Choosing Between the Atlas SE w/ Technology Package and the SEL

February 25th, 2023 by

Red 2023 Volkswagen Atlas on a desert road

The Atlas is Volkswagen’s 3-row SUV and as the name implies, it is large with plenty of room for adults in all three rows to ride comfortably. Its exterior of sharp angles and straight lines is gimmick-free for a stately appearance that will age well over the years. At Bud Brown Volkswagen, we have noticed that the best-selling Atlas models are the SE with Technology Package and the SEL with buyers often trying to decide between the two. Now that the SE’s Technology package includes the 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit, the choice can be even more difficult.


Both trim levels come standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4 producing 235 hp and 258@1600 lb-ft of torque. The SE is available in front-wheel drive (FWD) with 4MOTION® All-Wheel Drive (AWD) as a $1900 option. AWD comes standard on the SEL. 4MOTION also includes Active Control, which provides specific drive modes for Snow, On-road, Off-Road, and a customizable Off-Road mode. The difference in fuel economy between the two drivetrains is minimal with FWD models getting EPA Est. mph of 21/25/23 (city/hwy./combined) with each number dropping by just one mpg for AWD.


Both models are also available with the 3.6-liter V-6 producing 276 hp and 266 @ 2750 lb-ft of torque. With this engine, there is no fuel mileage difference between FWD and AWD with both getting EPA Est. mph of 18/24/20 (city/hwy/combined).  When it comes to features, both models are well-equipped each including the following:

Seating and Controls

  • Digital Cockpit Pro with a 10.25-inch display
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel 
  • 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat 
  • Heated front Leatherette seats 
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Rearview camera with dynamic guidelines 
  • Proximity keyless entry and Remote Start


2023 Volkswagen Atlas InfotainmentInfotainment System

  • 6-speaker audio system with an 8-inch touchscreen
  • Bluetooth® wireless smartphone integration
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration
  • Voice control
  • Satellite radio capability
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Wi-Fi hotspot capability 
  • 115-volt power outlet

Safety and Driver Assist 

  • Forward collision warning with emergency braking
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Rear cross-traffic alert 
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Front/rear park assist


  • Exterior LED lights 
  • Heated power outboard mirrors
  • Rain-sensing wipers.
  • Hands-free power liftgate
  • 20-inch alloy wheels

With all the features above, the Atlas SE with Technology Package has a starting MSRP of $38,770 with FWD and $40,670 with AWD. As mentioned, AWD comes standard on the SEL which has a starting MSRP of $44,390. So when comparing AWD models, the difference comes to $3,720. Most of the difference comes with the addition of VW’s IQ.Drive system,  which in addition to the driver assistance features listed above includes:

  • Lane-keeping assist with steering assist
  • Steering assist added to blind-spot monitoring
  • High-Beam Assist – Automatically switches to low beams when headlights or taillights are detected and switches back to high beams automatically when no vehicle lights are detected.
  • Traffic Sign Recognition – A camera recognizes speed limit signs and posts the limit on the Digital Cockpit display. The system will do the same for Yield and Stop signs.

There are additional comfort & convenience features and a few aesthetic enhancements as well, including:


  • Memory functions for the driver’s seat and outside mirrors
  • 8-way power-adjustable front passenger seat
  • Heated steering wheel
  • In-board navigation system
  • Ambient interior lighting


  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) w/ dynamic cornering lights
  • Heated front washer nozzles 
  • Silver roof rails (black on SE with Tech Pkg.)

Whichever model you choose, the Atlas SE with Technology Package or the Atlas SL, Bud Brown Volkswagen has options for you. All new models come with the amazing Bud Brown Advantage Lifetime Limited Warranty covering every aspect of the powertrain from the air intake to the rear drive axle.  Stop by Bud Brown Volkswagen and take your test drive today.