There’s seating for up to seven passengers inside the new 2024 Volkswagen Atlas. (Volkswagen)

There’s seating for up to seven passengers inside the new 2024 Volkswagen Atlas. (Volkswagen)

Volkswagen Atlas more handsome than ever for 2024

The mid-size SUV also has a new engine and an increase in the number of standard features.

The Volkswagen Atlas SUV has a fresh new look for 2024, along with interior upgrades, a big boost in standard features, a more powerful engine, and a new Peak Edition appearance package to give SE and SEL models the option for a more rugged look.

I drove the top-tier Atlas SEL Premium R-Line model with VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive, priced at $53,805 including the destination charge as well as a profusion of high-end features as standard equipment.

Front-end and other styling revisions make the Atlas more handsome than ever. The SEL Premium R-Line stands out with a unique gloss-black grille, and 21-inch two-tone wheels wrapped with 265/45 all-season tires.

Atlas has seating for up to seven people if the middle row is a bench. Optional captain’s chairs for the middle row reduce maximum seating to six. Though Atlas is a mid-size SUV, interior space is vast. There’s room all over the place, and even the third row seats are feasible for actual adult occupancy.

Volkswagen’s 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro system is now a standard feature in every Atlas model. (Volkswagen)

Volkswagen’s 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro system is now a standard feature in every Atlas model. (Volkswagen)

Second- and third-row seats flip down easily and lie perfectly flat to create a cargo area so expansive you could imagine buffalo grass growing there.

Elsewhere in the cabin, all is well in terms of design, seat comfort, quality materials and construction, stowage cubbies, serenity and so on. Until we arrive at the infotainment system. Standard on all Atlas models, it has VW’s 10.25-inch fully configurable Digital Cockpit Pro infotainment system, which has everything imaginable except intuitiveness and a physical control or two. Touch-sensitive operation is used exclusively. There are two tiny physical buttons on the steering wheel for volume control but you have to know where to look.

On the upside, just as my intellectual curiosity was about to cave in, I finally figured out how to get the sound system up and running with SiriusXM on a channel I like. There

was an instant reward: A favorite song coming from the fabulous 400-watt Harman Kardon audio system with 12 speakers. It’s standard on the SEL Premium R-Line.

The new Atlas powertrain is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 269 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, joined to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s a good pairing that propels the Atlas capably and smoothly, and increases performance by 34 horsepower and 15 pound-feet over the previous model.

The EPA rating for my all-wheel-drive Atlas test vehicle is 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined. A front-wheel-drive Atlas would get a couple of extra miles more.

2024 VOLKSWAGEN ATLAS SEL PREMIUM R-LINE AWD

Base price, including destination charge: $53,805

Price as driven: $53,805

Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.

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