2022 Volkswagen Atlas vs 2022 Honda Pilot

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  • 2022 Volkswagen Atlas

    A grey 2022 Volkswagen Atlas SE is shown angled left.

    Starting at

    $34,335[a]

    2022 Honda Pilot

    A white 2022 Honda Pilot Touring is shown angled right.

    Starting at

    $38,080

    96.8Cargo Space (cu.ft.)83.9
    2Engine Options1
    Avl.Wireless App-ConnectNo

    Searching for a good family vehicle often takes a great deal of prudence, patience, and attention to detail. It can be difficult to determine the exact right move, especially when you may still be growing your family and when different people within your family have different needs. Oftentimes, too, it can seem like so many vehicles are essentially the same, though not the exact same, and working through the details can be one giant headache. Don't be stressed! We'll help you better understand the differences so that you can make an informed decision. Take two vehicles that appear on the surface level to be very similar––the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas vs 2022 Honda Pilot––and you'll see that, while similar, there are some significant differences that can and will affect your family's driving experience. One way to determine the practical, family-oriented quality of a vehicle is to analyze it by the three C's: Capability, Capacity, and Connectivity. That's what we're going to do today, so buckle up and come with us!

  • Capability

    A blue 2022 Volkswagen Atlas SEL is shown driving on an open highway during a 2022 Volkswagen Atlas vs 2022 Honda Pilot comparison.

    Practical Performance

    Capability is not merely about performance specs. Most families are not necessarily looking for the vehicle that has the craziest level of horsepower or torque (though those things certainly can be helpful in certain practical driving situations). But, good handling and traction make a significant difference in the quality and safety of your family's ride. The 2022 Volkswagen Atlas and the 2022 Honda Pilot both have a lot to offer in the safety department, but it is important to understand their subtle yet significant differences.

    The Atlas offers two different engines: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a 3.6-liter VR6 engine. That might seem like a foreign language to you, so let's break that down. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is the standard engine, and its turbocharger focuses on producing both high performance and high efficiency. This engine is very compact, and because of this, it has the ability to warm up quickly, making it more efficient than many of the other engines in vehicles of the same class. The turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is a great engine if you are looking to drive capably for everyday commuting.

    The 3.6-liter VR6 engine ups the ante a little bit with slightly higher performance specs and includes variable valve timing. The big benefit of this engine is that it allows for towing, which is quite impressive on a midsize SUV like the Atlas. In fact, all models with the VR6 engine include a factory-installed trailer hitch. So, if you're looking to take a little extra something with you on family camping trips, the VR6 might be a great option.

    Optimized All-Wheel Drive

    But that's just the engine. The most important part of the Atlas in terms of your family experience is the 4Motion All-Wheel Drive System, which is included with both engine options. This system goes above and beyond the average AWD system in that it activates before the wheels even begin spinning. This system is always carefully analyzing the roads to determine how to best distribute the vehicle's torque. This torque distribution is really the trick of AWD because as conditions change, different wheels have to take the brunt of the work, and this system is always ready to send the torque where it is most needed.

    The best news for drivers, though, is that it is not only up to the vehicle. With Active Control, you'll be able to choose from four driving modes that modify the car's driving to suit the conditions at hand. These four modes––Onroad, Snow, Offroad, and Custom Offroad––will have you covered for a wide variety of driving conditions. If conditions are bad, your family's safety can become a concern, but these drive modes work to eliminate the need for concern by optimizing the car's capability in difficult environments.

    Atlas vs Pilot

    The 2022 Honda Pilot offers only one engine option––a 3.5-liter V6 engine. While this is certainly a capable engine, not having the flexibility to choose limits your options. The Pilot is similar to the Atlas in that it offers Honda's Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4) AWD System. Just like the system in the Atlas, iVTM4 works to distribute torque however necessary in order to optimize performance in the given conditions. You'll be in good hands with either one of these systems.

    Both the Atlas and the Pilot are highly capable. One of the biggest benefits of the Atlas, however, is the ability to choose between two different engines, one of which enables towing. Flexibility is important when it comes to driving with a family, so taking the most flexible option will be of benefit to you and your family.

  • Capacity

    A silver 2022 Volkswagen Atlas R is shown driving on an open highway.

    Passenger and Cargo Room

    There are very few things more frustrating than having too many people and not enough space. You want a vehicle that diminishes this issue. Now, the trick to this is that it's not only about having enough passenger space to be comfortable. Passenger comfort should certainly be a top priority for your family, but if you can't fit enough cargo to go on a trip, then that passenger space doesn't really pay off. You don't want to overcorrect by obtaining a huge amount of cargo space and not enough passenger space, but you want to find a vehicle that provides both. Could this vehicle be either the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas or the 2022 Honda Pilot? Let's find out.

    The Atlas offers a well-designed, seven-seat interior. Thanks to its 60/40-split, foldable rear seats, it is able to offer a cargo capacity of 96.8 cu.ft. This is actually quite an excellent number for a vehicle in its class, as some compact SUVs don't go much above the 80 cu.ft. range. It's funny we should mention that, actually, because the Honda Pilot offers a cargo capacity of only 83.9 cu.ft. That's a difference of 13 (alright, 12.9) cu.ft. That's a lot! Think about how long thirteen feet is, and then turn that into cumulative space in your vehicle. That makes a big difference with what you can fit in your SUV and gives you room to grow.

    Adding Versatility

    You don't want any passengers riding in discomfort, and it seems logical to prioritize that over cargo space. While the logic in this is sound, it is important not to diminish the importance of cargo space. It's not just about squeezing a little more tightly on family vacations. Think about some of the life events that come with having a family; kids get older, they move off to college, and mom and dad are responsible for helping them move. Why not maximize your space? Maybe there's a new piece of furniture for the house that you want to bring home. Why spend money on renting a truck when you can fit it right into your family SUV? Passenger comfort may be the highest priority, but the benefits of good cargo space pay off dividends over time. The numbers don't lie, and the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas has the clear leg up when it comes to cargo capacity.

  • Connectivity

    A family is shown inside of a 2022 Volkswagen Atlas.

    Connect Your Devices

    Connectivity is a big deal to many drivers these days. Sometimes too much connectivity can be detrimental because it can cause each person in the vehicle to retreat into their own little world; some of the best family memories are made in the car, and you don't want to miss out on those. Good connectivity features, however, can be used to help cultivate these family memories by bonding over a good audiobook, sharing favorite songs, and enjoying a movie together. Both the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas and the 2022 Honda Pilot provide technology that makes this possible.

    Both vehicles offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing you to connect your smartphone right to the vehicle's infotainment system. This is more than a mere Bluetooth connection because it goes above and beyond audio streaming. Connecting your smartphone allows you to send and receive messages, access favorite apps (allowing you to utilize your preferred navigation app), and of course, play your favorite music, audiobooks, and podcasts. One of the biggest benefits of these connectivity programs is the increased safety that comes with them. If you're driving and need to send or read a message, there is always the temptation to pick up your phone, putting your family members' lives in danger. Even something as simple as adjusting the music can easily become a safety issue. With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, your eyes can stay up because all of the things you need are accessible right on your infotainment screen.

    Volkswagen Comes Out Ahead

    However, the 2022 Atlas takes the lead by including wireless App-Connect, allowing you to connect your phone without plugging it in. The Atlas also stands out for the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit. This digital instrument cluster allows you to connect to your vehicle through information pertinent to the vehicle and to the drive. With three views and 21 viewing options, you'll be able to have all of the information you need right before you as you drive. Connecting with your vehicle is just as important as connecting with the outside world because doing so enables you to better engage with your vehicle and optimize its performance, making for a safer and smoother ride for your family.

Bud Clary Auburn Volkswagen 47.3356737, -122.2233049.