Road Test: 2022 Volkswagen Atlas

After a redesign last year, the Volkswagen Atlas posted its best result yet in terms of sales in Canada.

Except for a few minor tweaks, very little has changed for the 2022 Atlas Execline R-Line I drove recently. The large three-row SUV, which has a smaller cousin called the Atlas Cross Sport, is offered in four trims with a starting price of just over $40,000 for a Trendline.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas

The highest of the four models offered, the Execline comes with 21-inch wheels, surround-view cameras, highway driving assist, parking assistance and automatic high beams, with a price point of $57,195. Our tester was also equipped with second-row Captain’s Chairs, which are a $700 option and something I would recommend.

Powertrain: The Atlas comes with two engine choices, with the Trendline coming standard with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder powerplant. The Execline, however, is fitted with a more powerful 3.6L V6 engine that delivers smooth performance while outputting 276 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Execline

It is paired to an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system.

An added benefit of getting the trims with the V6 engine is that the Atlas can handle pulling up to 5,000 pounds in a trailer.

One issue I had after my week with the Atlas was the poor fuel economy result. Whether that was the result of temperature in the minus-20s all week or not is hard to say, but a figure of 17.2 litres per 100 kilometres was well off the combined estimate of 12.2 L/100 km.

With the price of gasoline these days and a large fuel tank, those could be some pricey visits to the pump.

Exterior: There are no changes to the exterior styling of the Atlas after last year’s revisions that saw the SUV grow in length by three inches, and included a new front fascia, as well as LED headlights and taillights.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Execline

Our Aurora Red Chroma tester featured the R-Line treatment that adds unique bumpers, rocker panels and badging.

It also features some elegantly styled 21-inch Braselton alloy wheels.

While it’s an overall boxy styling, the front grille, large wheel arches and chrome trim pieces all around the vehicle break things up enough to keep things interesting. And I really like the shade of red VW has chosen for it.

Interior: The cabin in our tester was bright and airy thanks in no small part by the Shetland Grey leather seating and similarly coloured headliner (black and brown are your other choices).

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Execline

Specific R-Line features include stainless steel pedals, decorative inserts and a sport heated steering wheel.

Behind that steering wheel sits a 10.25-inch digital cockpit, a nicely done customizable display that can show full screen navigation, travel times, fuel

economy, range and more.

The optional Captain’s Chairs also help the cabin feel more spacious, while also allowing for easy access to the third row, which does offer a good amount of room for those seated back there.

The layout of the controls for the driver is very well done also, with clear dials and buttons for key functions that don’t require you to search for what you want.

Overall, I would say this is a very solid effort from Volkswagen.

Infotainment: The Execline (and Highline for that matter) come equipped with a Fender premium audio system that features 11 speakers and a subwoofer.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Execline

The 8-inch screen is decent enough and the system interface is quite good, something I have come to expect from Volkswagen.

It offers navigation and wireless access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Drive: The Atlas is a big vehicle, but you never feel like it is missing power thanks to the V6 under the hood.

Acceleration is ok and the engine power is delivered smoothly. While not the most fun vehicle to drive, it is nonetheless competent. The ride is composed on the highway, and it is also relatively agile in city surroundings. Steering response is also good, and the suspension does a nice job of handling rough pavement to keep occupants comfortable.

Conclusion: The Atlas is up against some stiff competition in its segment, and it certainly has its work cut out for it.

That said, it does have redeeming qualities with loads of space for people and cargo, a pretty solid design and towing capacity with the V6.

The major miss in my view was the poor fuel economy, which is definitely a strike against the Atlas.

That said, there are likely enough redeeming qualities about this SUV that will at least have the Atlas in the conversation for consumers who are looking for this type of vehicle.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Execline R-Line
Price as tested: $59,845.00
Freight: $1,950.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.6-litre V6/ 8-speed automatic
Power/torque: 276 horsepower/ 266 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (70 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 12.2 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 17.2 L/100 km
Warranties: 4-years/80,000 km (basic)

Competitors: Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Kia Telluride, Subaru Ascent

Link: Volkswagen Canada

Translate »