Changes to 2021 Volkswagen Models Headlined by Electric ID.4 and New Tech

Liz Kim | Dec 10, 2020

This year, Volkswagen gets serious about electric vehicles. The eGolf, with its paltry 125 miles of driving range, left the building last year. Now, the new Volkswagen ID.4 arrives with 250 miles of range and in compact SUV format.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Blue Front Quarter Sunset

Several Volkswagen models are now available with Level 2 advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS). Travel Assist combines the adaptive cruise control with lane-centering assistance to reduce fatigue on long drives, but it is not a hands-free system so drivers must continue to pay attention and steer the vehicle. 

If they don’t, Emergency Assist will activate, bringing the vehicle to a full stop if the driver fails to respond to requests to retake control of the steering. In such situations, Emergency Assist operates under the assumption that the driver is asleep or medically incapacitated.

Otherwise, Volkswagen adds its next-generation infotainment system to most vehicles. Known as the MIB3 system, and first available in Audi models, it offers wireless connectivity for multiple phones, improved voice recognition capability, enhanced navigation functions, and SiriusXM 360L satellite radio and streaming content. Plus, MIB3 is much faster to load and respond to inputs than the previous technology.

Otherwise, changes are fairly minor, with the range-topping Arteon sportback and Atlas SUV getting freshenings for 2021.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon Changes - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

The Volkswagen Arteon is an unusual car. It comes only in 5-door sportback format, and with a turbocharged 4-cylinder powering the front or all four wheels. If you think that sounds like the recipe for an Audi, you’re right. This year, the 2021 Arteon gets even better thanks to updated styling, improved interior materials, new digital instrumentation, the MIB3 infotainment system, a Harman Kardon premium audio system, and new safety technologies including Travel Assist and Emergency Assist.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Changes - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

For 2021, Volkswagen’s big 7-passenger Atlas SUV gets a styling and interior refresh, followed by the addition of MIB3 and new Travel Assist and Emergency Assist connected service plans at the mid-year point. The new tech is available on selected versions of the Atlas.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Changes - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

The Atlas Cross Sport is essentially a 5-door version of the larger Atlas, but equipped with a more rakish roofline. For 2021, it receives the MIB3 infotainment system and both Travel Assist and Emergency Assist. As is true with the Atlas, the technology upgrades are restricted to certain trim levels.

2021 Volkswagen Golf Changes - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

Lately, the formerly expansive Golf lineup has shrunk to a single 5-door hatchback body style in standard TSI and racy GTI model series. The Alltrack, the Sportwagen, and the Golf R have all been discontinued or put on hiatus in the past two years.

If you want a basic Golf TSI to serve your commuter-vehicle needs, it is in its last year on the market, and it gets a bunch of new standard equipment for 2021. Next year, the all-new Volkswagen Taos small SUV takes its place, since that’s the kind of vehicle people like to buy. 

Fans of the Golf GTI and Golf R have reason to celebrate, though, because redesigned versions of those models are returning to the U.S. lineup for 2022. And GTI production is moving back to Germany, too.

In the meantime, the Mexico-sourced 2021 Golf GTI gets new gloss black mirrors and a rear spoiler for its final year before the complete redesign. The SE and Autobahn trim levels also get new 18-inch aluminum wheels for 2021, and they’ll be the only seventh-generation GTI models equipped with the MIB3 infotainment system.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

Arriving during the first quarter of 2021, the Volkswagen ID.4 is the first of several battery electric vehicles that VW will sell in the U.S. It’s a compact crossover SUV with seating for five people, and it offers 250 miles of driving. Every ID.4 buyer gets three free years of charging station use at Electrify America facilities, with Volkswagen hoping the offer will eliminate range anxiety and make the ID.4 more appealing to apartment dwellers who cannot easily plug in an electric vehicle and recharge it overnight. The ID.4 also debuts Volkswagen’s new IQ Drive collection of ADAS.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta Changes - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

Get a 2021 Volkswagen Jetta in SEL, SEL Premium, or GLI Autobahn trim, and you’ll benefit from the new MIB3 infotainment system. Aside from that upgrade, and some additional brightwork on the exterior, the Jetta carries over from 2020.

2021 Volkswagen Passat Changes - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

Volkswagen’s midsize Passat sedan adds adaptive cruise control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel as standard equipment for 2021. The SE trim level sports new 18-inch aluminum wheels as well as a standard sunroof, while the R-Line trim gets a laundry list of new standard equipment, including adaptive front headlights, a navigation system, and a Fender premium sound system. Volkswagen has cancelled the SEL trim for 2021.

The 2021 Passat will not be getting the MIB3 treatment. In fact, Volkswagen has announced it will discontinue the Passat after the 2023 model year in order to free up space in its Tennessee assembly plant to build more electric vehicles.

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan Changes - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

Volkswagen’s compact SUV wears new 17-inch aluminum wheels when equipped with S and SE trim levels, while the Tiguan SE also gets an adaptive cruise control system with stop-and-go capability and the MIB3 infotainment system as standard equipment. Choose the top-of-the-line Tiguan SEL Premium R-Line for a new power-adjustable front passenger’s seat. The Tiguan receives a refresh for the 2022 model year.

Volkswagen is the source of information in this article. It was accurate on December 8, 2020, but it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker’s website or your local dealership.

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