Even with a steady push toward EVs, the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas continues to impress with new upgrades.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that the European carmaker was rolling out its very first 7-passenger Atlas.  But the ’22 Atlas marks the 5th model year for the first-generation midsize crossover SUV.

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And to be clear, the Atlas is more crossover than SUV, albeit a highly capable one.  Moreover, it’s a big midsize.  Big inside anyway.  So big that the 3rd-row backseat is adequate for normal-size adults.

Conversely, most midsize SUVs that offer third-row seating are only equipped to squeeze kids and very small adults in the back row.

But that’s not the case with Atlas.  And that is why Interior Space heads my Top-3 favorites about the vehicle.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Top-3:

  1. Interior space
  2. Technology
  3. Drive

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2022 VW Atlas driver profile

2022 VW Atlas SE trim

New This Year For 2022 VW Atlas

For 2022 Volkswagen Atlas gets a reconfigured model lineup.  So no hugely major changes but some cool adjustments.

And when you look at the lineup and the direction Volkswagen is taking it, the edits makes sense.

First, VW’s all-wheel drive known as 4MOTION is now standard on all SEL models.  Along with that comes 20-inch machined wheels.

Then optional with that is a black R-Line package.  Moreover, R-Line is now standard on SEL Premium and includes 21-inch wheels.

Additionally, Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit is standard across all Atlas trims.

Finally, and speaking of trims, VW scales the options down a bit – you now have six to pick from.

Trims And MSRPS

So what are the six trim options you ask?  They are as follows:

2022 VW Atlas Trims And MSRPs:

  • SE $33,900
  • SE w/ Technology $38,070
  • SEL $43,670
  • SEL R-Line $46,820
  • SEL R-Line Black late availability
  • SEL Premium R-Line $51,070

And note that the SEL R-Line Black is listed as late availability.  That’s all Volkswagen is telling us at this point.

And a persistent chip shortage plus supply chain issues have plagued the car business for more than a year now.  So we’ll have to see what the definition of ‘late availability’ winds up being for the SEL R-Line Black.

Engines, Transmission, and MPG

No matter what trim you select for your 2022 VW Atlas, there are only two engines that you could wind up with.

And both of these motors have been around the VW-sphere for a while.  Both are reliable and quite similar performing – in my opinion.  And I’ve driven both numerous times.

Engines

2.0L Inline Turbocharged 4-cylinder – delivering 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

3.6L V6 – delivering 276 hp and 266 pound-feet of torque.

Transmission

Either engine comes with the same 8-speed automatic transmission.

And in both cases, the V6 or the turbocharged inline 4-cylinder, the transmission is geared effectively to maximize motor performance.

At the same time, the transmission optimizes the fuel economy that Atlas delivers.

So you’re left with the option of 2WD or 4MOTION.  And with the Volkswagen Atlas, 2WD is powered by the front wheels.

My suggestion is to go with 4MOTION.  Because fuel economy isn’t that different.  And your resale value on the vehicle should be higher.

While the initial cost of the vehicle will also be a little higher, the pre-owned crossover SUV market tends to favor all-wheel drive.

Gas Mileage

When it comes to the MPG that ’22 Atlas provides, you’re in good shape.  Because Atlas, while being a midsize vehicle, is a Volkswagen.

And VW’s are made sturdy – solid.  But in doing so they tend to weigh a bit more than comparable vehicles.

2022 VW Atlas MPG est.:

  • 2.0-Turbo 4-cylinder
    • FWD 21/23/25
    • AWD 20/22/24
  • 3.6L V6
    • FWD 18/20/24
    • AWD 17/19/23

*All city/combined/highway

So as you can see by the above EPA estimated fuel economy breakdown.  Both the engine and the transmission differences are negligible.

2022 VW Atlas driver rear upward angle

Length 200.7″, wheelbase 117.3″

What Does Volkswagen Atlas Look Like

Aesthetically speaking the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas doesn’t change too much from last year.  However, we’ve not yet seen the SEL R-Line Black.

And that one sounds like it ‘dances-up’ the outside – and probably the inside too – nicely.  Nevertheless, it will be an enhancement on an already great-looking vehicle.

Volkswagen is the non-luxury brand of Audi… or you could say, Audi, is the luxury brand of Volkswagen.  Either way, the Volkswagen Atlas delivers exceptional European styling (and driving performance).

Atlas is without doubt a Volkswagen.  As the carmaker has tweaked its entire internal combustion engine SUV lineup to play the roles of small (Taos), medium (Tiguan), and large x2 (Atlas Cross Sport and Atlas).

2022 VW Atlas 3rd row backseat partial down

2nd-row legroom 37.6″, 3rd-row legroom 33.7″

Inside 2022 VW Atlas

I like the interior of Atlas since the very first time I drove one back in 2018.  And they’ve been updated since.

But some critics refer to the interior of Atlas as a bit spartan.  From a certain point of view, I can understand that.

However, I think those views are comparing Audi and VW instead of VW and say – Ford Explorer.

So sure, Atlas has a bit less content than an Audi crossover SUV.  But you can’t compare a luxury and non-luxury vehicle in such away.  Not fairly anyway.

And I find Atlas to have everything I’d expect inside.  The cockpit is comfortable and the drive is one in which you feel a command for the road.  And with a very sturdy vehicle under your control.

Moreover, inside the Atlas is where Volkswagen’s legendary fit and finish – attention to detail really shines.  And that’s how all the panels, parts, and joints come together.

And this is especially true of both the form and function of the backseats lying down flat to haul cargo.

2022 VW Atlas cargo area with all backseats down

Max. cargo volume 96.8 cu-ft

Infotainment And Technology

Speaking of VW’s relationship with Audi.  It was Audi that initially had a digitized dashboard replacing the analog instruments we’ve come to know for so long.

So Volkswagen’s digital dashboard interface is referred to as Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit.  And now it’s standard across all Atlas trims as of 2022.

This is a great driving enhancement.  Because replacing the old gauges with a monitor provides for a cleaner display of vehicle monitoring systems.

Plus that display allows for customization and building profiles that can be saved for ease of access whenever the driving need occurs.

2022 VW Atlas cockpit

7-seat, 3-row 2022 Volkswagen Atlas

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Top-3

And that brings us back to my Top-3 for the 2022 VW Atlas:

  1. Interior space – I love the space inside.  It’s clear from only a picture that it’s a well-organized and engineered crossover SUV.
  2. Technology – VW’s Digital Cockpit across all trims for Atlas is a great step in the direction of our technologically driven future.
  3. Drive – Sturdy on the road.  Instilling confidence behind the wheel. And frankly, it drives like a more expensive vehicle.