The 2022 VW Atlas Cross Sport competes as a thoroughly competent crossover, that stands out with its spread-out interior space and muscular styling. The Atlas Cross Sport is a two-row crossover that lure drivers with a reputation for driving satisfaction. With seating for five passengers, the Atlas Cross Sport take on competitors like the Ford Edge, and Honda Passport, and Nissan Murano. Sold in SE, SE Technology, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL R-Line Black, and SEL Premium R-Line trim.
For 2022, the Atlas Cross Sport SE now gets an 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster. The Cross Sport V-6 comes with a trailer hitch, while the Atlas V-6 gets that plus third-row USB charge ports. A Black trim package paints the wheels and other trim, while the SEL Premium R-Line gets standard 21-inch wheels.
The Atlas has a straightforward handsome look, inside and out. It’s stripped of the extraneous detail that can clutter big SUVs. The two-row Cross Sport has a conventional outline that seems engineered for acceptance. Its pronounced grille isn’t too loud, its body sides are squared-off but not resolutely rectilinear. Even the raised lettering on the tailgate measures a few picas smaller than the empathic names embossed on some rivals.
While it isn’t quick, the Atlas rides well but acceleration isn’t the Atlas’ priority. With either the turbo-4 or V-6 on board, it moves with moderate speed, but pairs that with a confident ride in either front- or all-wheel-drive form. Other big crossovers go more quickly, tow more, or do both with equal composure. Most models can be fitted with all-wheel drive; it’s standard on the SELs.
When fitted with the 235-hp turbo-4 that comes standard it’s paired with a well-sorted 8-speed automatic, it can pull the Atlas up to highway speeds with reasonably brisk response, but adding on all-wheel drive and extra features and lots of passengers dulls its responses. It gets buzzy at the top of its rev range, too, but still turns in better fuel economy than the V-6.
The 276-hp V-6 doesn’t seem much stronger than the turbo-4 in stoplight derbys, but uphill slogs and towing almost mandate the bigger engine. It’s capable and smooth, and though perceptions of speed get muted by the Atlas’ two-ton curb weight, it still pulls more strongly and can grant the Atlas the strength to tow up to 5,000 lb.
Accurate steering builds up little effort, but it has a relatively small turning radius. The Atlas’ independent suspension has the talent to smother bumps even on its grippiest 21-inch wheels, but the lean body is substantial and handling ultimately takes a back seat; as it does with most large crossovers we can think of.
It’s a big crossover, so its EPA ratings of 21 mpg city, 25 highway, 23 combined in its most efficient front-drive turbo-4 version are no surprise. With all-wheel drive, the turbo-4 Atlas Cross Sport gets EPA-rated at 20/24/22 mpg. Choose the V-6, and the Atlas Cross Sport AWD and FWD crossovers earn EPA ratings of 18/24/20 mpg.
The Atlas scores mixed crash-test results. It performs well in many crash tests, but a few blemishes prevent it from earning a top scores. The NHTSA gives the Atlas five stars overall, but rates its front-impact protection at four stars. The IIHS gives it “Good” marks for crash tests, but finds its base headlights to be “Marginal,” while it also judges its pedestrian-collision-avoidance system as “Basic” and therefore misses out on the Top Safety Pick award. Every Atlas has blind-spot monitors and automatic emergency braking. VW sells active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view camera system on some trims along with a traffic-jam assistant that can accelerate, brake, and steer the vehicle at speeds below 35 mph.
The interior’s less ambitious. The horizontal span of the dash houses a small touchscreen in base trims, a slightly larger one in expensive editions, and some splits of synthetic leather and woodgrain trim at the top end. It’s discreet, almost to a fault, and in base trims the somber black plastic and cloth trim can render it more inexpensively than it is.
The Atlas can handle big families and lots of gear. The two-row Atlas Cross Sport can carry up to five large passengers in good comfort, and can stow a considerable amount of their belongings for the ride. At roughly 193 inches long, with a 117.3-inch wheelbase, the Atlas Cross Sport checks in as one of the larger midsize crossovers available. Either way, the size works to the Atlas’ advantage when it comes time to work.
In front, both versions have comfortable and spacious seats with firm bolters built for all-day comfort. Power adjustment, heating, and synthetic leather upholstery upgrade the standard manual-adjust cloth seats in pricey versions. Row two comes as a sliding bench seat that can hold up to three car seats even when it’s moved forward on its track. VW finds more than 37.6 inches of leg room, so three large passengers have all the space they need. Cross Sports can tote an amazing 40.3 cubic feet behind the back row.
The Atlas grows more appealing in more expensive versions, with their somewhat finer interior trim. The cabin’s colors impart impressions of quality, though the engines have been subdued behind lots of sound deadening. It’s put together well, but the Atlas interior isn’t particularly rich-looking, even in its higher-priced editions.
VW sells the Atlas in SE, SE Technology, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL R-Line Black, and SEL Premium R-Line trim. We like the lower-end versions for value: all this space and safety for the money earn it above average value, as does the 4-year/50,000-mile warranty that includes two years of free maintenance. The base Atlas Cross Sport S costs $33,970. All-wheel drive costs $1,900 extra on all models where it’s not standard equipment. Other features on the S include a 6.5-inch touchscreen, 18-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, and new this year, a digital gauge cluster.
We like the $39,890 Atlas Cross Sport SE with Technology package which comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, 20-inch wheels, synthetic leather upholstery, and five USB ports. With a top price near $50,000, the Atlas Cross Sport SEL Premium R-Line gains premium audio, a panoramic sunroof, wireless smartphone charging, remote start, and an option for second-row captain’s chairs. The optional Fender premium audio system sounds great, but as it’s bundled in the top trim line.
Volkswagen brings its A-game with the 2022 mid-size Atlas Cross Sport. The Cross Sport flexes on what made the Atlas appealing for crossover buyers. Muscular styling, large interior room, and a long list of standard features are just the beginning. Adding in a German driving dynamics, great value, and an impressive warranty only sweeten the deal and make the 2022 VW Atlas Sport Cross a must see.