Midsized three-row SUVs have understandable appeal. They provide plenty of room for passengers and their stuff at a reasonable price and with decent fuel economy, especially compared to their full-sized brethren. They also pack in a lot of features, seemingly more every model year as manufacturers try to keep up with their rivals in this highly competitive segment. One automaker that has gone above and beyond is  Volkswagen, which has packed the 2019 Atlas with all the amenities to please up to seven passengers - including 18 cup holders. The Atlas, the largest VW ever sold in the U.S., still faces steep competition, though, with the popular Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, as well as the Subaru Ascent, Mazda CX-9, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, and Nissan Pathfinder. Let's look more closely at how the '19 Atlas holds its own and then some within its class.




Competitive Pricing and Warranty


All of the aforementioned SUVs are priced attractively considering the features that they offer, but the Atlas has a slight edge. The Traverse has the lowest starting MSRP at $29,930, with the Atlas starting just a tad higher at $30,895. The Pilot, Pathfinder, Highlander, Ascent, and CX-9 are all in the middle of the pack, and the Explorer carries the highest base MSRP at $32,365. On top of this, the Atlas comes with a warranty for six years/72,000 miles (basic and drivetrain), while all of its rivals only provide three-year/36,000-mile basic and five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranties. This surely makes it more attractive than the Traverse, despite the Chevrolet product's slightly lower price point.


Class-Leading Comfort and Cargo Capacity


By many accounts, the Atlas is simply more comfortable than the Ascent, which is no surprise given European brands' well-known focus on plushness and ergonomics. On that note, most of the Atlas's competitors have less overall interior space - and space ranks high on the list for SUV shoppers. In the front, there's plenty of room in all directions, while the generously sized second row can comfortably fit three adults. For carrying cargo, the Atlas allots a whopping 96.8 cubic feet with the seats down, only slightly less than the Traverses' 98.2 cu. ft. The Pilot and Highlander are neck-and-neck at 83.9 and 83.7, respectively, while the Pathfinder (79.5 cu. ft.), Explorer (80.7 cu. ft.), and Ascent (86.5 cu. ft.) are within the same ballpark. The CX-9, though, is the least accommodating in the bunch, with only 71.2 cu. ft.


Renowned for Safety


For the 2019 model year, the Atlas was awarded the NHTSA five-star overall safety rating, which it won in 2018 as well. The Pathfinder was the only vehicle in the list compared here to earn a lower rating of four stars. While the Nissan SUV is still considered highly safe, it falls slightly behind the Atlas's and other competitors' well-documented and consistent dedication to safety standards.

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