2020 Nissan Pathfinder vs. 2021 Volkswagen Atlas: which one will you choose?
It was in 1986 that for the first time, we saw on our roads in Laval, Boisbriand and Blainville the Nissan Pathfinder mid-size SUV. Named Terrano elsewhere in the world, this Nissan SUV takes its place between the Murano and the Armada and is offered in 6 versions: S, SV Tech, SV Rock Creek, SL Premium, SL Rock Creek and Platinum. Much newer than its opponent, the Volkswagen Atlas has been part of the Montreal North Shore landscape since 2017, and is also offered in 6 models, namely the Trendline, Comfortline 2.0 and 3.6, Highline 2.0 and 3.6 as well as the Execline.
In this comparison featuring the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder vs. the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas, you will see the differences between each, and you'll notice that the 2021 Atlas is a notch above the 2020 Pathfinder. This starts with a much higher overall rating from journalists at The Car Guide, who gave the Volkswagen SUV 63% as opposed to a paltry 48% for the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder. Where these scores differ significantly is regarding safety, driving comfort, infotainment and overall appreciation.
Price and Powertrain
In order to make this Volkswagen Atlas vs Nissan Pathfinder comparison fairer and more equitable, let's take two similarly priced versions around $40,000, the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Trendline and the Pathfinder SV Tech AWD. The Volkswagen houses a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 235 horsepower and a torque of 258 lb-ft, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, while the Pathfinder relies on the services of a 3.5-litre V6 engine developing 284 horsepower for 259 lb-ft of torque, complemented by a CVT transmission.
Interior and Connectivity
Here's what the Volkswagen Atlas vs. Nissan Pathfinder have in common; seating for up to 7 people, All-Wheel Drive, Cruise Control, Hill Descent Control, Side Assist (blind spot monitor) with Rear Traffic Alert, 6 speakers, heated front seats, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, heated exterior mirrors, and 18-inch wheels, among others.
Driving Comfort and Safety
Let's move on to the differences between the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder and the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas. With the Atlas, you get more, including the Pedestrian Detection system, vehicle immobilizer with alarm system, rain-sensing wipers, heated washer nozzles, and static cornering lights with poor-weather lights. What is more, with a cargo capacity of over 2,700 litres versus 2,234 litres, the Atlas is much more practical and spacious, and will allow you to bring in more gear or do bigger grocery runs.
If you want more power, the Atlas offers another engine, a 3.6-litre V6 that generates 276 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, available on the Comfortline, Highline and Execline versions, always paired with the 8-speed Tiptronic 4MOTION transmission. And if towing is a priority for you, you can add the towing package that will allow you to haul up to 5,000 lb.
If you choose the Comfortline trim level, you'll get Park Distance Control, a power tailgate, voice control, remote start, SiriusXM satellite radio, Climatronic tri-zone electronic air conditioning and a heated leather steering wheel, just to name a few. The Highline version adds leather upholstery as well as ventilated front and heated rear seats, among others.
2021 Volkswagen Atlas vs. Nissan Pathfinder: conclusion
Much roomier than its competitor, the Atlas SUV promises unparalleled comfort, and everyone on board will appreciate the meticulous finish of the components and the remarkable finesse of the materials. And what about the driving dynamics, which are light years ahead of its Japanese competitor. The Germans are way ahead of the game when it comes to making their models lively and dynamic; German engineering is incomparable, and the Atlas is no exception.
Come try it out and you will know what we're talking about. For a test drive, come visit your Volkswagen dealer, Arbour VW. We await for you in Laval, easily accessible from Highway 440, close to Boisbriand and Blainville.
|Nissan S||3.5L V6||284 hp||259 lb-ft|
|Nissan SV Tech||3.5L V6||284 hp||259 lb-ft|
|Nissan SV Rock Creek||3.5L V6||284 hp||259 lb-ft|
|Nissan SL Premium||3.5L V6||284 hp||259 lb-ft|
|Nissan SL Rock Creek||3.5L V6||284 hp||259 lb-ft|
|Nissan Platine||3.5L V6||284 hp||259 lb-ft|
|Volkswagen Atlas Trendline||2.0L 4-cyl. turbo||235 hp||258 lb-ft|
|Volkswagen Atlas Comfortline 2.0||2.0L 4-cyl. turbo||235 hp||258 lb-ft|
|Volkswagen Atlas Comfortline 3.6||3.6L V6||276 hp||266 lb-ft|
|Volkswagen Atlas Highline 2.0||2.0L 4-cyl. turbo||235 hp||258 lb-ft|
|Volkswagen Atlas Highline 3.6||3.6L V6||276 hp||266 lb-ft|
|Volkswagen Atlas Execline||3.6L V6||276 hp||266 lb-ft|