Both the Discovery and Atlas have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Discovery has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Atlas’ child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Discovery. But it costs extra on the Atlas.
The Discovery HSE/HSE Luxury’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Atlas doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Discovery and the Atlas have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
The Discovery’s 3.0 supercharged V6 produces 105 more horsepower (340 vs. 235) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (332 vs. 258) than the Atlas’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Discovery’s 3.0 supercharged V6 produces 64 more horsepower (340 vs. 276) and 66 lbs.-ft. more torque (332 vs. 266) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6.
The Discovery’s 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 19 more horsepower (254 vs. 235) and 185 lbs.-ft. more torque (443 vs. 258) than the Atlas’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Discovery’s 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 177 lbs.-ft. more torque (443 vs. 266) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6.
On the EPA test cycle the Discovery Td6 gets better fuel mileage than the Atlas V6 4Motion (21 city/26 hwy vs. 17 city/23 hwy).
The Discovery Diesel’s standard fuel tank has 3.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Atlas (22.5 vs. 18.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Discovery Gas’ standard fuel tank has 4.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Atlas (23.5 vs. 18.6 gallons).
For better stopping power the Discovery’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Atlas:
The Discovery’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Atlas are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the Discovery’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Atlas (285/40R22 vs. 255/50R20).
The Discovery’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Atlas’ optional 50 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Discovery has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Atlas. The Discovery’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the Atlas.
The Discovery has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Discovery flat and controlled during cornering. The Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
For greater off-road capability the Discovery has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Atlas (8.7 vs. 8 inches), allowing the Discovery to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Discovery Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 3.1 inches higher than on the Atlas (11.1 vs. 8 inches).
The front grille of the Discovery uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Atlas doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Discovery offers an optional rear tailgate seat that can be flipped rearward and used for tailgate picnics. (Do not use seat reversed while vehicle in motion.) The Atlas doesn’t offer a rear tailgate seat.
The Discovery has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Atlas doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.
Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Discovery’s optional second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Atlas doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Atlas SEL/SEL Premium, the Discovery HSE/HSE Luxury has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position (with optional power wheel adjuster) and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
The Discovery HSE/HSE Luxury offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Atlas doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The Discovery’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Atlas’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Discovery has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Atlas only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Discovery offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Atlas doesn’t offer headlight washers.
The Discovery has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Atlas has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the SE/SEL/SEL Premium.
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Discovery HSE/HSE Luxury offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Atlas doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The Discovery’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Volkswagen only offers heated mirrors on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium.
When the Discovery is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Atlas’ mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
The Discovery HSE/HSE Luxury offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Atlas offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
Optional air conditioned the front and second row seats keep the Discovery’s passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in Summer. The Atlas doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.
The Discovery has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Atlas and isn’t available on the Atlas S.
The Discovery’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Atlas S doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.