2021 Volkswagen Atlas vs. 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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 2020/08/15

The Atlas has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Atlas SEL/SEL Premium has standard Maneuver Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Atlas SEL Premium has a standard Overhead View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Grand Cherokee only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Atlas and the Grand Cherokee 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, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive and lane departure warning systems.

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

Atlas

Grand Cherokee

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

138

242

Chest Compression

.7 inches

.9 inches

Neck Compression

46 lbs.

97 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

156/231 lbs.

340/145 lbs.

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

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Volkswagen Atlas is safer than the Grand Cherokee:

Atlas

Grand Cherokee

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

5 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

3.1/0 kN

4.9/2.3 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

1%/0%

3%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.46/.5

1.06/.54

Tibia forces R/L

2.1/.7 kN

2.3/1.3 kN

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Volkswagen Atlas is safer than the Jeep Grand Cherokee:

Atlas

Grand Cherokee

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

57

59

Chest Movement

.5 inches

1.2 inches

Abdominal Force

48 G’s

182 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

527 lbs.

612 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

18 inches

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Atlas the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 198 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Grand Cherokee was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

© 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 2020/08/15

The Atlas comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Grand Cherokee’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The Atlas’ corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Grand Cherokee’s (7 vs. 5 years).

Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the Atlas for 2 years and 20,000 miles. Volkswagen will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Jeep doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Grand Cherokee.

Reliability

© 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 2020/08/15

The Volkswagen Atlas’ engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Grand Cherokee’s 3.6 DOHC V6 engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the Atlas have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the 5.7 V8 in the Grand Cherokee.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 36 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 24th.

Engine

© 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 2020/08/15

The Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (266 vs. 260) than the Grand Cherokee’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Volkswagen Atlas V6 is faster than the Jeep Grand Cherokee V6:

Atlas

Grand Cherokee

Zero to 60 MPH

7.3 sec

7.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.8 MPH

88.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/08/15

Regardless of its engine, the Atlas’ engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Jeep only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Grand Cherokee V6.

Brakes and Stopping

© 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 2020/08/15

For better stopping power the Atlas’ standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the Grand Cherokee:

Atlas

Grand Cherokee

Front Rotors

13.2 inches

13 inches

The Atlas’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Grand Cherokee V6 are solid, not vented.

The Atlas stops much shorter than the Grand Cherokee:

Atlas

Grand Cherokee

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

188 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

© 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 2020/08/15

The Atlas’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Grand Cherokee Laredo’s standard 70 series tires. The Atlas SEL Premium’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Grand Cherokee’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Atlas has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Grand Cherokee Laredo. The Atlas SEL Premium’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the Grand Cherokee.

Suspension and Handling

© 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 2020/08/15

The Atlas’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Atlas’ wheelbase is 2.6 inches longer than on the Grand Cherokee (117.3 inches vs. 114.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Atlas is 3.3 inches wider in the front and 3.7 inches wider in the rear than on the Grand Cherokee.

The Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion handles at .84 G’s, while the Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 pulls only .72 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Atlas SE executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 (27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.8 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

© 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 2020/08/15

The Volkswagen Atlas may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 550 pounds less than the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The design of the Volkswagen Atlas amounts to more than styling. The Atlas has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .34 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Grand Cherokee (.371). A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Atlas get better fuel mileage.

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 2020/08/15

The Atlas has standard seating for 7 passengers; the Grand Cherokee can only carry 5.

The Atlas has 48.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Grand Cherokee (153.7 vs. 105.4).

The Atlas has 1.4 inches more front headroom, 1.2 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more front hip room, 2.8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 1.8 inches more rear hip room and 2.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Grand Cherokee.

The front step up height for the Atlas is 2.5 inches lower than the Grand Cherokee (18” vs. 20.5”). The Atlas’ rear step up height is 2.8 inches lower than the Grand Cherokee’s (18” vs. 20.8”).

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 2020/08/15

The Atlas’ cargo area provides more volume than the Grand Cherokee.

Atlas

Grand Cherokee

Third Seat Folded

55.5 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

36.3 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

96.8 cubic feet

68.3 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Atlas easier. The Atlas’ cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.7 inches, while the Grand Cherokee’s liftover is 32.4 inches.

The Atlas’ cargo area is larger than the Grand Cherokee’s in every dimension:

Atlas

Grand Cherokee

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

23.8”/53”/85”

n.a./38.5”/74.2”

Max Width

61.6”

47.6”

Min Width

45”

41.7”

Height

37.5”

33.5”

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Atlas’ available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

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 2020/08/15

The Atlas’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Grand Cherokee’s parking brake has to released manually.

The Atlas’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Grand Cherokee’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. The driver of the Grand Cherokee can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Atlas’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Grand Cherokee’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Atlas offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Atlas SEL/SEL Premium/R-Line also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Volkswagen Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium/R-Line has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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 2020/08/15

Insurance will cost less for the Atlas owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Atlas with a number “5” insurance rate while the Grand Cherokee is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

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

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