What Happened, VW? Consumer Reports Recommends the 2022 VW Atlas – but Not the ’21.

The 2022 Volkswagen Atlas is big, spacious, and a good-looking SUV. Over the years, it’s been dinged for reliability issues and its lackluster acceleration. But it looks like VW has gone to work. For 2022 the Atlas has finally gained a “Recommended” gold star from Consumer Reports.

When the Atlas was released as the big brother to the Tiguan and Taos for 2018, it didn’t come out of the gate strong as far as Consumer Reports was concerned. It scored a one out of five for reliability and just a two out of five for owner satisfaction. After a 2021 refresh those scores improved, but not by much.

What does Consumer Reports say about the 2022 VW Atlas?

A gray 2022 Volkswagen Atlas midsize three-row SUV is driving on the road.
The 2022 Volkswagen Atlas | Volkswagen

For 2022 Consumer Reports ranked the Atlas much higher. For predicted reliability, it earns a three out of five. Its overall score of 72 puts it smack dab in the middle of the rankings for midsize SUVs with a third row.

The Atlas was lauded for its large interior, spacious third-row seat, and smooth transmission. However, the Atlas is slow. Its 8.7-second 0-60 mph time puts it near the bottom.

The 2022 VW Atlas is VW’s biggest SUV and that comes with a width penalty. It was dinged for being too wide for tight spaces.

Consumer Reports may not love the Atlas, but other publications say it’s an excellent family SUV.

RELATED: The 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Has Concerning Reliability Ratings

The Atlas is VW’s largest SUV

Second- and third-row seats in a 2021 Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion
2021 Volkswagen Atlas interior | Volkswagen of America, Inc.

The 2022 VW Atlas tends to get lost in the shuffle in the hyper-competitive world of big, but not huge, SUVs with a third-row. It has all of the SUV goodies you’d expect to see. But with the rear seats folded down, it can swallow 96.8 cubic feet of stuff, that’s two more cubic feet than a full-sized GMC Yukon.

The 2022 Yukon, however, can be ordered with a 355-horsepower V8. The Atlas? It has a standard 2-liter four-cylinder that puts out 235 horses or an optional 3.6-liter V6 with 276 horsepower.

The atlas comes in five flavors. The SE starts at $34,335 and comes with heated front seats and some driver aids. From there, as you add the VW Digital Cockpit Pro driver assistance package, all-wheel-drive, and even overhead view cameras, Atlases grow in price. The SEL R-Line and SEL Premium R-Line are the most expensive and can top $51,000 with options.

The Atlas is improving, but it still can’t beat Hyundai and Kia

A gray 2022 Kia Telluride midsize SUV is parked outdoors.
The 2022 Kia Telluride | Kia

The 2022 Hyundai Palisade and 2022 Kia Telluride corporate twins are in the same class, and they have three-row seating. Consumer Reports gave the Palisade a ranking of 87. Consumer Reports loves the Telluride and gave the 2022 Kia Telluride a score of 97, or nearly perfect.

While the Atlas and the Telluride start at about the same price of around $34,000, the Telluride simply comes with more stuff. Also, it scored five-out-of-five in predicted reliability and predicted owner satisfaction.