You might struggle to notice any visual differences between the seven-seat Volkswagen Atlas and this five-seater Atlas Cross Sport derivation. Both are unchanged for 2023, with the Cross Sport featuring more rakish styling and a marginally lower sticker price. Otherwise, it’s the same five-model range with two gas engines and a choice of front or all-wheel drive.
Choosing your Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
Like its Atlas sibling, the 2023 Cross Sport range features two engines, two drivetrains, and five trim levels.
The starting point on your Cross Sport journey is the two-liter front-wheel drive SE model, retailing at $35,025 (all prices include destination). At the other end of the scale, you could pay $52,765 for the 3.6-liter V6-powered AWD SEL Premium R-Line model.
The standard Atlas Cross Sport engine is a two-liter turbocharged gas engine producing 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. This is supplied to the front wheels or all four via an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the same is true of the larger 3.6-liter V6 that generates 276 hp and 266 lb-ft.
Fuel economy stands at an EPA-estimated 21 miles per gallon city, 25 mpg highway, and 23 combined for the two-liter engine in front-drive configuration. AWD figures drop by one MPG, but there’s no such penalty for adding 4MOTION to the 3.6-liter V6, where economy remains 18/24/20 MPG.
|Engine Type||Horsepower||Torque||Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined)|
|2.0 turbo||235 hp||258 lb-ft|
21/25/23 mpg (FWD)
20/24/22 mpg (AWD)
|3.6 V6||276 hp||266 lb-ft||18/24/20 mpg|
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
Cargo capacity for the five-seater Atlas Cross Sport stands at 40.3 cu ft with the rear seats in place, and 77.8 cu ft once they’re dropped.
Regardless of trim level, the Atlas Cross Sport offers automatic LED lights, rain-sensing wipers, and six airbags. Driver aids include forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking plus blind spot monitoring, but you’ll need SE with Technology to receive park distance control or adaptive cruise. SEL models benefit from adaptive front lighting with dynamic cornering lights, road sign recognition, lane assistance, and high beam control.
Like its Atlas sibling, Cross Sport SE models start unpromisingly with a 6.5-inch touchscreen and wired smartphone mirroring. Skip this and move up to SE with Technology for a larger eight-inch touchscreen powering satellite and HD radio, wireless smartphone integration and device charging, remote engine start, and a configurable 10.25-inch digital instrument display.
Flagship models are the only ones to replace the stock stereo with a Fender system including a central speaker and a sub. SEL is the first Atlas to receive navigation – it’s not even an option lower down the range.
Electronic governance on SE models is restricted to the heated side mirrors and driver’s seat, keyless entry, and push-button start. The cabin also has single-zone climate, and heated front seats with power lumbar for the driver.
There are no packs on any Atlas Cross Sport.
Infotainment is hugely improved on this model, with a larger eight-inch touchscreen sporting satellite and HD radio, wireless device charging and connectivity, plus three more USB-C ports.
A larger digital instrument display can be configured to suit the driver, who also benefits from adaptive cruise, while dual-zone climate and a power rear liftgate deserve mention as well.
VW-watchers might notice SEL’s adaptive front lighting and cornering lights on the move, though they’d be unlikely to spot the heated washer nozzles.
Inside, the passenger seat replicates the driver’s eight-way power adjustment and lumbar support; there’s ambient cabin lighting, a heated steering wheel and navigation. Safety is enhanced with everything from adaptive cornering lights to traffic sign recognition.
The price increase over standard SEL trim seems hard to explain, though this trim does receive a heated steering wheel. Black roof rails and matching external styling are present, too.
There are more significant upgrades on Premium models, including park assistance alongside front and rear park distance control, 21-inch wheels and a Fender audio system with subwoofer. This is the only Atlas Cross Sport to enjoy full leather trim, a surround-view camera system and ventilated front seats, while there are heating elements in the outboard rear seats.
SEL models offer valuable safety upgrades compared to SE with Technology, though if your budget only stretches to $40,000, the latter is still a far better choice than the unnecessarily basic SE model.