2019 Ford Flex vs. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/15

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Flex inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The Atlas doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

Both the Flex and the Atlas have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available collision warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The Flex comes with free roadside assistance for 5 years 60,000 miles. Ford will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Atlas.

There are almost 5 times as many Ford dealers as there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Flex’s warranty.

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Flex’s reliability 14 points higher than the Atlas.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 10th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 16th in reliability. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Ford 1 place higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

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The Flex’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 52 more horsepower (287 vs. 235) than the Atlas’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Flex’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 11 more horsepower (287 vs. 276) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6. The Flex Limited’s optional 3.5 turbo V6 produces 89 more horsepower (365 vs. 276) and 84 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 266) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Flex Limited 3.5 EcoBoost is faster than the Volkswagen Atlas V6:

 

Flex

Atlas

Zero to 30 MPH

2.2 sec

2.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

7.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.5 sec

20.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

8.2 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.1 sec

3.9 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.4 sec

5.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

89 MPH

Top Speed

121 MPH

116 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Flex has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Atlas doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Tires and Wheels

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The Flex’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Atlas’ optional 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The Flex has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Flex has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Flex flat and controlled during cornering. The Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Flex Limited AWD is quieter than the Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion:

 

Flex

Atlas

At idle

37 dB

41 dB

Full-Throttle

73 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

68 dB

68 dB

Passenger Space

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/15

The Flex has 2.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Atlas (155.8 vs. 153.7).

The Flex has .5 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more rear headroom, 6.7 inches more rear legroom and .4 inches more third row headroom than the Atlas.

Flexibility is maximized at the game, campground or a drive-in theatre in the Flex Limited when its optional tailgating rear seats are deployed, allowing people to sit facing out of the liftgate. (Do not use while vehicle is in motion.) The Atlas doesn’t offer tailgating seats.

Cargo Capacity

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The Flex has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Atlas doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Flex’s second row seats (third row seats optional on Limited), to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Atlas doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Ergonomics

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The Flex (except SE)’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Atlas doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Flex’s exterior PIN entry system. The Atlas doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its Car-Net can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

The Flex SE/SEL’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Atlas’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Flex has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Atlas only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Flex has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The Atlas has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the SE/SEL/SEL Premium.

The Flex’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Volkswagen only offers heated mirrors on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium.

Economic Advantages

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/15

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Flex is less expensive to operate than the Atlas because it costs $279 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Flex than the Atlas, including $230 less for a water pump, $77 less for front brake pads, $508 less for a starter, $306 less for fuel injection, $205 less for a fuel pump, $293 less for front struts, $359 less for a timing belt/chain and $517 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/15

The Flex was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 2 of the last 10 years. The Atlas has never been an “All Star.”

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