2022 Volkswagen Atlas Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
The Volkswagen Atlas is the largest vehicle made by the brand. It was designed to help Volkswagen get a portion of the three-row SUV market. In many ways, this vehicle has everything that a family needs. The safety and technology features are some of the best in its class. At the same time, there are some glaring flaws. Weighing the pros versus the cons is the only way for you to decide whether or not the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas is the right choice for you.
What's New for 2022?
Several big changes are happening for this midsize SUV in 2022. The S trim, which was the base model previously, has been discontinued. This year sees the introduction of a standard digital cockpit. Going with the SEL trim level now means getting AWD automatically, along with larger 20-inch wheels. For the SEL with Technology trim level, there are now standard third-row USB ports as well.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2022 Volkswagen Atlas – The Pros
1. Three Rows of Spacious Seating
When looking at the 2022 Atlas, you will find models that seat either six or seven. All three of the rows of seating are spacious and comfortable, with the first and second rows being particularly impressive. Even the third-row, however, has enough space for taller passengers. Parents can fit three car seats in the second row, provided they stick with the bench seat rather than the captain's chairs. Heated front seats are a standard feature. A variety of comfort-enhancing features are available for the Atlas as well, including climate-controlled front seats, genuine leather upholstery, and a heated steering wheel.
2. Handling is Precise Yet Balanced
The Volkswagen Atlas is on the larger side of midsize SUVs. You might expect it to feel large and clunky as a result. In reality, the Atlas is easy to maneuver and park. The steering is responsive and weighted perfectly, and the brakes give you a reassuring amount of stopping power. If you want the smoothest ride possible, be sure to stick with a model with 18-inch wheels. Things get a bit choppy when upgrading to the 20-inch ones.
3. Plenty of Cargo Space
You can easily haul a variety of things in the back of the Atlas. Behind the third row, there are 20.6 cubic feet for groceries, backpacks, or other gear. If the third row is folded flat, there are 55.5 cubic feet. Behind the first row, there is a truly impressive 96.8 cubic feet of cargo space. These numbers are hard to beat. While a manual tailgate is standard, many models upgrade to a power liftgate instead.
4. Standard VW Digital Cockpit
As of 2022, all trim levels of the Atlas have a digital cockpit. It is an 8-inch display that allows you to easily see important information while cruising down the road. On the top trim levels, it is upgraded to the VW Digital Cockpit Pro. This version allows you to customize your features in a way that works best for you. Either way, the digital cockpit gives the interior of the Atlas a modern and cutting-edge look.
5. Available IQ Drive Suite of Features
IQ Drive is a collection of safety features that are meant to help with both highway and city driving. It includes Travel Assist, a semi-autonomous driving system. This feature can support accelerating, braking, and steering, but you have to keep your hands on the wheel at all times. Travel Assist also incorporates lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control functions to further take the pressure off you. Another unique feature found in IQ Drive is Emergency Assist. It monitors steering activity and starts sounding alerts if it detects the driver is no longer in control. If the alerts are not responded to, the Atlas will bring itself to a controlled stop.
6. New R-Line Black Package Available
The Atlas already has a commanding presence. If you want something even more striking, consider adding the brand-new R-Line Black Package. It blacks out several exterior features, such as the mirror caps and the grille, and it also gives the Atlas unique gloss-black wheels.
7. High Towing Capability
There are two engines available for the 2022 Atlas. If you opt for the available V6 and choose to add the available towing package, you can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Models with the standard four-cylinder, as well as models with the V6 but no tow package, can handle up to 2,000 pounds.
8. Technology is Easy to Use
Quick responses and crisp graphics help to make the infotainment system inside the Atlas simple to use. Volkswagen also gives the Atlas physical knobs for things like climate and audio controls, making it easy to adjust these things while keeping your eyes on the road. The 2022 Atlas has either a 6.5-inch or an 8-inch touchscreen, and a six-speaker audio system is standard. Two USB ports are standard, although many models add more to the second and even the third rows of seating. HD and satellite radio, along with a wireless charging pad, are all standard on all but the base model.
9. Base SE Trim Offers Strong Value
The Volkswagen Atlas has a starting price that falls on the lower side of the midsize SUV range. Still, the base SE trim level is very well-equipped. It gives you LED headlights, heated front seats, and a power-adjustable driver's seat, all things that many other SUVs save for their mid-level models and up. Other highlights include Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, keyless entry, and a push-button start. Many shoppers will find that the base model of the Atlas has everything they were after.
10. Handsome Exterior Design
While the R-Line variations of the new Atlas are more aggressive and sporty, the rest of the lineup leans toward sophistication. This is thanks to the redesign it received last year, which restyled both the front and rear ends to look more elegant. Standard LED lighting and alloy wheels help to put the finishing touches on the handsome exterior look of the 2022 Atlas.
Reasons Not to Buy a 2022 Volkswagen Atlas – The Cons
1. Fuel Economy Numbers are Poor
With the standard four-cylinder engine, the Atlas is estimated to get only 21mpg city and 25mpg highway in front-wheel-drive models. Going with all-wheel drive will mean both those numbers go down one. The more powerful V6 engine unsurprisingly does even worse, with estimates at 18mpg city and 24mpg highway, or 17mpg city and 23mpg with all-wheel drive. Most rivals do better.
2. Both Engines are Lackluster
So if it isn't efficient, it must be pretty fast right? Unfortunately, that is not the case. The standard turbo four-cylinder will make 235-horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. With the V6, the Atlas will make 276-horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. While these numbers look decent on paper, they simply are not enough to move a vehicle of this size around with any spirit.
3. Cabin Materials Do Not Keep Up with Rivals
The 2022 Atlas has excellent interior space, but it could use an overhaul when it comes to cabin materials. There are too many hard plastics for this SUV to keep up with its competitors. You can find SUVs with similar price tags that have more soft-touch surfaces and an overall more premium feel.
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How It Stacks Up to the Competition:
2022 Volkswagen Atlas vs. 2022 Honda Pilot
The Honda Pilot is a well-designed three-row midsize SUV that you may want to consider. Its standard V6 makes it a lot more fun to drive. At the same time, it is more efficient than the Atlas. On the other hand, the Atlas has more cargo space and an infotainment system that is easier to use. While the Pilot has a more luxurious cabin, it also has a significantly higher starting price tag.
2022 Volkswagen Atlas vs. 2022 Kia Telluride
Many people have fallen in love with the Kia Telluride in recent years. It comes with an excellent warranty, has plenty of standard features, and has a decently spacious cabin. It is not as spacious as the Atlas, however. If having enough room for a growing family is your top priority, the extra space in the Atlas may give it the edge over the Telluride.
Nearly every aspect of the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas is easy to love. The space, technology, and safety features are all where they need to be. It seems like it will be a no-brainer for Volkswagen to give it different engine options that are either more powerful or more efficient in the near future. In an ideal situation, the new engine will be both. A minor redesign of the cabin will also help make it feel more premium, which will go a long way toward attracting buyers.