VW Atlas Towing Capacity (All Years 2018-2023)

The VW Atlas was introduced in Volkswagen’s lineup as a mid-size crossover SUV in 2018 and has gained a lot of popularity since thanks to its affordability and value. Volkswagen vehicles are known for their dependability and for having the features consumers expect from today’s SUVs, including towing. But what is the towing capacity of a VW Atlas?

The VW Atlas has a towing capacity of 2,000 to 5,000 pounds depending on the configuration.

There’s a bit more to know about VW Atlas towing capabilities which we’ll cover in today’s guide.

2023 VW Atlas Towing Capacity

whats the towing capacity of a vw atlas
How much weight can a VW Atlas tow is up to 5,000 lbs.

As we covered earlier, the current VW Atlas can tow a maximum of 5,000 lbs when properly equipped.

VW Atlas Trim LevelEngineAxle RatioHorsepowerTorqueTowing Capacity
SE2.0L Turbo I-43.60235 hp258 lb.-ft2,000 lbs / 907 kg
SE with Technology2.0L Turbo I-43.60235 hp258 lb.-ft2,000 lbs / 907 kg
SE with Technology3.6L V63.60276 hp266 lb.-ft5,000 lbs / 2,268 kg
SEL2.0L Turbo I-43.60235 hp258 lb.-ft2,000 lbs / 907 kg
SEL3.6L V63.60276 hp266 lb.-ft5,000 lbs / 2,268 kg
SEL R-Line3.6L V63.60276 hp266 lb.-ft5,000 lbs / 2,268 kg
SEL Premium R-Line3.6L V63.60276 hp266 lb.-ft5,000 lbs / 2,268 kg
2023 VW Atlas Towing Capacity Chart

You can also read our guide on what makes a vehicle towing capacity to learn all the aspects that go into it.

VW Atlas Cross Sport Towing Capacity

VW Atlas Cross Sport Towing Capacity
A VW Atlas Cross Sport can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Volkswagen introduced the Atlas Cross Sport in 2020 as a variation on the standard Atlas body.

Because the same engines are used in both vehicles the VW Atlas Cross Sport towing capacity is 2,000 to 5,000 pounds.

VW Atlas Braked Vs. Unbraked Towing Capacity

All vehicles have different towing capacities based on whether or not you’re towing a trailer that has trailer brakes installed.

Trailer brakes allow the trailer to stop faster than if only the vehicle is using its brakes, allowing the vehicle to tow more weight, so braked towing capacity will always be higher than unbraked towing capacity.

VW Atlas Braked Towing Capacity: 2,000 – 5,000 lbs.

VW Atlas Unbraked Towing Capacity: 1,500 lbs.

Volkswagen Atlas Towing Capacity Factors

The two engines offered in the VW Atlas are what determines whether your Atlas can tow 2,000 or 5,000 pounds.

The 2.0L Turbo engine has the 2,000 towing cap, while the 3.6L V6 can pull up to 5,000 pounds.

VW has a different approach from most manufacturers on which engines can be selected based on trim levels.

The 2.0L Turbo engine is standard on the SE and SEL trims, while the 3.6 V6 comes standard on the SEL R-Line and SEL Premium R-Line trims.

You can also upgrade the standard 2.0L Turbo engine on the SEL to the 3.6 V6.

So this confirms that the max towing capability for an Atlas SE is 2,000 pounds, and that the max towing cap for an Atlas SEL R-Line and SEL Premium R-Line are 5,000 pounds, but the SEL trim depends on which engine is in it.

On prior year models, the engine option also affected the Volkswagen Atlas tow capacity.

We’ll get into the tow package a little later.

VW Atlas Engine Specs

The Atlas has two engine options:

One is a 2.0 Liter I-4 turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve gas engine that offers a max 235 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft of torque, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

This engine can pull 2,000 pounds.

The upgraded option is a 3.6 Liter DOHC 24-valve 6 cylinder gas engine that offers a max 276 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft of torque, also paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

This engine can pull 5,000 pounds.

VW Atlas Tow Packages

Volkswagen Atlas
How much can a VW Atlas tow is 5,000 pounds.

Does The VW Atlas Have A Tow Package?

VW offers a trailer hitch that comes standard on the trim levels featuring the 3.6L V6 engine, which are the SEL R-Line and SEL Premium R-Line.

Volkswagen does not offer a factory-installed trailer hitch option for the 2.0L I4 engine trims, which are the SE, SEL, and SEL with Technology.

Can You Install A Trailer Hitch On a VW Atlas?

Rear view of VW Atlas with Tow Hitch
How much weight can a VW Atlas pull is 5,000 pounds.

If you plan on towing anything with your VW Atlas, you’ll need a tow hitch and wiring harness.

Depending on what you’re towing, you’re going to need a ball mount (aka a trailer ball hitch) so you can attach items for towing.

Make sure to get the right trailer ball size that matches your hitch and trailer.

VW Atlas Tow Hitch

Trailer hitches come in different hitch classes, which are rated for different vehicle sizes and weight limits.

The VW Atlas uses a Class 3 hitch.

Here’s a great option for a VW Atlas trailer hitch:

CURT 13366 Class 3 Trailer Hitch, 2-Inch Receiver, Fits Select Volkswagen Atlas , black
  • DEPENDABLE STRENGTH. This trailer hitch is rated for 6,000 lbs. gross trailer weight and 900 lbs. tongue weight (limited to lowest-rated towing component)
  • VERSATILE DESIGN. This class 3 hitch equips your vehicle with a standard 2-inch x 2-inch hitch receiver, allowing for a wide variety of towing options. It can accept a ball mount, cargo carrier, bike rack, tow hook and much more
  • FULLY TESTED. Every CURT class 3 trailer hitch design is tested in real-world, on-vehicle conditions at our Detroit engineering facility. Aftermarket hitches are tested according to SAE J684 standards for the utmost safety while hauling
  • RUST, CHIP, UV-RESISTANT. This tow hitch is protected with a unique dual-coat finish of rust-resistant liquid A-coat and highly durable black powder coat. The two finishes are co-cured together for exceptional resistance to rust, chipping and UV rays
  • EASY TO INSTALL. This hitch offers a custom, factory fit on select model years of the Volkswagen Atlas (excluding Cross Sport)

Here’s a great ball mount option so you can hook up different types of trailers for towing with your Atlas:

Sale
CURT 45148 Trailer Hitch Mount, 2-Inch Ball, Pin, Fits 1-1/4-In Receiver, 3,500 lbs, 3-1/4" Drop, GLOSS BLACK POWDER COAT
  • DEPENDABLE STRENGTH. Rated to tow 3,500 pounds gross trailer weight and 350 pounds tongue weight, this ball hitch offers dependability for your towing setup (weight capacity may change if trailer ball is removed).Fit Type: Universal Fit
  • VERSATILE USE. This trailer hitch ball mount comes with a 1-1/4-inch shank to fit virtually any industry-standard 1-1/4-inch receiver. The ball mount has a 3-1/4-inch drop, 2-inch diameter ball, 1/2-inch hitch pin hole and 7-1/4-inch overall length
  • READY TO TOW. Hitching up your trailer is easy with this ready-to-use trailer hitch ball mount. It comes with a pre-attached tow ball for ready coupling and a trailer hitch pin to securely mount onto your hitch receiver
  • CORROSION-RESISTANT. For long-lasting use, this ball hitch is protected with a durable black powder coat finish, and the trailer ball has a polished chrome plating. These finishes resist damage from rain, dirt, road salt and other corrosive threats
  • EASY TO INSTALL. To install the trailer hitch ball mount on your vehicle, simply insert the shank into your vehicle's 1-1/4-inch hitch receiver. The rounded shank makes installation easy

VW Atlas Tow Hitch Installation

If you’re considering having a tow hitch added to your Atlas, expect to pay between $100 and $200 to have a tow package professionally installed (excluding the cost of the tow hitch and wiring harness).

If you’re handy and looking to save money, you can install the trailer hitch and wiring harness yourself.

Always follow the manufacturer’s directions and use proper safety precautions.

Here’s a great video walkthrough on a VW Atlas trailer hitch installation:

Hitch Receiver Vs Rear Step Bumper Towing

Some vehicles allow for bumper towing, which means you can mount a tow hitch ball directly on the bumper instead of installing a tow hitch to the vehicle’s frame.

Can I Bumper Tow With A VW Atlas?

The VW Atlas does not allow for bumper towing, so you’ll need to use a frame-mounted hitch.

How Do I Know If My VW Atlas Has A Tow Package?

VW Atlas Towing A Camper Trailer
The VW Atlas can tow up to 5,000  pounds.

You can start by looking under the rear bumper of your Atlas to see if you notice a trailer hitch or trailer ball.

That will give you a good indication of if you have a tow hitch already installed on your Atlas.

Another way to research this is by checking the paperwork that came with your vehicle or taking it to a local dealer to see what’s installed.

Make sure to have your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) handy if you call the dealer so they can look up the exact specs and whether or not your vehicle has any towing packages or features installed on it.

2022 VW Atlas Towing Capacity

The 2022 VW Atlas can tow between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds depending on which engine is in it, just like the 2023 model.

VW Atlas Trim LevelEngineAxle RatioHorsepowerTorqueTowing Capacity
SE2.0L Turbo I-43.60235 hp258 lb.-ft2,000 lbs / 907 kg
SE with Technology2.0L Turbo I-43.60235 hp258 lb.-ft2,000 lbs / 907 kg
SE with Technology3.6L V63.60276 hp266 lb.-ft5,000 lbs / 2,268 kg
SEL2.0L Turbo I-43.60235 hp258 lb.-ft2,000 lbs / 907 kg
SEL3.6L V63.60276 hp266 lb.-ft5,000 lbs / 2,268 kg
SEL R-Line3.6L V63.60276 hp266 lb.-ft5,000 lbs / 2,268 kg
SEL Premium R-Line3.6L V63.60276 hp266 lb.-ft5,000 lbs / 2,268 kg
2022 VW Atlas Towing Capacity Chart

2021 VW Atlas Towing Capacity

The 2021 VW Atlas can tow between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds depending on which engine is in it

VW Atlas Engine TypeMaximum Braked Towing Capacity
2.0L Turbo 4 Cylinder2,000 lbs / 907 kg
3.6L V65,000 lbs / 2,268 kg
2021 VW Atlas Towing Capacity Chart

2020 VW Atlas Towing Capacity

The 2020 VW Atlas can tow between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds depending on which engine is in it

VW Atlas Engine TypeMaximum Braked Towing Capacity
2.0L Turbo 4 Cylinder2,000 lbs / 907 kg
3.6L V65,000 lbs / 2,268 kg
2020 VW Atlas Towing Capacity Chart

2019 VW Atlas Towing Capacity

The 2019 VW Atlas can tow between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds depending on which engine is in it

VW Atlas Engine TypeMaximum Braked Towing Capacity
2.0L Turbo 4 Cylinder2,000 lbs / 907 kg
3.6L V65,000 lbs / 2,268 kg
2019 VW Atlas Towing Capacity Chart

2018 VW Atlas Towing Capacity

The 2018 VW Atlas can tow between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds depending on which engine is in it

VW Atlas Engine TypeMaximum Braked Towing Capacity
2.0L Turbo 4 Cylinder2,000 lbs / 907 kg
3.6L V65,000 lbs / 2,268 kg
2018 VW Atlas Towing Capacity Chart

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