May 22, 2022

Vehicle Definition

Comfortable Vehicle

2022 Volkswagen Atlas vs. 2022 Toyota Highlander Comparison

Both the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas and the 2022 Toyota Highlander are midsize SUVs with lots of interior space. Here’s how they compare.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Starting Price: $33,475 | Price yours or View listings near you

Above Average: Room for taller drivers; lots of interior space; flexible powertrain options.

Below Average: Not the best fuel economy; no option for 8-passenger seating.

Consensus: The 2022 Volkswagen Atlas offers solid features and technology for its class, as well as ample interior space and a good choice of engines and drivetrains.

2022 Toyota Highlander

2022 Toyota Highlander Platinum

2022 Toyota Highlander Starting Price: $35,205 | Price yours or View listings near you

Above Average: High-quality interior; ample standard features; strong standard V6 engine; hybrid option.

Below Average: Smallish third row; no plug-in hybrid version; not the most enjoyable drive in the class; higher starting price.

Consensus: The 2022 Toyota Highlander is a 3-row midsize SUV with a long-standing reputation for reliability, safety, and right-sized family transportation.

Atlas vs Highlander: 3-Rows With Style

Volkswagen Atlas

The Volkswagen Atlas can be built in a few different passenger configurations seating either 6-passenger-style, with a pair of captain’s chairs in the second row, or a bench seat in that second row to seat seven.

The recently updated front and rear styling give the Atlas an even more handsome and fresh look, and it gets an additional 3 inches in length. That translates to a bit more interior space for passengers. We also like the Atlas’ standard safety features, which include forward-collision warning system, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert on all models. You can choose to outfit your Atlas with all-wheel drive (AWD) in lieu of the standard front-wheel drive (FWD) and expect to get the same EPA combined fuel rating of 22 mpg.

On the road, the Atlas is comfortable and gives drivers and passengers a commanding view. Since the SUV was built specifically for the American market, interior space abounds, and everything is well thought out in terms of ergonomics.

The base engine, a 235-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder, may seem a bit small for a vehicle weighing in at 4,000 pounds, but the Atlas makes up for it with strong low-end torque and smart gearing. You can also opt for the 276-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 if you want a bit more power, but you’ll lose a bit of efficiency.

Toyota Highlander

The 2022 Toyota Highlander is not just a 3-row SUV, but also — and perhaps importantly — an alternative for those who simply can’t stand minivans. The standard 3.5-liter V6 makes an ample 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, and will get you 21 mpg in town and 29 mpg on the highway, per the EPA’s rating. The optional AWD system brings those figures to 20/27 mpg city/highway.

The Highlander Hybrid comes in either front or all-wheel drive and features a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with a battery-electric powertrain. In front-drive, it’s rated at 36 city/35 highway; AWD models sacrifice 1 mpg on the city rating. No plug-in version is available.

Seating for up to eight passengers is standard in the Highlander, but the third row is best reserved for smaller passengers. The first two rows, on the other hand, are spacious, especially with the optional second-row captain’s chairs. Behind the rear seats, the Highlander can fit 16 cubic feet of cargo; fold the third row and that expands to 48.4 cubic feet. With both rear rows flat, the Highlander can hold a maximum of 84.3 cubic feet of cargo.

While Highlander’s starting price is higher than the prices of some competitors, Toyota’s midsize SUV packs a lot of features into its base price. The base L model includes 18-inch alloy wheels, 3-row seating, tri-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable driver’s seat, push-button start, five USB ports, and eight airbags.

Similarities

Available AWD; three-row seating with varied layouts.

2022 Volkswagen Atlas Advantages

Lower starting price; lots of interior space.

2022 Toyota Highlander Advantages

Standard V6 engine; hybrid option.

Which One is Right for Me?

The Volkswagen Atlas offers seating for six or seven passengers, is good-looking, and offers two different engine options.

The 2022 Toyota Highlander has a reputation for reliability and resale value and it seats up to eight passengers with abundant cargo space plus a 5-Star NHTSA rating. 

Ready to buy a Volkswagen Atlas or Toyota Highlander? Shop for one on sale now near you

2022 Volkswagen Atlas 2022 Toyota Highlander
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.0-liter turbo I4 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower 235 hp @ 4,500 rpm 295 hp @ 6,600 rpm
Torque 258 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm 263 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission 8-spd automatic 8-spd automatic
Fuel Economy 22 mpg (21 city/24 hwy) 24 mpg (21 city/29 hwy)
Also Available 3.6-liter V6; AWD 2.5-liter I4 hybrid; AWD
Specs
Basic Warranty 4 yrs/50,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 4 yrs/50,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 stars 5 stars
Max Seating Capacity 7 8
Wheelbase 117.3 inches 112.2 inches
Overall Length 198.3 inches 194.9 inches
Width 78.3 inches 76.0 inches
Height 70.0 inches 68.1 inches
Turning Diameter 38.1 feet 37.4 feet
Headroom, Front 41.3 inches 39.9 inches
Headroom, Rear 40.4 inches 39.4 inches
Headroom, Third Row 38.3 inches 36.1 inches
Legroom, Front 41.5 inches 40.4 inches
Legroom, Rear 37. 6 inches 41.0 inches
Legroom, Third Row 33.7 inches 27.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 61.5 inches 59.0 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 60.8 inches 58.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Third Row 54.9 inches 55.0 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 154 cubic feet 141.3 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume 55.5/96.8 cubic feet 16.0/48.4/84.3 cubic feet