2022 Volkswagen Atlas

This might be the perfect family hauler if you don’t like the chunky eight-seaters.

LISTEN 15:34

This Tennessee-built VW SUV is why you should look up to the mid-size segment, and for the 2022 model year, there have been some minor changes, including the discontinuation of the base S trim from the line-up, therefore, increasing the price. It will compete with the latest-gen Hyundai Palisade, Mazda CX-9, and the Honda Pilot. Will the $33,475 price tag justify its consideration over the competition? Keep reading to learn more about it.


Being a three-row SUV, the Atlas offered alot since its introduction in 2018. Since then, the styling and feature upgrades made it even more attractive without reducing its nature of practicality. The SUV market in the U.S. is vast and over years, we have seen how auto giants across the world made the effort to introduce various options and make it confusing for the natives. But now we have a lot of options in various segments including the highly popular mid-size SUVs like the Atlas. With perfect seating comfort with decent spaciousness, the third row makes it quite a great package. Volkswagen eliminated its base S trim, making SE its entry-level Atlas and that has led to the addition of a fully digital instrument console along with blindspot monitoring and collision mitigation as standard. That said, the engine options are still the 2.0-liter turbo inline-four and the 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V-6. AWD is still optional as is the V-6. However, if you opt for the higher SEL trims, Volkswagen has fitted AWD as standard along with 20-inch alloys.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Trims and Features

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 1030824

For the 2022 model year of the Atlas, there are a total of six trim levels: SE, SE w/ Technology, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL R-Line Black, and the SEL Premium R-Line. The first three trims get a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine while the remaining trims starting from SEL R-Line get a 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V-6 engine coupled with AWD as standard. A detailed trim list is just below:

Price: $33,475.

  • 18-inch alloys.
  • LED headlights.
  • Power tailgate.
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control.
  • Optional all-wheel drive.
  • Keyless entry and ignition.
  • Leatherette upholstery.
  • Power-adjustable driver seat.
  • Heated front seats.
  • Fully digital instrument console.
  • 6.5-inch touchscreen display.
  • 50/50-retractable third-row seats.
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wireless connectivity.
  • Six-speaker audio system.
  • WiFi hotspot.

Advanced driver assistance features available as standard are as follows:

  • Rear cross-traffic alert.
  • Forward collision mitigation.
  • Blindspot monitoring.
2022 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 1030839

SE w/ Technology.
Price: $37,645.

  • 20-inch alloys.
  • Three-zone automatic climate control.
  • Eight-inch touchscreen.
  • Hands-free tailgate.
  • USB ports for second and third row.
  • Remote engine start.
  • Voice recognition.
  • Wireless charging pad.
  • Front and rear parking sensors.
  • Adaptive cruise control.

Optional standalone features available with the SE w/ Technology are:

  • Panoramic sunroof.
  • Second-row captain’s chair.
  • All-wheel drive.
  • Towing package.

Price: $44,995.

  • All-wheel drive.
  • Power-adjustable front passenger seat.
  • Heated steering wheel.
  • Navigation system.
  • Lane-keeping assist.
  • Adaptive headlights.
  • Blindspot intervention.

SEL R-Line.
Price: $46,395.

  • Sport-inspired front and rear bumpers.
  • Dark grey 20-inch alloys.
  • R-Line trim on the interior.

SEL R-Line Black.
Price: $46,945.

  • Blacked-out mirror caps, badges, and grille.
  • Black-colored 20-inch alloys.
    2022 Volkswagen Atlas Interior
- image 1030830
    Volkswagen has made the cabin a bit more upscale to compete well to the competition. There is a seven-inch multi-information display which we think is the only digital console in the competition.

    SEL Premium R-Line.
    Price: $50,645.

  • Power-folding rear-view mirrors.
  • 21-inch alloys.
  • Leather upholstery.
  • Ventilated front seats.
  • Ambient lighting.
  • Second-row heating options.
  • 360-surround camera system.
  • 12-speaker Fender premium audio system.

Exterior: Just another VW design with buffed-up physics

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 1030834

Specially designed for catering to the needs of Americans, the Atlas looks just as attractive and muscular as any other SUV in the segment. The 2022 model year carries forward the 2021 model-year design changes which include the redesigned front bumper, larger and wider intake grille, and sleek LED headlights. The athletic design language of the Atlas is always a plus as it is the only German running the seven-seater segment. From the sides, the Atlas seems to have larger wheel arches with tall height with smaller 18-inch alloys fitted as standard. The rear of the Atlas looks like a typical VW with the patterned LED taillights and the dual exhaust tips. The overall looks of this SUV are no less and, in fact, we would prefer the Atlas any day over the Toyota Highlander.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 1030833

If you are interested in the exterior dimensions, well, the Atlas is the chunkiest VW you can buy if you are in the U.S. Its 4,252-pound curb weight might startle you, and it can get to around 4,500 pounds with the AWD. It is quite tall as well at 70.1 inches and has a good 7.1-inch ground clearance. In terms of the overall length of 200.7 inches and wheelbase size of 117.3 inches, the Atlas is leading the competition. The Highlander is the most compact and is followed by the Palisade which has an increased length and wheelbase of up to two inches and the closest to the Atlas would be the CX-9.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 1030835
2022 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior Dimensions
Model 2022 Volkswagen Atlas
Curb Weight  4,262 lbs.
Length 200.7 in.
Width  78.3 in.
Height 70.1 in.
Ground Clearance  7.1 in.
Wheelbase  117.3 in.

Interior: Spacious till the third row and all that typical VW interior design

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Interior
- image 1030830
Volkswagen has made the cabin a bit more upscale to compete well to the competition. There is a seven-inch multi-information display which we think is the only digital console in the competition.

What we encountered with the Atlas is that although it is a cheaper SUV, the fit and finish are quite good inside the cabin. Getting in and out of the cabin is just perfect even for taller individuals. In short, the Atlas has all the characteristics of a minivan, starting with its practicality to how the cabin feels when it is fully packed. While the company detaches its base S trim from the trim list, the 2022 model year SE trim shows the inclusion of a fully digital instrument console of eight inches. The dashboard design is quite minimalistic with the beautiful leather-wrapped steering wheel. As standard, you will get features like dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, numerous cupholders, and even keyless ignition. Speaking of seats, the standard seats are covered with faux leather which is the norm for the segment. However, the top-tier SEL Premium R-Line gets genuine leather upholstery with extended heating functions up to the second row. Get a closer look at the Toyota Highlander and the Mazda CX-9 for a detailed comparison.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Interior
- image 1030827

As for seating, there are seven seats as standard and you can get the captain’s chair in the second row which will decrease the count to six seats. Standard seats are very comfortable and will hardly disappoint your family if you take them for long drives. In case you are worried about the spaciousness, it expands up to the third row, meaning you will be able to fit two annoying adults back there. There is ample headroom in all three rows and surprisingly that is the same case with the legroom. The first and the second row have the best legroom, but the third row is not overly bad at 33.7 inches. The third-row legroom is very similar to the second row of the Alfa Romeo Giulia if that makes sense.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Interior
- image 1030832

In the competition, the Palisade has the most balanced cabin with ample spaciousness across the cabin and is followed by the CX-9. The Highlander is spacious, yes, but only up to the second row. The Atlas takes over the game again with its 20.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity while the others are offering 14-18 cubic feet. That means you can fit more luggage at the rear for your next holiday drive with your family. A few of the notable interior features of the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas are as follows:

  • Three-zone automatic climate control.
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with heating options.
  • 8-inch driver information display.
  • Leather upholstery.
  • Power-adjustable front seats with multi-level heating.
  • Heated second-row seats.
2022 Volkswagen Atlas Interior Dimensions
Model 2022 Volkswagen Atlas 
Seating Capacity 7
Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches) 41.3/61.5/41.7
Second Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches) 40.4/60.8/37.6
Third Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches) 38.3/54.9/33.7
Cargo Capacity  20.6 cu. ft.
2022 Volkswagen Atlas Interior
- image 1030828

Volkswagen’s MIB3 infotainment system is one of the most refined and intuitive systems in the entire industry. The Atlas gets a 6.5-inch touchscreen display as standard along with Bluetooth and WiFi hotspot. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity come as standard along with two USB ports. The technology package will add a wireless charging pad, more USB ports, and even increase the display size to eight inches. Other optional infotainment features that can be opted with the 2022 Atlas are as follows:

  • Navigation system.
  • SiriusXM.
  • 12-speaker Fender premium audio unit.
  • Wireless charging pad.
  • USB ports for the third row.

Performance and Handling: Behaves the way as it should

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 1030824

Like always, the Atlas keeps the engine bay busy with either a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four or a 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V-6. The base engine is capable of putting out 235 horsepower 258 pound-feet of torque while the bigger 3.6-liter V-6 engine has slightly higher power at 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet to be precise. Both the engines come with FWD as standard while AWD is optional along with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. However, all SEL trims get equipped with the latter drive type.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 1030842

We know that SUVs aren’t for the “how fast they can go” type, and the Atlas is no exception. Car And Driver estimate that the Atlas will do zero to 60 miles per hour in around eight seconds max. However, the V-6 equipped models can tow up to a whopping 5,000 pounds while the smaller four-pot will do the job at 2,000 pounds. Both the Highlander and the Palisade offer similar towing capacity, leaving the CX-9 behind with only 3,500 pounds. In our test drive, the Atlas behaved well in the city with good cabin comfort and the softer suspension does a good job in soaking the majority of rough patches. The Atlas shines when you cruise along the highways with gentle throttle inputs, and the ergonomics are perfect for an SUV. The steering has a nice heft to it and does offer a supple experience, thanks to the MQB platform.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Performance Stats
Model 2022 Volkswagen Atlas  2022 Volkswagen Atlas Optional Engine
Engine Type 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V-6 
Transmission 8-speed shiftable automatic 8-speed shiftable automatic
Power  235 hp @ 5,400 RPM 276 hp @ 6,200 RPM
Torque  258 lb-ft @ 1,600 RPM 266 lb-ft @ 3,500 RPM
0-60 (mph)  7.1-7.8 seconds -
Quarter-mile 15.5-16.0 seconds -
Top Speed 115 mph -

Fuel Economy

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 1030825

For an SUV, the 2022 Atlas does well in terms of sipping slightly less gas than the competition. However, it is the 2.0-liter engine that deserves to be praised as the V-6 will disappoint. The EPA rates the base Atlas with 21/25/23 for city/highway/combined with the FWD guise while adding the AWD will decrease one mile per gallon. The naturally aspirated V-6 with its rev-happy nature does not impress with its 18/24/20 for the city/highway/combined figures estimated by the EPA. Both the Palisade and Highlander have a more powerful V-6 engine than the Atlas and still manage to deliver 19-20 miles per gallon in the city and 24-27 miles per gallon on the highways. Volkswagen has packed a generously big 18.6-gallon gas tank that can provide around 440-460 miles on the highways.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Fuel Economy
Model 2022 Volkswagen Atlas 2022 Volkswagen Atlas w/ V-6
MPG (City) 21 18
MPG (Highway) 25 24
MPG (Combined) 23 20
Tank Capacity (Gallons) 18.6 18.6
Range (City, Highway, Combined) 390.6/465.0/427.8 334.8/446.4/372.0

How safe is the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas?

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 1030836
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Volkswagen has not compromised the safety quotient of the Atlas and that proves how efficient it is in terms of safety ratings. The NHTSA has scored the biggest VW SUV a full five-star whereas the IIHS has rated the same with “Good” in pretty much every category. In addition, the 2022 model year of the Atlas adds a few more driver assistance features, ensuring not just your but your family’s safety. A list of the important safety features are as follows:

  • Blindspot monitoring.
  • Rear cross-traffic alert.
  • Forward collision mitigation.
  • Adaptive cruise control.
  • Front and rear parking sensors.
  • Adaptive headlights.
  • Traffic-jam assist.
  • Road-sign recognition.
  • Lane-keeping assist.
  • Blindspot intervention.
  • 360-degree surround-view camera system.

Is the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas a great SUV? Should you consider it over the competition?

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior
- image 1030823

Yes, The Atlas is a great SUV if you want to give a little extra money and can deal with a slightly lower horsepower. See, the Atlas, or any SUV in that sort of matter, will not provide you the performance and handling dynamics like, let’s say a Urus. So, this cheap SUV will do just fine when it is fully packed with luggage or family. We recommend opting for the SE with Technology package for its slightly upscale tech. In the competition, personally, if I had to pick any one of them, I would pick the Volkswagen Atlas because of its enhanced safety and increased reliability, and not to forget how spacious the third-row seats are.


Is the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas a reliable SUV?
It is not the most reliable SUV you could buy in the segment but it scored 75/100 in the J.D. Power ratings which is decent.

How much power does the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas put out?
The Atlas with its base 2.0-liter four-pot yields 235 hp and 258 lb-ft while the bigger optional 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V-6 is capable of putting out 276 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque.

How much towing capacity does the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas have?
The SUV can tow up to 5,000 pounds with the V-6 engine while the smaller 2.0-liter engine can tow up to 2,000 pounds.

How much does the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas cost?
The Atlas starts with a price tag of $33,475 (without destination charges) and goes up to about $51,000 with the range-topping SEL Premium R-Line.

Amreetam Basu
Amreetam Basu
Automotive Journalist
After working predominantly as a freelancer at CarHP/CarIndigo, Amreetam joined the TopSpeed team as a journalist in September 2021. In a world where SUVs are booming, he favors sedans and adores BMWs and Mercedes, with a special spot for Lexus and Genesis. He is currently pursuing Master of Arts in History and is 23 years old.  Read full bio
About the author

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