Why Does Consumer Reports Recommend the Unnecessary 2022 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport?

One of the latest additions to the midsize SUV segment is the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport. It’s a sporty spinoff of the relatively new VW Atlas. But the Atlas Cross Sport — which turned the three-row Atlas into a two-row SUV for more cabin space — is an unneeded addition to the German automaker’s lineup. Despite that, Consumer Reports recommends the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport.

An overview of the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Consumer Reports
2022 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport | Volkswagen of America, Inc. Newspress Limited

According to Consumer Reports, the Atlas Cross Sport starts at about $34,000, making it a relatively affordable midsize SUV. That price also makes this model roughly $1,000 cheaper than the three-row Atlas, so Volkswagen shoppers can save some money and get a more spacious cabin by forgoing the extra seating. But in many ways, the 2022 Atlas Cross Sport is similar to its sibling. 

The Atlas Cross Sport starts with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, producing 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. VW offers one other engine option, a 3.6-liter V6 harnessing 276 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. These two engines are the same ones VW offers with the three-row Atlas. The standard engine gives the Atlas Cross Sport a fuel economy of about 21 mpg combined.

In terms of tech and safety features, the standard Atlas Cross Sport has a 6.5-inch touchscreen display and an 8.0-inch digital gauge cluster, according to Car and Driver. The SUV also boasts several advanced safety features. They include forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Why does Consumer Reports recommend the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport?

Despite being a strange addition to VW’s lineup, the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport isn’t a terrible SUV. In fact, Consumer Reports notes only one downside — the wide body — which testers say is too cumbersome for tight parking spaces.

Consumer Reports mentions that VW’s attempt to make a more spacious and comfortable SUV worked. The Atlas Cross Sport offers superb comfort, and its cabin is an absolute highlight. Oddly, though, the Atlas Cross Sport has less cargo space than the three-row Atlas, but there’s still enough cargo room for most folks.

As for the Atlas Cross Sport’s engines, Consumer Reports testers weren’t impressed. However, the engines are fine, so they don’t hurt the SUV’s ratings much. For those reasons, it’s not shocking the Atlas Cross Sport earned CR’s “Recommended” checkmark.

But other reviewers were more critical

Not all experts have heaped praise on the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport.

For example, Car and Driver gives the SUV a mediocre overall 6.5 out of 10. C/D’s review also mentions more negatives than positives.

For instance, testers like the model’s “sporty-looking bodywork” and spacious interior. But C/D doesn’t like the powertrains. Reviewers would prefer if the SUV drove like other sporty VWs and were more fuel-efficient. Car and Driver even said, “the Cross Sport’s on-road demeanor doesn’t offer the same level of refinement as its key rivals.”

Similarly, MotorTrend gives the 2022 Atlas Cross Sport only 6.8 out of 10 overall and ranks it tenth out of 11 midsize SUVs. The reviewer lists the vehicle’s “poor vehicle dynamics, unrefined drivetrain, unimpressive interior materials” as notable drawbacks.

MT’s conclusion: “We recommend looking at other options unless a massive interior is an absolute necessity.”

RELATED: Volkswagen Stuck a Golf R Engine Into Their New Atlas Concept