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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I test drove the 3.6l V6 and loved it. We are looking for a 3 row SUV as our overall family car, road trip car. We also want this vehicle to be able to tow 5k so we could use it to tow a camper. I liked the power and response, the minimalist and elegant interior, the amount of space, and overall design, it was fun to be in and made me happy. The Pilot - I like the size as well, the amount of space and the kids would like the TV, although we don't really care. The Highlander - I like how many people have said how reliable it is, and how many postings I have read about people being happy using it to tow a lightweight (fiberglass) trailer, also maybe easier to park because smaller. I don't like the mpg of the Atlas is less than both the Pilot and Highlander, so I had taken it off the running, however I came across some new posts where people were talking about using it for a tow vehicle and how they liked it. The Ascent we also really liked because of spaciousness, how it drove, and overall interior feel, but I had read many things about how CVT is not good for towing.
I just got a quote on a new Atlas and it is the same price as a used (2017/2018) highlander with low miles. We want some features such as captain's chairs, panoramic moonroof, awd, towing hitch/wiring installed, etc. So those features make the trims specific (Pilot Touring or Elite, Highlander Premium).
Any advice/experience greatly appreciated. It is a big purchase and I have been researching for months. Getting ready to decide already. Leaning towards the Atlas, because I really liked it. But also practicality is very important to me, so don't want to let that feeling I had driving it take over.
Also - should we buy new or if used what year? New 2021 3.6 SE with tech was I think around 38k with some big msrp discount.
Thanks!
 

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That’s a difficult decision for someone else to make, as you seem to want it all. You need to decide what are your must haves and If you have driven each of the vehicles, the choice should be easy. Personally, if I was going to do any amount of towing, I would buy a Toyota 4Runner rather than any of your choices.
 

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Pros.
The Atlas has more room for passengers and cargo than any other vehicle you're comparing it to. Not even close.
It's much cheaper (discounted new or resales for less)
The Atlas has a better warranty (you may need it)

Cons
It gets worse gas mileage.
The other vehicles are more reliable.
 

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2019 VW Atlas SE 4 Motion w/ Technology
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Hello,
I test drove the 3.6l V6 and loved it. We are looking for a 3 row SUV as our overall family car, road trip car. We also want this vehicle to be able to tow 5k so we could use it to tow a camper. I liked the power and response, the minimalist and elegant interior, the amount of space, and overall design, it was fun to be in and made me happy. The Pilot - I like the size as well, the amount of space and the kids would like the TV, although we don't really care. The Highlander - I like how many people have said how reliable it is, and how many postings I have read about people being happy using it to tow a lightweight (fiberglass) trailer, also maybe easier to park because smaller. I don't like the mpg of the Atlas is less than both the Pilot and Highlander, so I had taken it off the running, however I came across some new posts where people were talking about using it for a tow vehicle and how they liked it. The Ascent we also really liked because of spaciousness, how it drove, and overall interior feel, but I had read many things about how CVT is not good for towing.
I just got a quote on a new Atlas and it is the same price as a used (2017/2018) highlander with low miles. We want some features such as captain's chairs, panoramic moonroof, awd, towing hitch/wiring installed, etc. So those features make the trims specific (Pilot Touring or Elite, Highlander Premium).
Any advice/experience greatly appreciated. It is a big purchase and I have been researching for months. Getting ready to decide already. Leaning towards the Atlas, because I really liked it. But also practicality is very important to me, so don't want to let that feeling I had driving it take over.
Also - should we buy new or if used what year? New 2021 3.6 SE with tech was I think around 38k with some big msrp discount.
Thanks!
Hi there,
I drove the Honda and the Highlander. The new version of the Pilot feels like a minivan and I'm not sure about the towing capacity, but I believe it's less than the Atlas. The Highlander was fine but I thought the transmission was a little wonky. One man's opinion. I have a 2019 Atlas SE-w/Tech V6 Towing Package. It's spacious, has good power for an SUV of it's size and honestly is 'fun' to drive. I can get anywhere between 20 and 23 mph on the highway - not great but when fully loaded, it's not bad. Anyway, with respect to towing, do your research. There are limitations. You cannot use a weight-distributing hitch and you are not suppose to 'flip' the hitch so the ball is higher than the receiver. We were in the process of picking up a trailer trailer when I, along with the service tech at the RV shop, determined we could not do it. VW was less than helpful but I ran it up to corporate (they wouldn't actually let me talk to engineering) but the representative basically said not to do it. (My VW dealer service manager escalated it and got a similar response.) The vehicle is a unibody, not a truck frame, so flipping the hitch can torque the frame in the opposite direction. No one could definitively say whether the unibody could take those forces. I'm erring on the side of caution and not towing. But it's great for a bike rack!

If you search this forum, you find a lot of discussion on towing. There are some members who are towing and having good results. Good luck whatever vehicle you choose!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi there,
I drove the Honda and the Highlander. The new version of the Pilot feels like a minivan and I'm not sure about the towing capacity, but I believe it's less than the Atlas. The Highlander was fine but I thought the transmission was a little wonky. One man's opinion. I have a 2019 Atlas SE-w/Tech V6 Towing Package. It's spacious, has good power for an SUV of it's size and honestly is 'fun' to drive. I can get anywhere between 20 and 23 mph on the highway - not great but when fully loaded, it's not bad. Anyway, with respect to towing, do your research. There are limitations. You cannot use a weight-distributing hitch and you are not suppose to 'flip' the hitch so the ball is higher than the receiver. We were in the process of picking up a trailer trailer when I, along with the service tech at the RV shop, determined we could not do it. VW was less than helpful but I ran it up to corporate (they wouldn't actually let me talk to engineering) but the representative basically said not to do it. (My VW dealer service manager escalated it and got a similar response.) The vehicle is a unibody, not a truck frame, so flipping the hitch can torque the frame in the opposite direction. No one could definitively say whether the unibody could take those forces. I'm erring on the side of caution and not towing. But it's great for a bike rack!

If you search this forum, you find a lot of discussion on towing. There are some members who are towing and having good results. Good luck whatever vehicle you choose!
Thank you! I agree about the Pilot. I didn't drive it long enough to really tell though. What do you mean by 'flip' the hitch so the ball is higher than the receiver? Is this for leveling? We do want to be able to tow, and I like how the VW's we've looked at (even used) are all set up to tow. When looking into used for the Pilot and Highlander it seemed difficult to tell what really was installed or not and how much it would cost to get a 'tow package' installed.

I am wondering what the best year to purchase for the VW Atlas is. We are looking at used, maybe new as the discount is so big.
 
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