VW Atlas Cross Sport With Off Road Tires (31″ All Terrains)

  • Model: VW Atlas Cross Sport
  • Wheels: 31"
  • Category: Off-Road Build
  • Capability Score: 25/70
  • Build Level: Base off-roader
  • Mods Budget: $$
VW Atlas Cross Sport on 31" Nitto Nomad Grappler All Terrain Offroad tires
VW Atlas Cross Sport Offroading in a forest trail
White VW Atlas Cross Sport on Black Off-road rims and Nitto All terrain tires
Testing off-road capabilities of a VW Atlas Cross Sport
Lifted Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport equipped with 17x8 Fifteen52 off road wheels and Nitto Nomad Grappler tires +1
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The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport is a relative newcomer to the market, and while it may not be the first vehicle that comes to mind when thinking about off-roading, this crossover has the potential to be a capable adventure vehicle if equipped with proper off-road mods and tires.

This 2022 VW Atlas Cross Sport off-road build showcases the owner’s vision for transforming his crossover into something more capable than a typical grocery-getter. The key ingredient in this build is a set of slightly oversized 31″ A/T off-road tires, which provide the necessary traction and ground clearance to confidently venture off the beaten path.

Nitto Nomad Grapple All Terrain tires and Fifteen52 rims

Technical Details

Model: 2022 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport 4Motion


Production years: 2020 & UP


Approximate prices on the market (Used): $25,000-$33,000


Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged


Drivetrain: AWD


Construction: Unibody


Traction Enhancement Devices: 5gen Haldex enhanced AWD system


Low Range: No


Stock wheel size: 245/65R17 – 30″


Offroad Wheel Size: 31″


Build Level: Starter


Budget: $$


Off-road Capability Score: 25/70

How did we get this score?

White VW Atlas Cross Sport on Black Off-road rims and Nitto All terrain tires

Specs & Mods

Engine

  • Integrated Tuning – ECU Tune (91 octane – 318 HP / 366 FT-Lbs TQ) – Optimized engine & transmission communications for higher torque
  • Neuspeed P-Flo intake Neuspeed Turbo inlet 

Wheels

  • Nitto Nomad Grappler 265/65/17 tires
  • Fifteen52 17×8 Alpen MX Frosted Graphite rims

Interior

  • Rear Trunk & Full interior Muddy Buddy
  • Rear Seat Atlas Embroided Covers
  • Privacy Rear Cover

Lighting

  • Eurowise Atlas Ditch Lights
  • Strands Qube Siberia Work Lights (amber/white)
Testing off-road capabilities of a VW Atlas Cross Sport

Interview With The Owner

Why did you choose an Atlas Cross Sport for your off-road project? What other models you considered

The design of the Atlas Cross Sport drew me in. The front lines made me fall in love with it. I was also very familiar with the 2.0T engine from previous VW generations. Being built on the 5gen Haldex system, I knew the Atlas could be prepared for off-roading. Being a 5 seater, the cargo space has plenty of room for gear and supplies. I wasn’t looking at other models before this purchase however, I did upgrade from a 2nd gen Tiguan 4Motion.

What was the most difficult part of the build?

What was the most difficult part of the build – So far, being a fairly new vehicle (2022) the build hasn’t had many issues. I challenging part is sourcing quality aftermarket support for the VW Atlas platform. There’s a only a handful of manufacturers that are producing off-road capable mods for the platform such as B2BFAB. 

What do you love the most about your project?

After upgrading the tires to the 265/65R17 Nomad Grappler by NITTO & pairing them with 17’ Alpen MX by, Fifteen52 it completely changed the feel and the look of the ride. The OEM suspension has responded well with these new additions contributing to a smoother highway drive & increased capabilities for off-roading. It made me fall in love with Tank…I mean Atlas Cross Sport all over again.

Any recommendations for someone considering an Atlas as their off-road project?

My recommendation would be to familiarize yourself with the VW forums specifically the Atlas vortex forum. They will be your best friend when it comes to troubleshooting or envisioning what route you want to take your Atlas build.

Is there something specific that you should keep an eye on when taking it off-road? 

Keep an eye on your clearance. With a 6.3 inch ground clearance it’s sufficient for light trails but you will need a lift to get more out of it and reduce any damage to the undercarriage. Eurowise Performance has an Atlas aluminum skid plate that is planned for this Atlas at a later time.

See Also
Toyota Rav4 With Wide Fender Flares and 31” Offroad Tires

Lifted Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport equipped with 17x8 Fifteen52 off road wheels and Nitto Nomad Grappler tires

To make the most of the Haldex system, keep the drive in sport and custom set it to off road driving. That produces plenty of TQ that one will need for off-road driving. I have yet to test the Atlas on a long overlanding trip to have any experience on when the trans begins to overheat. There is a big trip in the early 2024 with other VAG off-roading vehicles we are planning in California backroads that will soon put the Atlas to the test!

See more on Victor’s instagram: @prime_atlascs

How we test?

Offroadium Verdict & Score Explained

We have created our own rating and classification system to differentiate and evaluate the off-road capabilities of vehicles showcased on Offroadium. Based on it, we can conclude the following:

Off-road Capability Score: 25/70

Based on our evaluation system, this particular VW Atlas Cross Sport off-road build earns an off-road capability score of 25 out of 70 possible points. As an AWD crossover with a factory suspension and slightly oversized 31″ off-road tires, it receives 20 points for the wheel upgrades. An additional 5 points are awarded for the advanced Haldex 5 enhanced AWD system, which provides improved traction and control in off-road situations.

While this score places the Atlas Cross Sport in the lower range of off-road capability compared to purpose-built off-road vehicles, it represents a significant improvement over the stock configuration + there’s still room for improvement. Additional body armor with skid plates (+5) and a lift (+5) would give it additional 10 points to the overall score, moving it up into the Medium Off-roader category.

Complexity Level: Starter

The modifications made to this VW Atlas Cross Sport are focused primarily on the tires and wheels, with minor upgrades to the engine and interior protection. As such, we classify this as a Starter level build. The owner has taken a practical approach to enhancing the vehicle’s off-road capabilities without extensive modifications to the suspension, drivetrain, or body.

This level of build is well-suited for those new to off-roading or looking to improve their vehicle’s performance without significant investment or complexity. It demonstrates that even relatively minor upgrades can meaningfully expand a crossover’s versatility and adventure-readiness.

Budget: $$

Given the focus on essential tire, wheel, and minor performance upgrades, we estimate this VW Atlas Cross Sport build represents a $$ level investment. The owner has selected quality components that provide real performance benefits without breaking the bank on extensive custom work or top-tier accessories.

Pros

  • Striking design, especially if equipped with beefy tires
  • Spacious interior and cargo capacity (Attention AWD overlanders!)
  • Advanced All Wheel Drive system that provides optimal traction in certain off-road conditions

Cons

  • Limited ground clearance and approach/departure angles
  • Limited wheel travel
  • Low aftermarket support

This budget-conscious approach aligns well with the Starter build level, offering achievable inspiration for other Atlas Cross Sport owners looking to enhance their vehicle’s off-road capabilities. By prioritizing functional upgrades over cosmetic extras, this build delivers improved performance and adventure potential at a reasonable cost.

Stay tuned for more project reviews on Offroadium.com – Follow us on social media, and share this write-up if you enjoyed reading it!

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