2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport review: Streamlined SUV skimps on sport


A nip and tuck to the Atlas’ profile gets you the far more athletic searching Cross Sport product.

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The Volkswagen Atlas is a massive, 3-row beast of an SUV with its extensive body and horizontal style and design elements. The 2020 VW Atlas Cross Sport is only a little a lot less so. The new variant shrinks the SUV’s body a little and tweaks the roofline for a sportier profile and far more athletic control charm, allowing for it to greater do battle with the new Passport — by itself a scaled-down edition of the Atlas’ closest nemesis, the Honda Pilot.


  • New profile appears greater, will not charge a great deal space
  • Even simple cabin tech checks all the correct boxes
  • Comfy experience about tough surfaces

Don’t Like

  • Gasoline overall economy is just Okay
  • Loads of body motion at bigger speeds

The Cross Sport lowers the Atlas’ roofline to 67.8 inches (down 2.3) and shortens the SUV’s total duration to 195.5 inches (5.2 a lot less). The result, alongside with a little bit of a nipping and tucking of the profile, is a a great deal far more muscular and athletic acquire on the typical Atlas’ stiff, brick-like aesthetic.

The a little shorter duration visually pushes the rear wheels out to the vehicle’s corners, giving the Cross Sport a far more aggressive-searching stance, though the decreased roofline and exaggerated wheel arches make the Atlas look decreased and leaner. Personally, I believe the Cross Sport appears the way the Atlas must have all alongside.

Sculpting its sheetmetal will save this Atlas variant about 200 pounds, dependent on the trim amount, but the far more svelte shape will not enable as a great deal with aerodynamics and performance as I would hoped. The Cross Sport still has the exact .34 drag coefficient as its far more squared-off sibling and mostly the exact gas performance across the spectrum of engine alternatives. At ideal, I am talking 21 miles for every gallon metropolis, 24 mpg freeway and 22 mpg merged for the front-wheel-generate 4-cylinder. At the other stop of the spectrum is the all-wheel-generate V6, at sixteen mpg metropolis, 22 mpg freeway and 19 mpg merged.

The underpinnings have not transformed. The Cross Sport sits on the exact 117.3-inch wheelbase with 8 inches of floor clearance and retains its extensive boi standing at seventy eight.four inches across. I’ve usually considered it strange that the Atlas classifies as a midsize SUV even with its imposing curbside stature.


The Cross Sport V6 4Matic gains just one merged mpg even with unchanged metropolis and freeway estimates, so there will have to be some small aerodynamic gain currently being rounded off.

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Of program, the tidier exterior style and design prices the Cross Sport a little bit of interior volume, but not as a great deal realistic space as you could believe. By the numbers, there’s 40.3 cubic ft at the rear of the second row and 77.8 cubic ft with the seats folded flat. That is a decline of fifteen.2 and 19 cubes, respectively, when compared to the much larger Atlas, but it’s all shed space around the ceiling. The Cross Sport still does a amazing position swallowing up cumbersome merchandise — such as a fifty two-inch extensive amusement middle — with area to spare.

Taller motorists and travellers might see the decline of about 2 inches of headroom on equally of the Cross Sport’s rows (39.four inches front, 37.8 inches rear) and there’s no missing the lack of a 3rd row option. There’s just no area for it in the Cross Sport’s shorter chassis. 

Smooth experience, peaceful overall performance

The Cross Sport appears far more athletic, but it’s no far more agile than prior to. The SUV’s experience is just as comfortable as the typical product and just as comfort and ease-concentrated. In spite of the lowered control bodyweight, the Cross Sport feels massive with numb steering that lacks a great deal of the vehicle-like nimbleness of its competitors all over town.

On the freeway, the Atlas’ vague steering and comfortable suspension will make the SUV feel practically truck-ish. I regularly have to make small steering corrections to make up for bumps, dips or crosswinds nudging the Cross Sport to and fro. There’s a ton of vertical and lateral body motion at speed about my community (and really uneven) highways, which means the SUV by no means definitely feels settled. It is not so fiddly as to feel unsafe or scary, but the Atlas involves just a little bit far more mental power to preserve centered within its lane than, say, our extended-term Honda Passport — that’s not specifically what I indicate when I say I want an partaking generate.


With these a extensive body, there generally is not a great deal wiggle area in between the lane markers.

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Two engines are out there to Atlas Cross Sport purchasers: a 2.-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and a 3.six-liter V6, each mated to an 8-speed computerized transmission. Both can be had in front-wheel generate configuration or, optionally, Volkswagen’s 4Matic all-wheel-generate system.

My example’s V6 engine provides 276 horsepower and 266 pound-ft of torque to the social gathering. In comparison to the 2.0T, it’s bought forty one excess ponies, but only 8 far more pound-ft. In practice, the V6 will not feel that a great deal far more powerful on the road than the I4, probably owing in aspect to the computerized transmission’s comfort and ease-tuned programming considerably dulling responsiveness in favor of smoothness and overall economy.

Tech and security

The Cross Sport options an similar record of typical and optional driver support tech as the much larger Atlas. There’s a superior loadout of options such as adaptive cruise control that works properly in cease-and-go website traffic, computerized crisis brake support, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring and computerized large beams. 

My instance also options lane-preserving support and lane-departure alerts that are unobtrusive and handy. However, it will not do as superior a position holding the middle line as Honda’s lane-preserving tech or Toyota’s now-typical Lane Tracing Guide, leaving the Atlas wandering considerably in between the markers.


The Atlas’ typical 8-inch display screen is property to smartphone connectivity and a refreshingly straightforward interface.

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VW’s cabin tech is still between the ideal in the class, mainly because of its smartly decided on options and relative simplicity. There’s not a great deal to the menu composition, so it by no means definitely gets awkward.

My example’s upgraded 8-inch display screen plays host to typical Android Vehicle and Apple CarPlay connectivity, and is nicely positioned just a brief attain from the driver’s seat. The optional navigation computer software gets me in which I need to go devoid of problem and works properly with the voice recognition that Volkswagen’s working these times. If you’re experience deja-vu from my former Atlas overview, that’s because this is the exact setup you’ll discover in the dashboards of virtually each and every new VW in the automaker’s lineup, and that’s not a poor factor.

Only the leading-amount SEL trim features VW’s Electronic Cockpit instrument cluster, which is a shame. The full-screen instrument cluster appears great. It is not as flashy or effective as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit electronic dashboard, but VW’s setup is still really customizable and truly worth looking at.

Opposition and cost

The 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport starts at $31,565 for the foundation 2.0T S product, such as a $1,020 destination demand — that’s specifically a $1,000 personal savings about the much larger, 3-row product — and tops out at the $fifty,815 V6 SEL Premium R-Line with 4Motion all-wheel generate. The mid-tier SE trim is the sweet spot, obtaining you most of the creature comforts and security tech, priced moderately in between $34,965 and the $43,260 as-analyzed cost of this V6 SE with Technologies, R-Line and 4Motion updates, as properly as premium Aurora Red Chroma Metallic paint and a panoramic sunroof.

The Atlas Cross Sport rides easily, offers a sound mix of options and tech and retains a great deal of the typical Atlas’ spacious cargo and passenger ability even with its far more svelte shape. It is also shocking just how a great deal greater the reshaped rear stop appears. However, the Atlas Cross Sport is not my beloved experience in this class. 

I would like a tighter experience to go with the Cross Sporty appears — or at minimum the option for a sportier R-Line suspension to go with the badges and bumpers. For now, the Atlas Cross Sport’s primary opposition is the Honda Passport which gets the nod from me many thanks to its comparably robust tech and far more vehicle-like dealing with. It is just far more pleasant and a lot less mentally taxing to generate. Toyota’s future Venza will also prove to be an exciting cross-store, dependent on in which the committed hybrid model’s cost and performance lands.