2020 VW Atlas Cross Sport Promises A Sportier Midsize SUV

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - October 14, 2019

Volkswagen only has two SUVs in its lineup at the moment. There’s the Tiguan that’s a compact SUV with seating for up to seven or the midsize Atlas that also happens to have seating for seven. Neither are exactly sporty nor put design first, which might not sound like a big deal, but it’s a growing part of the segment. More coupe-like, two-row crossovers are emerging and Volkswagen wants in with the new 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport.

We saw a handsome concept of the five-seat Atlas Cross Sport Concept at the 2018 New York International Auto Show and are happy to report that some of the more athletic design cues have made their way into the production model. There’s still a lot of Atlas in the design, but it’s clearly the sportier model of the two twins. While it rides on the same 117.3-inch wheelbase as the three-row Atlas, the Atlas Cross Sport Concept has a hunkered-down stance with a striking sloped roofline. Overall, it’s 2.8 inches shorter and 2.3 inches lower than the Atlas. In addition to its body, the model gets unique 21-inch wheels, front and rear bumpers, and exterior trim over the Atlas.

The Atlas Cross Sport also gets a slightly different cabin than the Atlas, but they’re not as easy to spot as the differences with the exterior. The main difference is that the Atlas can seat seven, while the Atlas Cross Sport is a five-passenger only affair. Other than the number of seats, the stylish crossover has a new steering wheel, but a lot of the same features that are found on the Atlas.

2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

Thanks to the lengthy wheelbase, the Atlas Cross Sport still offers a decent amount of cargo space. With the rear seats in place, the crossover has 40.3 cubic feet of cargo space, which is 15.2 cubic feet less than what the Atlas offers. Volkswagen also points out that the Atlas Cross Sport has 40.4 inches of legroom in the back, which is more than what you’ll find in the Atlas (37.6 inches).

In addition to being one of the first crossovers from VW to have a coupe-like design, the Atlas Cross Sport is also being used to showcase some new technology. The CUV’s infotainment system will come with VW’s new Car-Net suite of features. It’s a smartphone app that allows owners to control a few aspects on the vehicle, like remotely lock and unlock the doors, start the car, flash the lights, and honk the horn. Owners can get useful information, too, like how much gas is left in the tank or set up a service appointment. Car-Net is free for the first five years and will be available on other 2020 model years. Smart home device capability for systems like Amazon Alexa is coming later this year.

The new SUV is also getting some cutting-edge driver-assist features, too. Traffic Jam Assist and Dynamic Road Sign Display make their debut with the Atlas Cross Sport. Traffic Jam Assist uses an optional adaptive cruise system and lane keeping assist to essentially let the SUV drive on its own at speeds of less than 37 mph. Dynamic Road Sign Display gives drivers a display of speed limits, school zones, and other road signs.

Power for the Atlas Cross Sport comes from the same engines found in the Atlas, so we’re not expecting lively performance. The base engine is the same 235-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, while a 276-hp 3.6-liter V6 is available. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard. Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive via VW’s 4Motion system are available.

2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

Unsurprisingly, fuel economy isn’t too much of a departure from the regular Atlas. The Atlas Cross Sport is rated at up to 21 mpg city, 24 mpg hwy, and 22 mpg combined. The most efficient Atlas is rated at up to 20/26/22 mpg (city/hwy/combined). Adding all-wheel drive to the Atlas Cross Sport brings the combined figure down to 20 mpg.

The all-new Atlas Cross Sport will be available in S, SE, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL Premium, and SEL Premium R-Line trims. Pricing isn’t out yet, but we’re expecting the model to be pricier than the Atlas, which starts at $31,890 including destination at the bottom of the lineup and $49,390 for a V6 SEL Premium with 4Motion.

Midsize two-row SUVs have become popular recently. The Atlas Cross Sport will compete against options like the Ford Edge, Honda Passport, Nissan Murano, and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Explore Volkswagen's lineup »

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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