas tested
2024 Volkswagen Atlas tested | Photo: K.Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada