Road Trip: 2024 Volkswagen Atlas 2.0T SEL Premium R-Line 4MOTION

Road trips are a time-honored tradition here in the States. Well, they could also be elsewhere, but I don’t live there. The week this 2024 VW Atlas arrived to test, I had just purchased a new vehicle (more on that soon). As excited as I was to take it on a road trip, it came with summer tires, and the upcoming road trip was to Pittsburgh for a youth hockey tournament. As you can see from the pics, snow was on the ground, so I hopped in the AWD VW SUV and headed north. Let’s see how it did.

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Overview

First, a little about the 2024 Atlas. We are still in the first generation of the midsize crossover which kicked off back in 2018. The last time I tested an Atlas seems to be back in 2020. Some things have changed a bit since then. 2024 marks the first year where the four-cylinder became the only engine option, the V6 is no more. However, the four banger is more powerful for 2024, the turbocharged 2.0-liter now makes 269 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque (up significantly from 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft). It’s still down a bit on horses compared to the previously optional V6 (276 hp, 266 lb-ft), but has a bit more torques. The other big change is the addition of the new off-road-inspired Peak Edition trim level.

Our tester was the top-spec SEL Premium R-Line. As you would expect, it’s pretty loaded. The equipment is listed below. It only had one upgrade, $395 for some red paint. You’re at $54,200 out the door to replicate my road trip steed.

2024 Volkswagen Atlas and the Open Road

My journey began with some light snow in DC, so I tried the remote start feature to clear the glass before I hit the road for Pittsburgh. It made some noises and appeared to start, but when I returned, it wasn’t running, the windows still had snow on them, and the interior hadn’t warmed. I did a conventional start and had difficulty getting the HVAC to kick on. I pressed up and down on the temperature control “buttons” to try and get something going, but I had to delve into the menu system to get it going. Thankfully, that was an isolated incident, and it was time to hit the road.

The Atlas is quite comfortable out on the highway, the seats are comfortable and I dig the diamond pattern inserts on the leather. From a usability perspective, I still struggle with the haptic feedback buttons. They are just hard to find while trying to focus on driving, and not all are backlit at night. I imagine most owners will get used to it, but after a week in the Atlas, I just wasn’t there. The top trim has a nice 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, which helped keep me entertained during the journey. Apple CarPlay synced pretty quickly, and wirelessly, and the 12-inch touchscreen was plenty big to display what I needed.

Departing DC was uneventful, the dusting of snow didn’t impact the roads all that much. But then…

A bit further north, things changed drastically. Waze had me off on a rural road to get around some highway traffic, and all hell broke loose. It was almost whiteout conditions, and I was thankful to be driving the 4Motion-equipped Atlas riding on all-season tires. I put the Active Control & Driving Mode Selection into “Snow” and took things slow. The windshield wipers worked overtime to keep the flakes from sticking, but I could see where I was going. Mostly.

The conditions improved about 20 minutes later, and the rest of the trek to Pittsburgh was uneventful. It was my first trip to the Steel City, and came across some pretty scenic bridges and other photo-worthy backdrops on the way in. I stayed downtown, and on the drive to the tournament, there was a hill that overlooked the cityscape. I pulled off twice to get some snaps of the Atlas, and to take in the scenery.


There are some foibles on the interior that I just can’t get used to, but overall, the 2024 Volkswagen Atlas 2.0T SEL Premium R-Line 4MOTION was a great road trip companion. There are other terrific options in this segment, like the Kia Telluride and Mazda CX-90, but the Atlas has a great mix of comfort and convenience across the various trim levels. So, if you want something different, you should check it out.

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