- VW's three-row 2024 Atlas gets a significant update for 2024.
- The upgraded turbocharged four-cylinder is now the only engine option.
- It boasts more standard features, including ventilated seats and a 12-inch touchscreen.
2024 Volkswagen Atlas Gets an Interior Makeover, New Engine and More Standard Features
A new powertrain, more premium features give the big midsize SUV added value
The Volkswagen Atlas has consistently been one of our top-five ranked midsize three-row SUVs since its debut for the 2018 model year. It's maintained that status by way of its ample passenger and cargo room and easygoing driving style. Now for 2024, the Atlas gets a variety of updates that should increase its appeal.
It starts with an infusion of standard features that gives the Atlas a comprehensive set of equipment right off the jump. Check this out: ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, 12-inch touchscreen, 10.3-inch instrument cluster display, and a wireless charging pad now come on every trim level. That's impressive for a non-luxury family hauler.
There's also styling tweaks, with a new LED light bar and an illuminated VW logo in the center of the four-bar grille and on the tailgate coming on all trims except the base. But the base SE trim won't feel left out — it comes with LED daytime running lights and headlights with an adaptive front lighting system that illuminates to the side of the vehicle when the wheel turns. There's an elongated spoiler at the back of the roof to make the Atlas profile a touch sportier and new wheel designs ranging from 18 to 21 inches for every trim level.
What's under the Atlas' hood?
A new turbocharged 2.0 four-cylinder replaces the outgoing turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder as well as the previously optional 3.6-liter V6. Exactly what has changed in the engine we don't know at this time, but Volkswagen does call it new and it gets a big power jump over the existing four-cylinder to 269 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque (up from 235 hp and 258 lb-ft). The new turbo-four's numbers are more in line with the outgoing V6. Volkswagen says the new engine shaves about 0.5 second off the 0-60 mph time compared to last year's Atlas with the V6. An eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, and all-wheel drive is optional. Shift paddles are now standard on the Atlas as well.
Volkswagen says that towing capacity will remain the same, topping out at 5,000 pounds. Fuel economy figures are not yet finalized, but representatives were willing to say that it will beat the current V6 fuel economy (18 city/23 highway and 20 mpg combined with FWD) by 5%-10% and will come close to the current fuel economy of the turbocharged four-cylinder (21 city/25 highway and 23 mpg combined with FWD) while offering more power.
How's the Atlas' interior?
Volkswagen says that the Atlas trim structure will carry on unchanged, which means we can expect the 2024 trim lineup to include the SE, SE with Technology, SEL, SEL R-Line Black and SEL Premium R-Line.
The interior doesn't just have more features, it also gets classed up a bit with synthetic leather wrapping the dashboard and center console. Adjustable 30-color ambient lighting is also available, and Volkswagen says that real leather upholstery will be available on a lower trim level than before (it started on the SEL Premium previously, so look for it on the SEL now). Top trim levels will get quilted seating surfaces as well in a diamond pattern.
There's copious amounts of room all over the place in the Atlas and the third row remains comfortable for small children all the way up to tall adults. Tri-zone climate control keeps everyone comfortable and, you guessed it, that's standard too now. In the center console, the shifter has been redesigned to allow space for a new storage cubby underneath that's an ideal place to stash a small purse or bag.
Sadly, the Atlas does give up the vast majority of its physical controls in exchange for touch-sensitive ones. It's a sleek look but it's also essentially the same system that's given us trouble in the ID.4 and Golf GTI. The temperature and volume sliders below the screen are a particularly troublesome spot given that they don't illuminate at night and are hard to find. That also means no more volume or tuning knobs and no more traditional buttons on the steering wheel either. Those are now touch-sensitive controls that we've also found to be finicky. The new setup looks very clean. It's just not as easy to use as what the 2018-2023 Atlas models had.
The 2024 Volkswagen Atlas has taken a big step forward in standard equipment. Getting ventilated front seats and big digital displays on every trim is pretty compelling for a family hauler. The SUV should still get high marks in comfort and utility, too. But there are some questions that will remain until we get more information as we get closer to the 2024 model's on-sale date in summer 2023. Will the Atlas' base price still be competitive because of its new features? Will the new engine be powerful enough? And will the new control interface be a significant drawback? Check in with us in the coming months to find out.