2020 Toyota Sequoia vs. 2019 Volkswagen Atlas

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front, middle and rear seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Sequoia 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 or rear seat belts.

The Sequoia’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Atlas doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

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

The Toyota Sequoia weighs 1002 to 1778 pounds more than the Volkswagen Atlas. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Sequoia for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Volkswagen doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Atlas.

There are over 89 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Sequoia’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Sequoia has a standard 710-amp battery. The Atlas’ 680-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 Sequoia’s reliability 54 points higher than the Atlas.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sequoia second among large suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Atlas isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Volkswagen is ranked 16th.

Engine

The Sequoia’s 5.7 DOHC V8 produces 146 more horsepower (381 vs. 235) and 143 lbs.-ft. more torque (401 vs. 258) than the Atlas’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Sequoia’s 5.7 DOHC V8 produces 105 more horsepower (381 vs. 276) and 135 lbs.-ft. more torque (401 vs. 266) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Sequoia is faster than the Volkswagen Atlas V6:

Sequoia

Atlas

Zero to 30 MPH

2 sec

2.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

7.9 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

10.7 sec

13 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

3.2 sec

4.3 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93.7 MPH

81.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

The Sequoia has 7.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Atlas (26.4 vs. 18.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Sequoia’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Atlas:

Sequoia

Atlas

Front Rotors

13.9 inches

13.2 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

12.2 inches

The Sequoia stops much shorter than the Atlas:

Sequoia

Atlas

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

139 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Sequoia has larger tires than the Atlas (275/65R18 vs. 245/60R18). The Sequoia SR5’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Atlas (275/65R18 vs. 265/45R21).

Suspension and Handling

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

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

The Sequoia offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Sequoia offers an optional automatic rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Atlas doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sequoia’s wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the Atlas (122 inches vs. 117.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Sequoia is .7 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Atlas.

The Sequoia’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.4% to 49.6%) than the Atlas’ (55.1% to 44.9%). This gives the Sequoia more stable handling and braking.

The Sequoia TRD Sport 4x4 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Atlas SEL 4Motion (27.3 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.9 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Sequoia Platinum has a 1.6 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Atlas (9.6 vs. 8 inches), allowing the Sequoia to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Sequoia’s minimum ground clearance is 2 inches higher than on the Atlas (10 vs. 8 inches).

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Sequoia Platinum 4x4 is quieter than the Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion (71 vs. 76 dB).

Passenger Space

The Sequoia has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Atlas can only carry 7.

The Sequoia has 1 inch more front legroom, 4.3 inches more front hip room, 4.9 inches more front shoulder room, 3.3 inches more rear legroom, 1.9 inches more rear hip room, 4.8 inches more rear shoulder room, 1.6 inches more third row legroom, 5.3 inches more third row hip room and 10.8 inches more third row shoulder room than the Atlas.

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

Cargo Capacity

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

Sequoia

Atlas

Third Seat Folded

66.6 cubic feet

55.5 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

120.1 cubic feet

96.8 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Sequoia’s optional third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Atlas doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The Sequoia’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Atlas’ rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Payload and Towing

The Sequoia’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Atlas’ (7100 vs. 2000 pounds).

The Sequoia has a higher maximum payload capacity than the Atlas (1350 vs. 1213 lbs.).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Sequoia is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Atlas. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

The Sequoia Platinum’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel 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 Sequoia’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 Sequoia 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.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Sequoia has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Atlas doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The Sequoia Limited/Platinum/TRD Pro 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 Sequoia 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

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sequoia is less expensive to operate than the Atlas because it costs $264 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Sequoia than the Atlas, including $306 less for a water pump, $589 less for a muffler, $45 less for front brake pads, $216 less for fuel injection, $101 less for front struts, $53 less for a timing belt/chain and $948 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Toyota Sequoia, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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