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2023 Volkswagen Atlas SE – Exterior, Interior, and More

2023 Volkswagen Atlas SE Technology

2023 Volkswagen Atlas Se was first introduced in 2018. The Atlas represented the largest vehicle Volkswagen had ever sold in the United States. This midsize, three-row SUV is even more significant, thanks to a modernization that adds more than two edges of overall length.

With a new look inspired by the smoother two-row Atlas Cross Sport, the 2023 Volkswagen Atlas injects a little more flair to better compete with the growing number of competitors, including the Honda Pilot, and Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, and Hyundai Palisade. I recently tried the updated Atlas, so read on to see how it compares!

2023 Volkswagen Atlas SE Exterior

2023 Volkswagen Atlas SE Exterior

It’s only been three years since the Atlas was first launched. But VW wastes no time keeping its flagship crossover fresh and relevant. The most significant modification you’ll notice on the 2023 Volkswagen Atlas is a cleaner front end, which eliminates the stock’s stacked headlights. The face resembles the front clip of the 2020 Atlas Cross Sport, showing more of the company’s VW design language.

The rear of this big Vdub has also been updated with restyled taillights, along with some chrome accents that I think make it look less like a Jeep Grand Cherokee. In a crowded segment of three-row crossovers and midsize SUVs, the Atlas’ boxy design has more of an old-school SUV vibe than its rivals. However, with standard features like a contactless tailgate and 20-inch two-tone alloy wheels, the mid-range SE spices up the tech even more.

2023 Volkswagen Atlas SE Interior

The 2023 Volkswagen Atlas may have been enlarge outside, but it wasn’t lacking in space inside. In standard form, the three-row Atlas can seat up to seven passengers, with an adult room available in the third row. The SE with taller technology and panels provides additional space for second-row occupants with available captain’s chairs, which means there’s plenty of head and leg room no matter where you sit. The boxy design also offers plenty of cargo space with 20.6 cubic feet behind the third row and 96.8 cubic feet when both rear rows are folded. Five USB ports and, brace yourself, 17 cup holders show that the Atlas is ready for every family adventure!

The only small changes have been made to the interior of the 2023 Volkswagen Atlas. The most striking being the redesign steering wheel, which highlights the redesign Volkswagen logo. The rest of the cabin reflects the internal design language we’ve expected from VW in recent years. That means it’s a modern, simple and functional design with a lot of advanced technology. For example, all trim levels come standard with an 8-inch touchscreen and wireless smartphone charging. Plus, with the technology I tested, the SE added tri-zone climate control, rear door blinds, and leatherette seating surfaces.

2023 Volkswagen Atlas SE Performance

The most significant addition to the 2023 Volkswagen Atlas is that buyers can get VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system pair with the base 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharge four-cylinder. Previously, this AWD system was only present on the optional V-6 engine. My test vehicle was a front-wheel drive model with a base four-cylinder engine rate at 235 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. On flat Florida roads, this engine delivers enough power to keep the 4,248-pound crossover motivated in most driving conditions. But the engine feels slightly underpowered when overtaking or merging makeovers. Its EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 21 mpg city and 24 mpg highway are lower than similarly spaced competitors.

That said, where Atlas shines is in its overall driving dynamics. Despite its boxy old-school SUV looks, the 2023 VW Atlas is surprisingly smooth to drive on sidewalks or dirt roads. The cabin is soft at highway speeds. Add a steering system that makes the midsize crossover remarkably agile. The Atlas becomes one of the best road vehicles in its segment. Of course, going with the base engine drops Atlas’s towing capacity to 2,000 pounds (up to 5,000 pounds through the optional V-6). Still, unless you need maximum towing capacity, this engine is the most efficient and affordable way to outfit this crossover.

2023 Volkswagen Atlas SE Safety

The 2023 Volkswagen Atlas and Atlas Sport have Five-Star overall crash ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In addition, all Atlas trim levels come standard with full LED exterior lighting, Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Traffic Alert. In contrast, the SE w/ Technology trim adds Adaptive Cruise Control and Parking Sensors.


Even with all the options available for three-row, midsize crossovers. The 2023 Volkswagen Atlas stands out with its immense size, large interior, and bountiful list of standard equipment. Volkswagen may have stood late to this segment, but Atlas is a strong competitor. Factor in all the upgrades made for the 2023 model year. The three-row Atlas now represents even more value while carrying over the same starting price of $31,545. The mid-range Atlas SE w/ Technology fit level used for this review had an as-tested price of $38,360.

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