As one of the most popular models in the Volkswagen lineup, the VW Atlas for sale is a contemporary midsized SUV with a lot to offer.

Some of the highlights on the Atlas include its strong design, multiple trim levels, and a suite of driver assistance technology.

While you have a few options when it comes to the Atlas, the two most recent model years for this SUV are 2022 and 2021. While both of these vehicles have a lot in common, there are a few notable differences that will impact your decision as to which Atlas is right for you.

In order to help you figure out the nuances between the two and help you understand which one might be better for you, we have prepared a side by side comparison of each right here on this page.

By reading through this list, you will be able to make an informed decision about which Atlas is right for you. Is it the 2022 VW Atlas or the 2021? You be the judge.

Volkswagen Atlas Release Dates

2021:

The 2021 VW Atlas arrived in dealerships in 2020.

2022:

The 2022 VW Atlas followed a similar timetable when it arrived at dealerships in 2021.

Volkswagen Atlas Most Discernible Features



2021:

When the first Atlas of the new decade hit the market, drivers were mostly excited about the addition of the VW Car-Net service. This new technology suite gives Atlas drivers instant access to several multimedia options, including WiFi. The ability to give drivers internet connectivity on the move is a huge selling point for most people, and the 2021 VW Atlas is able to offer that so families can stay connected on the go. Whether it's a pleasure cruise or business trip, the 2021 Atlas with VW Car-Net provides the ability to answer emails or stream content.

2022:

The biggest highlight of the 2022 VW Atlas is the updated look the SUV has received. Paired with the revolutionary technology that came with the 2021 model, the 2022 Atlas actually has the looks to pair with the modern upgrades you get with VW Car-Net. In fact, the 2022 VW Atlas has undergone a complete facelift to make it look equal parts contemporary and confident. For more information on the specifics regarding the new makeover, skip ahead to read the exterior and interior design sections.

Volkswagen Atlas Fuel Economy

2021:

Using the base engine as a reference, the 2021 VW Atlas gets 20 city miles the gallon and up to 24 on the highway. These numbers decline to 17 city and 23 highway by switching over to the higher trim levels that include a more powerful drivetrain.

2022:

One of the benefits of the 2022 VW Atlas is the option to upgrade your engine to the 3.6L V6 engine without compromising much of the fuel economy. While the EPA has yet to release its official findings, we anticipate that the 2022 Atlas will be somewhere in the same ballpark as the 2021 Atlas.

Volkswagen Atlas Engine Options

2021:

The 2021 VS Atlas comes equipped with either a 2.0 L 4-cylinder engine or a more powerful 3.6 L V6. Both engine options are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission that includes multiple drive modes like Tiptronic and Sport.

2022:

You can get both engine options in the 2022 VW Atlas, and choose to include All-Wheel-Drive in either one. This was not the case for the 2020 model, where you only had the option for AWD with the V6 engine. Having the ability to include AWD in either engine provides more versatility so you get exactly what you are looking for.

Volkswagen Atlas Performance Capabilities



2021:

When equipped with the V6 engine, the 2022 VW Atlas gives you a high level of performance. The only hiccup might come in the form of the acceleration capabilities of this three-row midsized SUV. Still, even though the 2021 Atlas doesn't have the quickest 0-60 time, it has plenty of power.

2022:

While there is plenty to like about the performance capabilities of the 2022 VW Atlas, the 2022 version improves upon them. With multiple drive modes and the addition of 4MOTION with Active Control, the 2022 VW Atlas is a highly powered midsized SUV that stands out in its vehicle class.

Volkswagen Atlas Towing Capacity

2021:

When equipped with the optional V6 engine and towing package, the 2021 VW Atlas is capable of towing up 5,000 pounds.

2022:

Similar to the previous model year, the 2022 VW Atlas is capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds with the V6 engine and towing package included.

Volkswagen Atlas Intuitive Technology



2021:

As previously mentioned, the introduction of VW Car-Net was a game-changer for the 2021 VW Atlas. This intuitive technology package makes it easy to turn your car into a WiFi hotspot and seamlessly connect your smartphone. Both are highly valuable, especially for larger families or traveling for business.

2022:

While the 2022 VW Atlas also has VW Car-Net included, there is an entire suite of driver assistance features that really take this SUV to the next level. Some of this safety technology includes an Intelligent Crash Response System, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, and Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

Volkswagen Atlas Exterior



2021:

Similar to the previous two models that came before it, the exterior design of the 2021 VW Atlas is strong but doesn't add much of anything different. It is still a bold SUV that has nice features, but there simply isn't anything that stands out from the 2019 and 2018 models. Therefore, if you are comfortable with sticking to what works, the exterior design of the 2021 VW Atlas is tried and true.

2022:

With a lot of competition coming from other automakers like Hyundai and Kia, the 2022 VW Atlas received a full makeover. This is the first time that Volkswagen gave the Atlas a sense of modernity which is apparent in the fully redesigned LED headlights, updated front grille, and the fog lights have been moved into the actual headlight compartment of the vehicle. Overall, the 2022 VW Atlas looks a lot cleaner, making it appear more aggressive and attractive than any other Atlas to date.

Volkswagen Atlas Interior


2021:

One of the nicest parts about the design of the 2021 VW Atlas is that it is large enough to accommodate adult passengers in every row (including the third), and is outfitted with modern design aesthetics.

2022:

The interior of the 2022 VW Atlas takes some of the contemporary upgrades from the previous model year and improves upon them. Drivers will experience a noticeably quieter ride compared to the 2021 model, and passengers in the rear will find comfort in the many amenities provided in the second and third-row seats. Some of these features include rear-seat air vents, armrest with cup holders, and easy-to-fold seats to create more cargo space.

2021:

Drivers have the choice of four distinct trim levels with the 2021 VW Atlas: S, SE, SE With Technology, and SEL. Drivers who want AWD will have to choose one of the higher trim levels, limiting the ability to customize the more trim level choices to your exact liking.

2022:

The 2022 VW Atlas also gives drivers a base of four different trim levels: S, SE, SEL, and SEL Premium. However, you can choose to customize your trim level to include AWD, 4MOTION, or a technology package. The more powerful V6 engine option is also available on every trim level with the exception of the S. Ultimately, there is a total of 15 different trims you can choose, which is simply unprecedented in this vehicle class.

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