If you like the three-row Volkswagen Atlas but don’t need that much room, check out the new two-row Atlas Cross Sport with two rows and seating for five. With its coupe-like roofline, it’s more stylish than its larger sibling. VW calls it the “boldest SUV in the Volkswagen stable.”
Volkswagen introduced the Atlas in the spring of 2017 as the brand’s first three-row SUV. The Atlas Cross Spot is all new for 2020. It has the same frame, powertrains and many of the same trims, packages and options. Although it’s smaller than the three-row Atlas, both are midsize SUVs.
The Atlas Cross Sport comes in eight trims so you can get the one that’s right for you and your family: S, SE, SE with Technology, SE with Technology R-Line, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL Premium and SEL Premium R-Line. Starting prices range from $30,545 to $48,095. Front-wheel-drive is standard. VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive is available on all trims and standard on SEL Premium models. Silver roof rails are standard.
Two engines are available: a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder that makes 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque or a 3.6-liter V6 that puts out 276 hp and 266 pound-feet. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. My tester has the V6.
Although the Atlas Cross Sport does indeed have sporty looks, it’s not particularly sporty to drive. It’s more of a poised family hauler with pleasant driving dynamics whether you’re in busy city traffic or cruising on the highway. Acceleration can be a tad slow but once you’re up to speed, the Atlas Cross Sport has a smooth and comfortable ride, soaking up bumps and rough roads. Put it in Sport mode for more oomph.
Towing capability ranges from 2,000 to 5,000 pounds depending on the engine and tow package.
Fuel efficiency is not as good as many rivals. EPA ratings for my AWD tester are 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway with a combined rating of 19. I got 18 during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior looks a lot like, well, a Volkswagen. The design is simple and clean, albeit a little Spartan compared to what you’ll find in many competitors with a fair amount of hard plastics. There’s a lot of room; taller adults will enjoy good legroom in both rows of seating. However, the raking roofline limits headroom in the back seat, especially with the sunroof. The second row is only available with bench seating. The second row has a 14-degree backrest recline function. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard on all trims.
Standard features include rear view camera, cloth upholstery, manually adjusted seats, 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, six-speaker audio system, two USB ports, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Car-Net 2.0 with Wi-Fi capability, automatic LED headlights, and rain-sensing wipers.
Available features include keyless entry, push-button start, remote start, leatherette and leather upholstery, power driver’s seat, driver seat memory, heated steering wheel, heated and cooled power front seats, dual-zone climate control, 10.3-inch digital cockpit display, eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, voice control, navigation, 12-speaker Fender audio system, satellite radio, 5 USB ports, reconfigurable digital gauge display, overhead-view camera, and panoramic sunroof with powered sunshade.
Standard driver assistance technologies include blind spot monitoring, automatic collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.
Available driver assistance technologies include lane keep assist, road sign recognition park assist with park-distance control, and dynamic cruise control with Traffic Jam Assist, which controls the vehicle’s speed when you’re in stop-and-go traffic.
The Cross Sport has a lot of cargo space. There are 40.3 cubic feet with both rows in place and a whopping 77.8 cubes with the second row folded. A power liftgate and the Easy Open feature are available. Easy Open lets you open the tailgate with a kick of your foot below the rear bumper when the key is in range.
Lots of trims and available features
Comfortable, roomy interior
Lots of cargo space
Lower starting price than many rivals
Looks sportier than it drives
Rivals have better fuel efficiency
Price climbs quickly on higher trims
My tester starts at $49,795. Monster mats (set of 4) and heavy duty trunk liner with VW CarGo blocks are $235. Destination charge is $1,020 bringing the grand total to $51,050.
Looking for a two-row midsize SUV that’s a bit different from the pack? The VW Atlas Cross Sport offers sporty looks, a comfortable ride, lots of room for passengers and cargo, and comes in a wide range of trims and prices so you can get the one that best suits your family.