Have you noticed family SUVs are getting sleeker by the minute? The 2020 VW Atlas Cross Sport is one of those SUVs with a sloping, fastback-inspired roofline. It’s essentially a five-seat version of the full-size VW Atlas and remains a solid contender in the SUV category.
We’re not saying all this out of thin air. In fact, our hardworking Editor in chief Vincent Nguyen had a lengthy test drive with the Atlas Cross Sport Prototype a couple of months back. While the vehicle was draped in snazzy camouflage, the chief was overly impressed with the driving dynamics of Volkswagen’s latest creation.
“The Atlas Cross Sport doesn’t weave or bobble when traversing over rough, bumpy, or uneven roads,” said Nguyen. “It feels reassuringly composed and relaxing to drive, with the engine and chassis so well balanced that adding extra speed won’t penalize you in either ride smoothness or comfort.”
Atlas Cross Sport has the same underpinnings as the seven-seat Atlas SUV
In coming up with a proper five-seat SUV, Volkswagen turned to the larger seven-seat Atlas and went from there. The Cross Sport is 5.7-inches shorter and 2.3-inches shorter than a regular Atlas. However, it has the same 117.3-inch wheelbase as the larger vehicle. This means you get tremendous amounts of passenger room along with a commodious trunk for cargo.
Specifically, the Cross Sport offers 11.8 cubic feet of passenger space and 40.3 cubic feet of luggage room behind the second-row seats. Fold the seats down and you get 77.8 cubic feet of cargo room to play with.
The new Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport may be smaller than a regular Atlas, but you get tremendous amounts of room for unrivaled practicality.
And Volkswagen did it despite the Cross Sport having a fastback roofline
The general idea behind the Atlas is a roomier five-seat SUV, but Volkswagen threw in a sportier fastback roofline for good measure. Confused? It’s similar to Audi’s Q8, which is basically an Audi Q7 with sports car-like styling.
The steeply raked rear pillar slopes nicely to form the rear hatch. The vehicle receives a sculpted hood to complement the sloping roofline along with a new bumper and three-bar chrome grille. In order to give the vehicle a sportier and more modern vibe, Volkswagen is kind enough to throw in an LED light bar in the front, which stretches across the entire width of the vehicle including the middle bar across the VW logo.
Out in the back, the vehicle has new taillights and a sculpted rear bumper as well. You’ll find chrome accents on the rear bumper, windows, and lower sides of the door, but the R-Line version includes sportier bumpers, larger 21-inch alloy wheels, and shiny chrome trim with piano black accents around the front air scoops.
The Atlas Cross Sport has an upgraded interior
While some accessories were lifted directly from the regular Atlas – and I’m talking about the center stack and infotainment screen – the Atlas Cross Sport receives a couple of upgrades to make it feel sportier. The steering wheel with revised buttons is new while the doors and seats have new stitching options.
Optional equipment includes heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and a powerful 12-speaker Fender audio system. Choosing the SEL and Premium trim gives you Volkswagen’s configurable digital instrument display.
The 2020 VW Atlas Cross Sport is available in eight trim levels to suit every need and budget: S, SE, SE with Tech, SE with Tech R-Line, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL Premium, and SEL Premium R-Line.
Two engine choices: turbocharged four-cylinder or V6
The new Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport is offered with two engine choices. The first is a turbocharged four-banger with direct injection pumping out 235-horsepower. Meanwhile, the larger V6 mill produces 276-horsepower. Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive is standard along with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The V6 Atlas Cross Sport can be optioned with a towing package. This increases the towing capacity to 5,000 pounds and includes a stronger 800W radiator fan, a larger 180A alternator, and a trailer control module among other things.
It’s a safe vehicle, too
According to Volkswagen, the base Atlas Cross Sport S model has forward collision warning with autonomous braking, rear traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring as standard. Moving up the trim ladder gives you adaptive cruise control with a stop-and-go feature along with park distance control. You also get traffic jam assist and dynamic road sign display as well.
The VW Atlas Cross Sport also comes with an updated Volkswagen Car-Net feature that includes remote start and stop, remote door lock and unlock, vehicle status display, and a remote feature to activate the horn and flash the lights – which comes handy in a crowded parking garage.
The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport is a true American-built SUV for American consumers. Pricing will be announced at a later date.