2021 GMC Yukon vs. 2021 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 2020/08/06

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Yukon are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Atlas doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Yukon has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The Atlas doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

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

Warranty

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GMC’s powertrain warranty covers the Yukon 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the Atlas. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the Atlas ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 3 times as many GMC dealers as there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Yukon’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Yukon has a standard 800-amp battery (900 Diesel). The Atlas’ 680-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that GMC vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 12th in initial quality. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that GMC vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks GMC 5 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

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The Yukon’s standard 5.3 V8 produces 120 more horsepower (355 vs. 235) and 125 lbs.-ft. more torque (383 vs. 258) than the Atlas’ standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Yukon’s 5.3 V8 produces 79 more horsepower (355 vs. 276) and 117 lbs.-ft. more torque (383 vs. 266) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6. The Yukon Denali’s standard 6.2 V8 produces 144 more horsepower (420 vs. 276) and 194 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 266) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

The Yukon’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 42 more horsepower (277 vs. 235) and 202 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 258) than the Atlas’ standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Yukon’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 1 more horsepower (277 vs. 276) and 194 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 266) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Yukon V8’s fuel efficiency. The Atlas doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Transmission

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A 10-speed automatic is standard on the GMC Yukon, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Atlas.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Yukon has larger standard tires than the Atlas (265/65R18 vs. 245/60R18). The Yukon’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Atlas (275/65R20 vs. 265/45R21).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Yukon offers optional 22-inch wheels. The Atlas’ largest wheels are only 21-inches.

The GMC Yukon’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Volkswagen Atlas only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Yukon has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Atlas doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Yukon has a standard full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the Atlas; it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.

Suspension and Handling

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

The Yukon 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 Yukon AT4/Denali has a standard automatic 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 Yukon’s wheelbase is 3.6 inches longer than on the Atlas (120.9 inches vs. 117.3 inches).

Chassis

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The front grille of the Yukon 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.

Passenger Space

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The Yukon offers optional seating for 9 passengers; the Atlas can only carry 7.

The Yukon has 14.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Atlas (168.3 vs. 153.7).

The Yukon has 1 inch more front headroom, 3 inches more front legroom, 4.4 inches more rear legroom and 1.2 inches more third row legroom than the Atlas.

Cargo Capacity

© 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 2020/08/06

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

Yukon

Atlas

Behind Third Seat

25.5 cubic feet

20.6 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

72.6 cubic feet

55.5 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

122.9 cubic feet

96.8 cubic feet

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

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the Yukon 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

© 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 2020/08/06

The Yukon’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.

The Yukon (except SLE/SLT) offers an available heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Atlas doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Yukon 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 Yukon SLT/AT4/Denali’s standard rear view mirror and optional side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Atlas has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Yukon 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.

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