Hand-me-downs are a way of life for nearly all families. They rarely go up, though.
The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas that debuted at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show on Thursday gets duds from its smaller sibling, even as the Atlas grows. The Atlas' new-look grille now matches the Atlas Cross Sport's face, even though the three-row Atlas has grown in size.
According to VW, the Atlas is now three inches longer from head to tail thanks to bigger bumpers, and more comfortable inside. The Atlas also now sports an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment on most models (all but the base trim) and a new steering wheel.
VW didn't say how much the 2021 Atlas would cost when it goes on sale in the spring, but it's not likely to stray from the current model, which costs about $32,000 to start.
2021 Volkswagen Atlas, 2020 Chicago Auto Show
Like the 2020 version, the 2021 VW Atlas offers a turbo-4 or V-6 engine underhood, mated to an 8-speed automatic and front- or all-wheel drive. The 2.0-liter turbo-4 makes 235 horsepower and returned up to 22 mpg combined last year, according to the EPA. Like the two-row Atlas Cross Sport, the 2021 Atlas will be offered with a turbo-4 and all-wheel drive, which is new for this year.
The 276-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 likely will be more common and can drive the front or all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic. When properly equipped, the V-6 is rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds, which is enough for a small trailer.
VW didn't outline trim levels for the 2021 Atlas although it's not likely to stray far from last year's mix of S, SE, SEL, and SEL Premium versions with an R-Line appearance package added. According to VW, the R-Line trims can add unique exterior accents and 20- to 21-inch wheels outside.
Inside, most models will get an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, in-car wi-fi, and active safety features such as automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors. Adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and a surround-view camera system are available in the Atlas, and VW says it will offer a driver-assistance feature that can help steer the car for short distances in traffic in the Atlas for the first time.
For more from the 2020 Chicago Auto Show, head over to our dedicated hub.