This week I bring you the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas - an enjoyable three-row SUV that continues to impress since its debut in 2018. This stylish and very roomy SUV seats up to seven, boasts a lot of terrific technology and much more. My test model is the top-of-the-line SEL Premium R-Line trim.
Starting with looks, the Atlas is, to me, one of the best-looking large mainstream SUVs on the road, bumper to bumper. It looks upscale and polished, especially in my model's gorgeous deep blue color with chrome accents along with its 21-inch two-tone machined-alloy wheels.
A three bar grille in the front is flanked by LED headlights and Daytime Running Lights. This model is also equipped with an Adaptive Front Lighting system and Poor Weather lights for bad weather.
The sportier R-Line adds sleek R-Line badging along with unique front and rear bumpers and a diffusor in glossy black paint at the rear, plus side skirts.
In back a wide “Atlas” name chrome trip looks terrific. It's topped off by silver roof rails.
The SEL Premium R-Line is equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 engine mated to an 8-speed automatic. The system delivers 276-horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque.
As I said in my review last year, I still wouldn’t mind a few more horses out of the gate, but overall power is well-matched to this heavy 4,605 pound SUV. Surprisingly stop/start didn't seem that noticeable. It's also easily disabled. I really love VW's remote start via key fob.
This model is also equipped with 4MOTION all-wheel drive and all V6-equipped Atlas models equipped now come with a factory-installed trailer hitch and offer a max towing capacity of 5,000 pounds with a braked trailer.
On the down side, fuel economy isn't all that great at 19 mpg combined.
Like its exterior, the VW's interior also impresses. It's well-designed, quite roomy and looks terrific in Shetland Beige and Quartz Leather. You'll find an appropriate mix of soft-touch materials and plastic.
The SEL Premium R Line sports Vienna leather seating for the 1st and 2nd row outbound seats. The 8-way power driver's seat is both comfortable and supportive. Both front seats are heated and ventilated. At your feet, the R-Line features stainless steel pedal caps.
A nicely sized perforated leather-wrapped and heated multi-function steering wheel sports a cool R Line badge.
The center console houses your push-button start, drive mode control, a leather gear shifter, cup holders and an electric parking brake along with buttons for the surround camera and park assist. A nicely padded center console bin opens to a cavernous space.
The Atlas is open and airy with a lot of natural light thanks to the large windows and two-part glass panoramic sunroof. There are manual rear sunshades for the very roomy 2nd row.
The Atlas seats seven when equipped with the 2nd row bench seat. Passengers can control their own climate and all three rows get air vents. The sliding and reclining 2nd row seats recline and fold flat. While I didn't test this myself, VW says the second-row bench can tilt and slide forward, even with child seats in place.
This is also a three-row SUV made for adults. Yes, adults will fit in the third row, which is a bit of a rarity. Both the second and third row slide forward using a manual lever. A power option would be great, but it's not a deal breaker. New for 2022, there are two USB chargers in the 3rd row.
A 12-speaker Fender Premium Audio System sounds great.
Standard features also include three-zone climate, wireless charging, ambient lighting, rain sensing wipers, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The Atlas SEL Premium R Line is loaded with technology. My favorite tech feature is VW’s available 10.25-inch TFT display digital cockpit. You can toggle between views easily and I love the full-screen navigation view.
The Atlas SEL Premium R-Line is equipped with VW's Discover Media 8-inch touchscreen with voice recognition. VW's latest generation MIB III system is fast, the screen responsive, but I'm still don't find voice recognition easy to use. The system supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth plus comes with a trial subscription to SiriusXM with 350L. The multimedia screen also houses an available Area View (overhead view).
Ride and Drive
Aside from its looks, the ride and drive is on my list of favorite features. The smooth suspension really delivers an enjoyable, easy-going, ride and I enjoyed the ride height with fantastic visibility. It's easy to drive as well and even with a wider turning radius it passed my U-turn test. Steering is on the looser side in Normal mode, so I prefer Sport mode for a more responsive feel. As far as the ride, it's comfortable and handles potholes well thanks to that suspension and there's not a lot of road noise making for a quiet cabin.
As the Atlas is a large SUV, you will not be disappointed at its abundance of cargo space. It's also lit and nicely carpeted. Another plus is the available hands-free kick sensor tailgate. The cabin's great rubber mats also look made for adventure.
VW's IQ.DRIVE system has you covered when it comes to driver assistance with Travel Assist (semi-automated driving assistance); Front Assist (Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring); Active Side Assist (Blind Spot Monitor); Rear Traffic Alert; Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) Stop and Go; Lane Assist (Lane Keeping System); and Emergency Assist (semi-automated vehicle assistance in a medical emergency).
Travel Assist which uses Adaptive Cruise Control did a great job of slowing down in traffic when warranted.
The Premium R Line is also equipped with Light Assist for dark or poorly lit roads and Area View, VW's term for basically an overhead birds eye view. It also has VW's Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist), but I'm not a huge fan and find it difficult to use.
What You’ll Pay
This top of the line model is loaded from the get-go so is option-free. As equipped it MSRP's for $51,840.
I'm a fan of the Atlas and have been from the beginning. It's a great-looking SUV with a fantastic ride and drive and the SEL Premium R-Line's technology is also a huge selling point. If you need a true 3-row SUV it should be on your shopping list.
- What I liked most: The great ride and drive. Digital cockpit. Polished looks.
- What I would change: Improve fuel economy.
- MSRP: Base price $50,645. As equipped: $51,840.
- Fuel Economy: 17 city/23 highway/19 combined.
- Odometer reading when tested: 2,357 miles.
- Weight: 4,605 pound curb weight.
- Spare Tire: Temporary Compact Spare.
- Length-Width-Height: 200.7” long/ 78.3” wide/70.4” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.6 gallons with the filler on the passenger side.
- Official Color: Tourmaline Blue Metallic
- Towing Capacity: 5,000 pounds with braked trailer.
- 2022 VW Atlas SEL Premium R Line in a few words. An SUV that delivers terrific style, easy-going comfort and great technology with room to spare.
- Warranty: Volkswagen New Vehicle Limited Warranty: 4-year/50,000 miles Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty and Carefree Maintenance Program, schedule maintenance services for 2 years of 20,000 miles; 7-year/100,000 miles Corrosion Perforation/3-years/36,000 miles 24-hour roadside assistance.
- Final Assembly Location: Chattanooga, TN
- Manufacturer's website: VW