Spacious, tech-savvy Atlas Cross Sport expands VW’s SUV lineup – The Oakland Press

As SUVs continue to dominate sales, it’s no surprise that many automakers are looking to increase their presence and lineup in this category. Volkswagen is an automaker that has had a delicate history with its SUVs, but which persists and tries to grow.

A few years ago, VW introduced their Atlas 3-row SUV, and now they are starting to expand the Atlas family with the Atlas Cross Sport mid-size two-row SUV – which is now in its second year and is coming up against a host of popular vehicles including the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chevy Blazer and Ford Edge, and literally dozens of other SUV options.

I recently drove a 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport – which mainly picks up the 2020 model but adds a new infotainment system and some extra safety features – and I’m back with a full report on how it fits. in the SUV landscape.

for your information

Vehicle: 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
Price tested: $ 48,115 (from $ 33,000)
Best feature: Quality and versatile interior design, powerful new infotainment system, safety features
Evaluation: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Who will want this vehicle? : Two-row SUV buyers looking for a new attractive, user-friendly and tech-savvy alternative

  • Courtesy of Volkswagen

  • Courtesy of Volkswagen

  • Courtesy of Volkswagen

  • Courtesy of Volkswagen

  • Courtesy of Volkswagen

  • Courtesy of Volkswagen

  • Courtesy of Volkswagen


The exterior of the Atlas Cross Sport I tested featured an attractive Aurora Red Metallic paint job. The chrome design of the front grille and bumper is quite eye-catching and stands out in the segment.

The vehicle is fitted with 18, 20 or 21 inch alloy wheels, depending on the trim level. It also features LED headlamps, an adaptive front lighting system, heated and power folding side mirrors, variable intermittent rain-sensing front wipers, a tilting panoramic sunroof and electric sliding and silver roof rails. All Atlas Cross Sport models have a ground clearance of 8 inches.

With a lower roofline than the three-row Atlas and a sloped rear hatch, the dimensions of the Atlas Cross Sport are 195.5 inches long, 78.4 inches wide and 68.3 inches high. . It is 5.2 inches shorter in length and 2.2 inches shorter than the Atlas.

Inside the Atlas Cross Sport you will find plenty of space for cargo and for five passengers. Headroom measures 39.4 inches and 37.8 inches in rows 1 and 2; with legroom at 41.6 and 40.4 inches. The rear seat offers a 60/40 split, with the possibility of reclining.

Atlas Cross Sport can boast a maximum cargo volume of 77.8 cubic feet behind the first row seats with the rear seats folded down and 40.3 cubic feet with the rear seats up, and there’s plenty of features to keep everyone happy (including USB and 12- Volt inputs, cup and bottle holders and storage space for small items).

The overall quality of materials used in the Atlas Cross Sport was also quite solid, but not quite on par with some of its competitors (This makes sense, as traditionally VW has been functional, not flashy, with its interior designs ). The leather seats were comfortable and nothing inside the vehicle felt cheap or shoddy. And the controls are exactly where they need to be for easy operator use.

Interior features include: dual-zone automatic control with 2nd row air vent, heated leatherette-wrapped steering wheel, heated and ventilated driver and front passenger seats, heated rear seats, manual roll-up sun visors and ambient lighting.


The Atlas Cross Sport 2021 is offered with a choice of two engines. My test vehicle featured the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and its 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. You can also upgrade to a 3.6-liter V6 which brings the figures to 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet.

The Atlas Cross Sport comes standard with front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive (VW’s 4Motion AWD system) and four-wheel independent suspension.

In my experience, the base engine was disappointing in terms of overall performance and a bit slow to pick up speed. The time from zero to 60 is approximately 8 seconds. Eco, Normal, Sport and Custom drive settings are offered, but overall it’s a less sporty vehicle than some of the competition, and the engine noise is a bit louder as well.

Besides his power struggles, the rest of the driving experience in the Atlas Cross Sport is pretty strong. It behaves well for its size, reacts immediately to driver commands and also offers solid braking performance. The towing capacity is 5,000 pounds and the AWD system is effective in eliminating loss of traction.

Beyond the traditional Onroad Riding Mode settings, AWD models also offer the ability to select settings such as Snow and Offroad, which tweak the systems to best suit the conditions with just the tweak of a button.


Volkswagen has included its all-new infotainment system on most of the Atlas Cross Sport trim levels. Called the MIB3 system, it has an 8-inch display, multi-phone pairing, enhanced voice recognition, and multiple USB ports.

The infotainment system’s touch controls are generally straightforward, but take some time to learn. Voice commands are very simple and effective (eg “Tune to Yacht Rock Radio”). Navigation can be searched by address or by points of interest, and the system understands the controls fairly well.

The system includes navigation, AM / FM / HD radio and a three-month trial of SiriusXM satellite radio. There is also a premium quality Fender audio system including a subwoofer.

Other technological features of the vehicle include: remote start, keyless access to all doors and tailgate, push button start, anti-theft alarm system with engine immobilizer, Bluetooth for playing music and calls and charging wireless for compatible devices.

Volkswagen also offers a competitive amount of safety features for the segment.

The rear view camera is standard, as are the automatic post-collision braking system and the blind spot monitor. The Atlas Cross Sport has six airbags, as well as an anti-lock braking system and electronic stability control. The Intelligent Collision Response System also shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and turns on the hazard warning lights if the car is involved in a collision.

Some higher trim levels of the Atlas Cross Sport come with IQ.DRIVE – which uses front and rear radars, a front camera, and multiple sensors to collect data and activate features like forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring (front assistance); Blind spot monitor (lateral assistance); Rear traffic alert; Adaptive cruise control; Lane Keeping System (Lane Assist); Travel assistance; and emergency assistance.

Travel Assist is a new feature on some trim levels, which enables practical, partially automated driving in the Atlas Cross Sport, activated by a button on the steering wheel.

Other safety features of the Atlas Cross Sport include dynamic signage display; High beam control, aerial view camera and tire pressure monitoring system.


The official fuel consumption figures on the Atlas Cross Sport with the four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive are 20 city / 24 highway / 22 combined, and my experience has confirmed that these figures are correct. These are decent numbers, but not spectacular in a segment with a wide lineup of two-row SUVs.

The other fuel economy figures are 21/24/22 for the front-wheel-drive four-cylinder engine; 18/23/20 for the V6 with front wheel drive; and 17/23/19 for the V6 with AWD. The Atlas Cross Sport has a 19.5 gallon fuel tank.


The Atlas Cross Sport I tested was in the high end and at just over $ 48,000. The base version starts at around $ 33,000, so there is a wide price range depending on what features you include. These prices are generally in line with what you’ll pay for the many two-row SUV alternatives available, although they are a bit higher than some of the competition.

Eight trim levels are offered and warranties on the Atlas Cross Sport include a new vehicle limited warranty for 4 years or 50,000 miles (whichever comes first). In addition, VW’s worry-free maintenance program provides scheduled maintenance services for 2 years or 20,000 miles.


While not the most powerful option in the mid-size two-row SUV class, VW’s Atlas Cross Sport is a powerful new entry, well-designed for cargo and comfort, and full of technological and security innovations. For people who love the Volkswagen aesthetic, but don’t need the three-row Atlas, this is a welcome alternative.

Matt Myftiu can be contacted by email at [email protected] His past reviews can all be viewed online at

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