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2021 Volkswagen Atlas vs Ford Explorer


Compare by Price, MPG, Features

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Many drivers in Des Moines are on the hunt for that perfect crossover with a spacious design, amazing performance, and fantastic features. And if you’ve narrowed it down to the 2021 VW Atlas vs. 2020 Ford Explorer, which is the better choice? While the Ford Explorer has its benefits, we think that the Volkswagen Atlas is the better buy for its lower price point and incredibly roomy interior. Take a look for yourself with our Atlas vs. Explorer guide.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas


2020 Ford Explorer
$31,545 MSRP

Starting Price

$32,765 MSRP
2.0L I-4

Base Engine

2.3L I-4
22 mpg

Combined Fuel Economy

24 mpg
153.7 cubic feet

Passenger Volume

152.7 cubic feet
96.8 cubic feet

Cargo Volume

87.8 cubic feet

VW vs. Ford: Price

Sticking to your budget is one of the top priorities of savvy shoppers in Urbandale, so which SUV gives you better value for your hard earned dollar? While both models start just a little over $30,000, it’s the VW Atlas that offers a lower starting price point. You can find the Atlas with a starting MSRP of just $31,545 – which saves you over $1,000 compared to the Ford Explorer. Plus, there are so many VW Atlas configurations available that any driver can find just the right blend of features for their budget.

VW vs. Ford: Performance

Between the Atlas vs. Explorer, both models hold their own on the West Des Moines roads, but they offer slightly different experiences:

  • Engine: Both models are equipped with standard I-4 engines, but upgraded V6 powertrains are also available. 
  • MPG: Both models offer solid fuel economy for their size and power, though the Explorer narrowly gets the edge when it comes to base MPG.
  • Drivetrain: The Explorer is offered in rear-wheel drive, while the Atlas offers standard front-wheel drive to boost handling and efficiency without compromising towing power.

VW vs. Ford: Dimensions

One area where the Atlas vs. Explorer see major differences is in interior dimensions. The Volkswagen Atlas has significantly more cargo space than the Ford Explorer – almost 10 cubic feet extra!

  • Seating Capacity: Both models can seat up to seven passengers.
  • Passenger Volume: The Atlas offers extra space for passengers with a total of 153.7 cubic feet of space in total, which beats the Explorer by 1 cubic foot.
  • Cargo Capacity: The Atlas has much more cargo space than the Ford Explorer with 96.8 cubic feet in total, compared to just 87.8 cubic feet for the Explorer.

Find The Right SUV For You At Lithia Volkswagen of Des Moines

As you can see from our 2021 VW Atlas vs. 2020 Ford Explorer comparison, the Volkswagen Atlas offers the spacious design and outstanding value that make it a perfect choice for West Des Moines drivers. Want to find out more about the Atlas? Contact us with your questions or to schedule an appointment!

Lithia Volkswagen of Des Moines 41.655244, -93.6988054.