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Staff file photo / The Volkswagen Atlas SUV, photographed on Raccoon Mountain in Marion County, Tennessee, has three rows of seats and handles seven passengers.

This story was updated at 5:52 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, with more information.

Volkswagen's Atlas SUV, assembled in the company's Chattanooga plant, has been named "2020 Family Car of the Year" by Cars.com.

The automotive website cited the seven-seat Atlas' passenger and cargo space, advanced driver-assistance features and handling.

"It was designed from the ground up for American families, is assembled here in America and, as sales have shown over the first two model years, Atlas is resonating with American buyers," said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.

Atlas sales in 2019 were 81,508, up 37% over 2018, according to VW.

The Atlas beat out other nominees for the award — the Ford Expedition and Hyundai Santa Fe.

Jenni Newman, editor-in-chief of Cars.com, said the 2020 Atlas makes family life a little easier for buyers.

"The three-row SUV has a cavernous interior that can easily handle hauling kids and their car seats, and unlike many of its competitors, the Atlas has a third row that's roomy enough for taller teens or adults," she said. "It also sports a sizable cargo area, meaning families don't have to choose between carrying people or their stuff. And although the Atlas is a big SUV, it's nimble both on the road and in tight parking lots."

Starting at $31,545 for the 2.0 liter S model, the 2020 Atlas is available in seven trim levels. The Atlas is offered with a choice of two powertrains—a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder front-wheel drive, or an available 3.6-liter VR6 engine, which can be paired with front-wheel drive or 4Motion all-wheel drive, according to Cars.com.

For 2020, Atlas adds next-generation VW Car-Net services and Wi-Fi capability as standard on every Atlas model.

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