2020 Chrysler Pacifica vs. 2019 Volkswagen Atlas

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/10/16

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Chrysler Pacifica are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Volkswagen Atlas doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

Both the Pacifica 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, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Chrysler Pacifica is safer than the Volkswagen Atlas:

Pacifica

Atlas

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Pacifica the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Atlas was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/10/16

There are almost 4 times as many Chrysler dealers as there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Pacifica’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Pacifica has a standard 730-amp battery. The Atlas’ 680-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine

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The Pacifica Hybrid’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 25 more horsepower (260 vs. 235) than the Atlas’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Pacifica’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 11 more horsepower (287 vs. 276) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Chrysler Pacifica is faster than the Volkswagen Atlas V6:

Pacifica Hybrid

Pacifica V6

Atlas

Zero to 60 MPH

7.8 sec

7.3 sec

7.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

19.7 sec

20.2 sec

20.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

8.1 sec

7.9 sec

8.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90 MPH

91 MPH

89 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/10/16

On the EPA test cycle the Pacifica Hybrid running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Atlas 2.0T (87 city/76 hwy MPGe vs. 22 city/26 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the Pacifica Hybrid running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Atlas 2.0T (29 city/30 hwy vs. 22 city/26 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the Pacifica gets better fuel mileage than the Atlas:

MPG

Pacifica

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/28 hwy

Atlas

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/24 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/23 hwy

The Pacifica Hybrid can drive on battery power alone for up to 32 miles. The Atlas must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the Pacifica Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Atlas doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Chrysler Pacifica uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Atlas requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Pacifica 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.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chrysler Pacifica, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Atlas.

The Pacifica Hybrid has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Atlas doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Pacifica stops much shorter than the Atlas:

Pacifica

Atlas

70 to 0 MPH

164 feet

174 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

139 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

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

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Pacifica’s wheelbase is 4.3 inches longer than on the Atlas (121.6 inches vs. 117.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Pacifica is 1 inch wider in the front and .5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Atlas.

Chassis

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To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Pacifica has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The Atlas uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The front grille of the Pacifica uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Atlas doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Pacifica uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Atlas doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Pacifica offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the Atlas can only carry 7.

The Pacifica has 11.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Atlas (165.1 vs. 153.7).

The Pacifica has .8 inches more front hip room, 2.3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear legroom, 6.8 inches more rear hip room, 2.2 inches more rear shoulder room, .4 inches more third row headroom, 2.8 inches more third row legroom, 4.4 inches more third row hip room and 6.3 inches more third row shoulder room than the Atlas.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Pacifica’s middle and third row seats recline. The Atlas’ third row seats don’t recline.

The front step up height for the Pacifica is 1.7 inches lower than the Atlas (16.3” vs. 18”).

Cargo Capacity

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The Pacifica’s cargo area provides more volume than the Atlas.

Pacifica

Atlas

Behind Third Seat

32.3 cubic feet

20.6 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

87.5 cubic feet

55.5 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

140.5 cubic feet

96.8 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Pacifica easier. The Pacifica’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 24.3 inches, while the Atlas’ liftover is 29.7 inches.

The Pacifica’s cargo area is larger than the Atlas’ in almost every dimension:

Pacifica

Atlas

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

23.2”/57.5”/92.5”

23.8”/53”/85”

Max Width

49.3”

61.6”

Min Width

48.8”

45”

Height

47.6”

37.5”

The Pacifica has standard Stow ‘n Go™ second and third row seats (except Hybrid for the second row), which fold 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 or raises the Pacifica’s optional third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Atlas doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Towing

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The Pacifica’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Atlas’ (3600 vs. 2000 pounds).

Ergonomics

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The Pacifica Limited non-Hybrid’s standard 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.

The Pacifica’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Atlas does not have an oil pressure gauge.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Pacifica 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 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Pacifica’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Atlas’ headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

The Pacifica Limited has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Atlas offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Pacifica has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Pacifica owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Pacifica will cost $750 less than the Atlas over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Pacifica is less expensive to operate than the Atlas because it costs $582 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Pacifica than the Atlas, including $426 less for a water pump, $284 less for a starter, $335 less for fuel injection, $171 less for front struts, $506 less for a timing belt/chain and $723 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chrysler Pacifica will be $1590 to $4529 less than for the Volkswagen Atlas.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/10/16

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Pacifica second among minivans in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Atlas isn’t in the top three.

The Pacifica was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 3 of the last 3 years. The Atlas has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

The Chrysler Pacifica outsold the Volkswagen Atlas by almost two to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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