hamburger icon
Compare Articles

Volkswagen Atlas vs. Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

In 2018, Volkswagen expanded its crossover range to include the three-row, midsize Atlas. While not the best-received crossover, this dollop of vanilla ice cream filled a gap in the brand's lineup. Meanwhile, the 2020 model year brought about the introduction of the all-new VW Atlas Cross Sport, which suits the broader base of crossover shoppers who have no need for a third row.

Does the new Atlas Cross Sport hit that middle ground the Atlas missed? Keep reading to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Atlas & Atlas Cross Sport »

What the Atlas Gets Right

The VW Atlas’ biggest benefit over its Atlas Cross Sport brother is its interior. Whereas the Atlas Cross Sport hauls just five people, the Atlas’ third row increases passenger capacity to seven. Sure, the third row isn't exactly spacious with just 33.7 inches of leg room, but it’s the perfect size for younger children or adults in a pinch.

Though the third row is short on room, it’s easy to access thanks to large rear doors and second-row seats that slide forward. Plus, with its innovative LATCH placement, there’s no need to remove the child seat to slide the second row forward. Parents will appreciate this feature the most.

The Atlas also hauls cargo with the best of them in its class with 20.6 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 55.5 behind the second row, and cavernous 96.8 behind the first row. The Atlas Cross Sport offers just 40.3 cubic feet behind its second row and 77.8 total.

What the Atlas Cross Sport Gets Right

The VW Atlas Cross Sport shows off a sportier look – just as its name implies – with a lower roofline, smaller glasshouse, and forward-raked rear glass. The Atlas Cross Sport is the chocolate-vanilla swirl to the vanilla Atlas.

The Atlas Cross Sport shares the Atlas’ 117.3-inch wheelbase, but its 195.5-inch length is 2.8 inches shorter. This pushes the wheels to the corners for enhanced stability, and the shorter body makes it easier to zip through tight traffic.

The Atlas Cross Sport may lack the third row its big brother boasts, but it makes up for that with an adult-friendly second row. Here, passengers will have 40.4 inches of leg room, which is 2.8 inches more than the Atlas offers.

The Atlas Cross Sport starts from $31,565, which is an even $1,000 cheaper than the Atlas. Plus, it boasts all the same standard features as the three-row model, including a 6.5-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, 18-inch wheels, and more.

Got to Have Three Rows?

The VW Atlas doesn’t make as much sense for the average family as the VW Atlas Cross Sport, but those who have a larger-than-average family will appreciate its third row and extra cargo space for just an additional $1,000.

Our Verdict: Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

With its lower base price, loads of room for the average family, and identical features to the three-row model, the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport just makes more sense for more buyers than the standard Volkswagen Atlas.

Take a closer look at the Volkswagen Atlas »

Take a closer look at the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport »

    Item 1 of 0
      Item 1 of 0
      Author profile
      Justin Cupler Automotive Editor

      Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

      His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

      Sign Up for Customized Deal Alerts

      Subscribe to receive emails of the latest deals. Select list to join:

      Related Articles

      related article preview image
      Honda Pilot vs. VW Atlas Few midsize SUVs are as skilled as the Honda Pilot and Volkswagen Atlas when it comes to hauling cargo and people. Both the Pilot and Atlas are spa...
      photo of author Joel Patel Joel Patel Automotive Editor Jun 07, 2023
      related article preview image
      Ford Edge vs. Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport The second-generation Ford Edge has roamed soccer field parking lots since 2015, making it a relative senior in this changing segment. One of the l...
      photo of author Justin Cupler Justin Cupler Automotive Editor Apr 20, 2020
      related article preview image
      VW Atlas vs. Tiguan The Volkswagen Tiguan and Atlas have been designed with the American consumer in mind, with big interiors, simple designs, and practical features. ...
      photo of author Matthew Pilgrim Matthew Pilgrim Automotive Editor Dec 22, 2022
      related article preview image
      Toyota Highlander vs. Sienna Midsize SUVs like the Toyota Highlander have usurped minivans as the go-to options for families. Consumers can't get enough of SUVs and automakers ...
      photo of author Meghan Carbary Meghan Carbary Automotive Content Editor Mar 27, 2024
      related article preview image
      Toyota RAV4 vs. Highlander The Toyota RAV4 was one of the first compact SUVs with passenger-car underpinnings on the market when it was introduced in 1996. Since its introduc...
      photo of author Meghan Carbary Meghan Carbary Automotive Content Editor Mar 26, 2024
      See More Compare Articles >

      Sign Up for Customized Deal Alerts

      Subscribe to receive emails of the latest deals. Select list to join: