YPSILANTI, Mich. — Volkswagen's refreshed 2021 Atlas crossover will pick up many of the styling and technology refinements the German automaker revealed this fall when it showed the Atlas's new two-row derivative, the Atlas Cross Sport.
But it's the first product to benefit from a new, shorter product cycle Volkswagen will use to keep its U.S. vehicles up to date.
Speaking to journalists here at a preview for the Chicago Auto Show, Hein Schafer, vice president of product marketing for Volkswagen of America, said the refresh just three years into the Atlas’ life cycle is part of a strategy to keep its most popular U.S. products — including the Atlas and Tiguan crossovers — top of mind with consumers.
The intervention comes a full year earlier than Volkswagen's traditional product cadence and amid growing Atlas sales. Through 11 months, Atlas sales in the U.S. are up 40 percent to 74,108 vehicles.
The refreshed 2021 Atlas, which will be shown at the Chicago show in February, features a new front facade and updated LED lighting front and rear on all trim levels.
Inside, the three-row crossover will receive an upgraded infotainment system with added app-based functionality, as well as new driver-assistance features such as Traffic Jam Assist, which uses lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control to aid drivers during low-speed, heavy-traffic situations.
Similar features were announced for the two-row 2021 Atlas Cross Sport when it went into production this fall.
Volkswagen dealers are expected to begin receiving their first Atlas Cross Sport models beginning in March, while the refreshed Atlas should be in showrooms by May, Schafer said. Pricing for both vehicles hasn’t been announced.