Volkswagen Atlas vs Toyota Highlander

2021 Volkswagen Atlas vs Toyota Highlander

When you’re in the market for a new SUV, you deserve to drive the one that best suits your lifestyle. After all, your next SUV can elevate your commutes around the Mechanicsburg, Camp Hill, and Harrisburg, PA, areas.

Can’t decide which one is right for you? Faulkner Volkswagen is here to help.

Below, we have taken two of the most popular SUVs on the road today and put them to the test. In our 2021 Volkswagen Atlas vs. Toyota Highlander comparison, you can see these models side by side, allowing you to make a decision easier.

New VW Atlas Inventory

2021 Volkswagen Atlas vs. Toyota Highlander

Volkswagen Atlas

Toyota Highlander

265 lb-ft

Maximum Torque

263 lb-ft

41.3 inches

Front Headroom

41.2 inches

20.6 cubic feet

Cargo Volume

16 cubic feet

96.8 cubic feet

Max. Cargo Volume

84.3 cubic feet

VW Atlas vs Toyota Highlander – Performance

Volkswagen Atlas vs Toyota HighlanderWhen it comes to what is under the hood of these SUVs, both offer a reliable performance. You can take on the streets and the off-roads of central Pennsylvania like a champion. The VW Atlas, however, provides an advantage in overall performance.

In the 2021 Highlander, the gas-powered trims of the SUV are equipped with the standard 3.5L V6 engine. This supplies up to 263 lb-ft of torque and a 5,000-pound towing capacity when the Highlander is properly equipped.

How does this compare to the 2021 Atlas? The VW SUV connects to a 3.6L V8 engine. The unit delivers 266 lb-ft of torque when paired with the SEL Premium R-Line trim.

The Atlas also has a 5,000-pound towing capacity. That’s enough to haul:

  • Small campers
  • Trailers
  • Boats
  • Jet skis

While both SUVS wield similar towing capacities, you’ll find an edge in acceleration in the 2021 VW Atlas.

Interior Space in the 2021 VW Atlas & the 2021 Highlander

SUVs mean more room for you and yours. If you are searching for an elevated trim of the SUV, drivers and passengers will find more space to stretch their legs in the VW Atlas.

We peeked inside the higher trims of each SUV: the VW Atlas SEL Premium and the Toyota Highlander XLE.

When we broke out the measuring tape, we found that the 2021 VW Atlas SEL Premium consistently provided more space throughout the vehicle.

Taller drivers have a bit more headroom to travel in comfort in the VW Atlas. The VW Atlas SEL Premium provides 41.3 inches of headroom. That’s more than the 39.6 inches available in the Toyota Highlander XLE:

VW Atlas SEL Premium

Toyota Highlander XLE

41.3 inches

Front Headroom

39.6 inches

60.8 inches

Second-Row Shoulder Room

58.4 inches

33.7 inches

Third-Row Legroom

27.7 inches

What about the riders in the back? You’ll have 60.8 inches of shoulder room in the second row inside the VW Atlas SEL Premium trim. That gives passengers more room to operate their smartphones than the 58.4 inches available in the Highlander XLE.

Passengers in the third row have more space inside the VW Atlas SEL Premium too. The 33.7 inches of third-row legroom provides an extra half-foot over the 27.7 inches inside the Highlander XLE. You’ll have more space inside the higher trims of the VW Atlas.

Finding More Cargo Space

The 2021 VW Atlas consistently provides more cargo volume than the 2021 Toyota Highlander. You’ll find more standard cargo volume and adaptable storage space inside the VW Atlas.

If you are on your way home from the grocery store, you’ll have 20.5 cubic feet of storage to slide your brown paper bags inside the trunk of the VW Atlas. That’s more than the 16 cubic feet available inside the Highlander:

VW Atlas

Cargo Space

Toyota Highlander

20.6 cubic feet

Third-Row Folded Up

16 cubic feet

55.5 cubic feet

Third-Row Folded

48.4 cubic feet

96.8 cubic feet

Second-Row and Third-Row Folded

84.3 cubic feet

What if you are planning a vacation? If you fold the third-row seats down for extra luggage, you’ll have up to 55.5 cubic feet available inside the VW Atlas. This is much more space than the Toyota Highlander’s 48.4 cubic feet behind the second row.

Are you planning a move? You may need to fold the second-row and third-row seats down. The spacious VW Atlas opens up to 96.8 cubic feet of cargo volume. The Toyota Highlander checks in at 84.3 cubic feet behind the first-row seats.

No matter what your next trip is, you’ll find more space inside the versatile 2021 VW Atlas than inside the 2021 Toyota Highlander.

Finding Your Next Adventure

Volkswagen Atlas vs Toyota HighlanderHow can you plot the course to your destination? Whether it’s heading out on the open road or coming home from a work trip, you’ll have access to better navigation technology in the VW Atlas.

The Toyota Highlander has navigation technology to help you plan ahead. Its available Dynamic Navigation is centrally located so that you and your co-pilot can check out the road ahead.

If you are in the driver’s seat, you won’t have to glance over, with the available Volkswagen Digital Cockpit. The high-resolution display is located in front of the driver. This provides easier access to trip information.

Like their storage alignment, the VW Atlas navigation system is also more versatile than the Highlander’s Dynamic Navigation. You can customize the instrument cluster to only include the information you need, including:

  • Speed
  • Travel time
  • Route guidance
  • Assistance systems
  • Elevation

If you prefer to have the navigation located in the central console, the VW Atlas makes that possible as well. The available touchscreen navigation provides a prominent look at your trip’s route. Dynamic route guidance offers turn-by-turn information for accurate assistance.

The VW Atlas consistently provides more space and more versatility than the Toyota Highlander. With an advantage in navigation, the 2021 VW Atlas is a perfect traveling companion.

How can you check it out in person?

2021 Volkswagen Atlas vs Toyota Highlander – Verdict

If you’re looking for a vehicle that is equipped with better standard performance and provides more space, Faulkner Volkswagen thinks the VW Atlas is the way to go.

To see for yourself, schedule a test drive in the Mechanicsburg, Camp Hill, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, areas today!






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