Although a solid contender in the three-row midsize crossover SUV segment, if you need to rent 7 seater in Dubai the Volkswagen Atlas is beginning to show its age as the competition continues pumping out rivals that offer better interiors, more refined handling and style. It moves into the new year only with pricing increases and minor updates following a facelift in 2021. Despite seemingly falling to the wayside, the Atlas still makes a case for itself by offering the most usable third row out of all the competition. It’s boxy shape not only provides the most space in its class with the seats down but also a huskier, more truck-like persona that will certainly appeal to those seeking a little more aesthetic machismo.
Volkswagen introduced the Atlas three-row midsize crossover SUV in 2018 as a replacement for the aging and unpopular Touareg. Unlike that old machine, the Atlas offers three-row seating, and a massive third row at that, making it a hot contender in the competitive family-centric midsize segment. (The slightly smaller two-row Atlas Cross Sport is reviewed separately.) After receiving a mid-cycle update and refreshed exterior in 2021, the Atlas continues into 2023 without major change and only with some price increases. An updated Atlas is due next year.
That means the same six trims carry on into the new year with the SE, SE w/ Technology, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL R-Line Black and SEL Premium R-Line. Volkswagen Group’s venerable and widely used “EA888” four-cylinder and narrow-angle V6 continue propulsion duties, driving either the front wheels or all four (4MOTION) through an eight-speed automatic. The base SE only gets the four-pot, while the SE w/ Technology gains the option for the larger six. Step up to the R-Line, and the six-cylinder and 4MOTION AWD become standard.
Though a competent and handsome brute, its square shoulders and upright profile offer a more truck-based SUV vibe than the competition. That said, the Atlas is beginning to show its age as rivals continue churning out newer and more compelling specimens, like the Kia and Hyundai.