Volkswagen's freshened 2021 Atlas three-row crossover will boast sharper exterior styling. But the biggest changes will come in an upgraded infotainment system that picks up some fancy tricks. The Atlas features an edgier front facade and updated LED front and rear lighting on all trim levels. Two engines — a 276-hp V-6 and a 235-hp turbocharged inline-four — will be available, and awd is optional with either powertrain. The previous version limited the inline-four to lower trim levels and did not offer awd with the smaller displacement engine.
The Car-Net infotainment system features many upgrades and new app-based functionality, such as the ability to use the vehicle as a safe place to receive and store delivered packages. In addition, the system will allow consumers to contract directly with their mobile carrier to add 4G LTE service to the vehicle through their data plan. Doing so enables the vehicle to serve as a mobile hot spot, and it eventually will allow streaming entertainment into the vehicle.
Volkswagen has an initial agreement through Verizon Wireless to enable the feature, but the automaker is working with other carriers to broaden service in the U.S.
The infotainment system allows remote access to the vehicle via smartphone, enabling users to turn the engine on or off, lock or unlock the doors, honk the horn and flash the lights. The app also shows the vehicle's location when parked and can provide remote information on fuel level, odometer reading, and whether the doors and windows are open or closed.
— Compiled from reports by Vince Bond Jr., Omari Gardner, Urvaksh Karkaria, Larry P. Vellequette and Jack Walsworth