2020 Volkswagen Atlas Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Powertrain and engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The 2020 Volkswagen Atlas is a family SUV that’s designed to provide maximum space. The automaker tells customers to “bring everyone along for the ride,” but some owners are scared to take the SUV anywhere. Not only does it have a defective powertrain, but also suffers from issues with all major systems.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2021   2022   2023

Problems with the Powertrain

The powertrain is responsible for giving a vehicle acceleration and superior handling, but the 2020 Atlas struggles with both.

One Edmunds user wrote, “Many buyers including myself have had issues with the sluggish jumpy first to second gear and also an screeching noise many times at low speed acceleration.  Based on the VW forums and my own mechanic, this is a faulty torque converter.  My screeching noise is getting worse and VW simply states it is normal.  Will never lease or buy a VW again!  Buyer beware…STAY AWAY as their dealers do not support their customers after the sale.”

Volkswagen isn’t oblivious to issues with the powertrain. In fact, Service Bulletin #VIN4APIN20201021 talks about multiple complaints, such as diagnostic trouble codes, rattling from under the vehicle and misfiring. Problems could even be related to broken mounting bolt brackets, which is a serious concern. The German automakers have regularly been praised for their attention to detail, but this model flat-out fails. It’s not meant for any type of ride, let alone one with the whole family.

2020 Volkswagen Atlas Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Service Brakes
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Air Bags
Unknown Or Other
Vehicle Speed Control
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Electronic Stability Control

Problems with the Engine

Complaints go beyond the customers all the way up to some of the top automotive publications. However, these complaints deal with all of the major systems, which is a little scary.

Here’s what MotorBiscuit had to say. “The big-ticket trouble spots on the Volkswagen Atlas got ‘Better/Best’ ratings from the CR reliability tests — the engine and transmission, for both major and minor issues; and the braking system. Same thing for the drive, electrical and climate systems… On the downside, the headlights provide just average visibility, and the fuel system gets the same gentleman’s C, and the power equipment and interior electronics are the pits.”

Wow. What happened to the old saying – if you have nothing nice to say? In all fairness, these publications have every reason to be disappointed with the Atlas. Previous models were even involved in a class-action lawsuit, which might eventually extend to the 2020 models. It turns out that there was a major defect with the Front Collision Assist software that was leading to stalling and unexpected braking. It seems that Volkswagen doesn’t even know how to make safety equipment safe.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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