Volkswagen’s midsize Atlas Cross Sport AWD SUV debuts with a sporty look with two rows of seats rather than three as has VW’s Atlas Cross. Sports’ dimensions are also a bit smaller (5.2 inches) and it’s somewhat lighter than the Atlas.
Atlas Cross Sports’ bold sportiness comes compliments of a coupe-like sloping roofline, bright brushed aluminum trim and tall 20-inch tires that have 9 inches of width for better deep snow, off-road traction. Want sportier looks? Check out the Atlas Cross Sport R-Line version with special exterior trims and 21-inch wheels.
Atlas Cross Sport is offered AWD, FWD and in S, SE, SE w/Technology, SE w/Technology R-Line, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL Premium, and SEL Premium R-Line. We tested the SEL with VWs 4Motion AWD that is standard on this trim level.
Even Cross Sports’ interior offers a sporty touch with a square bottom steering wheel. And the interior is exceptionally spacious for those who don’t need three row seating. It has an airy feeling about it with the back seats having 14 inches of legroom with the fronts in a moderately forward position.
After a low 19-inch step-in, the cockpit is nicely done in quality materials. An 8-inch touchscreen serves a multitude of services such as satellite radio, app connect, rearview camera with 360-degree view and various operating functions plus Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Mirrorlink connectivity.
Large HVAC controls don’t require taking the eyes off the road as they’re easy to view and use. And below them is a wireless phone charger tucked in at the base of the vertical stack.
A burly 8-speed automatic transmission shifter is flanked by the keyless ignition switch and rotary AWD dial that selects Snow, Normal, Sport, Eco and Custom modes. All of which display pictorially on the screen.
Cross Sports’ large gauge cluster is all digital, colorful and offers a driver information display between the speedometer and tach. The latter displays alerts, operating functions and features.
Sports’ front seats are on the taut side but are supportive with classy contrasting stitching on all seams.
In the back seat, the rear doors open wide for easy ingress/egress and the seats can actually seat three abreast with ample headroom and legroom. They too are on the taut side which seems to be the norm on most German cars including BMW and Mercedes.
If you’re into the great outdoors be it for camping, fishing, hunting, climbing, hiking or biking, Cross Sports’ huge cargo area with Easy Open Liftgate, is extremely spacious for all types of gear. In fact, upon folding the front seat backs, a mountain bike could fit if removing and stowing the front wheel atop it.
With the rear seats upright there’s 40.3 cubic feet of cargo space that measures 46 inches deep, 47 wide and 29 high. Flip them and space expands to 77.8 cubic feet for 78 inches of extended cargo loading depth.
Cross Sport comes standard with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline 4-cylinder that generates 235-hp and 258 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 18 city, 23-highway mpg with start/stop engine technology. There’s also an optional 3.6-liter V6 with 276-hp and 266 lb/ft of torque that EPA rates at 16 city, 22-highway mpg.
Unless you have towing needs, the 2.0L turbo is plenty powerful albeit a tad noisy until the trans shifts from 2ND to 3rd, then it quiets down and goes unnoticed at highway speeds. If needing more spunk, Sport mode alters shift points, steering and throttle response.
Shod with those wide, 20-inch Scorpion tires, Cross Sport offers a smooth ride as its suspension nicely dampens rough, pock-marked roadways, highway tar strips and unimproved railroad crossings.
Handling for a midsize large SUV is planted with a secure feeling. It also parks easily as steering at low speed is calibrated for easy maneuvering.
With an extremely long list of standard safety features such as forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking w/front pedestrian monitoring, remote start, front/rear park distance control, blind spot monitoring/rear traffic alert, lane keeping assist/traffic jam assist, high beam control, hill hold/hill descent control and many more, the Atlas Cross Sport’s base price of $41,445 had but two extra cost options of Aurora Red paint ($395) and Monster Mats with heavy duty cargo liner ($235). With delivery ($1,020) the bottom line reflected $43,095.
For that, Cross Sport buyers also get warranties of 4 years/50K miles limited vehicle that includes powertrain components; 7/100K corrosion perforation; 2/20K carefree scheduled maintenance; and 24-hour roadside assistance for 3/36K whichever comes first.
As Volkswagen’s next to largest SUV, Atlas Cross Sport exemplifies fine German engineering and build. It’s a compelling choice among the crowded SUV field.