3-Row SUV Showdown in Columbus: 2023 Volkswagen Atlas vs 2023 Toyota Highlander

2023 Volkswagen Atlas vs 2023 Toyota Highlander Comparison in Columbus, OH

Back in the day, if you had a large family, the preferred choice was to purchase a spacious sedan, while those who had large quantities of cargo to be hauled, would consider a pickup truck. However, what if you required both functionalities? Spending your hard-earned money on two vehicles seems unwise. Today, auto manufacturers have taken into account not only large families but that with more kids, you more than likely have more to carry around: backpacks, grocery bags, sporting equipment, large science projects, and so much more. This is why the three-row SUV was born. With three rows of seats to hold more passengers, plus copious amounts of cargo room left over, it's the best of both worlds. Since every brand seems to offer a three-row SUV, it can be daunting trying to wade through all of the information out there to try and find the vehicle that suits your needs the best. At Byers Volkswagen, we believe the three-row Atlas is your ideal choice: spacious, rugged, and engineered with your family in mind. We also know that you have a lot to choose from, which is why we've made this handy head-to-head comparison page so you can see how the 2023 Volkswagen Atlas stacks up against one of its main rivals, the 2023 Toyota Highlander. While the Highlander is a competent vehicle, Car and Driver commented that "it's still behind the leaders of the three-row family SUV class." To make up your mind, we encourage you to continue reading, then stop by Byers Volkswagen with any questions you may have.

18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are standard fare on the 2023 Atlas.

2023 Volkswagen Atlas vs 2023 Toyota Highlander: Design & Exterior Features

Both the 2023 Atlas and the 2023 Highlander offer standard 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels and all-season tires but while the Atlas gives you the choice of upgrading to either 20- or 21-inch wheels, you can only go up to 20-inch on the Highlander. Heated side mirrors are standard fare on both SUVs but only the Atlas offers full LED headlights, Poor Weather Lights for improved vision during inclement weather, and rain-sensing windshield wipers as standard equipment. The Highlander only brings available high output fog lights as a visibility option on higher trim levels as well as the rain-sensing wipers. You can upgrade trim levels on both the Atlas and the Highlander for an adaptive front lighting system, a hands-free remote power tailgate, and a panoramic sunroof but heated washer nozzles for those chilly winter days are exclusive only to the Atlas.


Find room to seat up to 7 comfortably in the three-row Atlas.

2023 Volkswagen Atlas vs 2023 Toyota Highlander: Comfort & Technology

The 2023 Atlas seats up to 7 comfortable across three rows while you can squeeze one more person inside the 2023 Highlander. But when you look at the passenger volume, you'll see that the Atlas offers almost 15% more room: 154 cubic feet compared to only 135 cubic feet, which means there's less room for more people in the Highlander. You'll also see more cargo space across the board inside the Atlas: with both sets of seats laid flat, the Atlas offers 96.8 cubic feet while the Highlander only brings 84.3 cubic feet. Heated front seats swathed in V-Tex® leather are standard fare on the Atlas and available on higher trim levels of the Highlander; in fact, the Highlander only offers leather-trimmed seats. Both SUVs offer available heated 2nd row outboard seats and ventilated front seats for extra luxury and comfort.

The MIB infotainment system is standard fare across the board on the 2023 Atlas, keeping you easily connected no matter how far you travel, while the Highlander offers the standard Toyota Auto Media system. Both have standard Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto for convenient access to your favorite smartphone apps as well as Bluetooth® for seamless audio streaming. Wireless charging and a high end audio system are available on both SUVS

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Get up to 25 MPH on the highway from the 2023 Atlas.

2023 Volkswagen Atlas vs 2023 Toyota Highlander: Performance

The 2023 Atlas has a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder under the hood that produces a mighty 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The 2023 Highlander may offer a standard 2.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 265 horsepower, however, that's the only gasoline-powered engine to choose from. A potent 3.0-liter V6 generates 276 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. Both SUVs are paired to an 8-speed automatic but only the Atlas comes with Tiptronic® for the option to change the fears manually. Both the Atlas and the Highlander are front-wheel drive but give you the choice to upgrade to all-wheel drive.


Get extra peace of mind every time you drive the 2023 Atlas with its award-winning safety features.

2023 Volkswagen Atlas vs 2023 Toyota Highlander: Safety

Both the 2023 Atlas and the 2023 Highlander were awarded a 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, that institution's highest honor. Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking are standard fare on both SUVs while only the Atlas gives you the standard Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, features only available on higher trim levels of the Highlander. Light Assist and Park Distance Control are available on both vehicles while Travel Assist, Lane Assist, and Emergency Assist are exclusive only to the Atlas.

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2023 Volkswagen Atlas vs 2023 Toyota Highlander: Overall Value

With more standard features, more powertrain options, and more room, the 2023 Volkswagen Atlas stands as one of your best choices when you're looking for a three-row SUV. And at a starting MSRP of only $35,110, you're getting the best value for your money. The 2023 Toyota Highlander starts at an MSRP of $36,620 and doesn't offer as many quality amenities that you'll find with the Atlas. To see how the 2023 Atlas feels when you're behind the wheel, we encourage you to call or contact us online to set up your test drive. We can't wait to see you.

Feature 2023 Volkswagen Atlas 2023 Toyota Highlander
Starting MSRP* $35,150 $36,620
Standard Torque (lb-ft) 258 310
Max Tow Capacity 5,000 lbs 5,000 lbs
Seating Capacity 7 8
Passenger Volume (Cubic Feet) 154.0 141.8
Max Cargo Volume (Cubic Feet) 96.8 84.3
Apple CarPlay® & Android Auto Standard Standard
Bluetooth® Standard Standard
Engine Start-Stop System Standard Standard
Blind Spot Monitor Standard Available

*Prices exclude transportation, taxes, title, other options, and dealer charges. Dealer sets actual price.

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