The latest addition to the Volkswagen SUV lineup is a new twist on an existing model.
The German automaker took the 7-seat Atlas, removed the third row of seats and truncated the rear end.
Voila, the Atlas Cross Sport.
What you get is a midsize sport-ute with a bit more style thanks to a redesigned roofline and a rear shape that combine to give the design a sportier impression.
And what you lose in seats, you gain in spades when it comes to storage, not only inside the cabin, but also when the massive cargo floor is revealed by opening the liftgate.
The Atlas Cross Sport is offered in three trims (Trendline, Comfortline, Execline) with a starting price of $38,995. Our Aurora Red Chroma tester was the top of line trim, which is a little pricier at $56,500.
The Cross Sport offers the choice between two available engines: a base 2.0-litre four-cylinder and the larger 3.6L V6 in our ride.
Paired with an 8-speed automatic, the V6 engine we tested is rated at 267 horsepower and 266 ft-lb of torque.
While the engine itself is quite good, the transmission felt a little jumpy at times, with some shifts being far from smooth.
The Cross Sport also comes standard with 4MOTION all-wheel drive, an excellent system that handles Canadian winters well.
Unfortunately, after a week with it, I came nowhere near the combined average for fuel economy, which is rated at 12.7 litres per 100 kilometres. My average was 16.4 L/100 km – still quite a bit higher that the rated city average of 14.3 L/100 km for the Cross Sport.
In addition to the new look rear end, the Cross Sport also has a revised front grille which blends seamlessly with the large headlight assemblies.
When combined with the sleek 20-inch Capricorn alloy rims and powerful wheel arches that further enhance the sporty appearance, it’s a pretty sleek design.
Inside, the stylish looks continue, especially with the two-tone cabin on our tester – tastefully named Cinnamon-Titan Black.
As mentioned, you only have room for 5 passengers, but those seated on the rear bench have oodles of leg room and some comfortable seating.
And the cabin is also a quiet and enjoyable place to be while moving around town, made even brighter thanks to the panoramic sunroof on the Execline.
The top of line trim also comes with the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit (instrument cluster), which results in a nice, clean look for the dash.
That clean appearance extends to the centre console, which is topped by a large 8-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, which is further enhanced on the Execline with the addition of a Fender Premium Audio System featuring 12 speakers and a subwoofer. Turn up the volume and enjoy.
It comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and is also equipped with satellite radio and GPS navigation on our tester.
The interface is excellent, with ease of use, great responsiveness and clean menus.
Out on the road, the Atlas Cross Sport can get a little rock n roll at times, and I don’t mean from the music, as rougher roads are definitely felt inside the cabin.
And as mentioned earlier, the transmission can be a bit jittery at times, mostly in lower gears. That being said, the engine delivers plenty of power and the gearbox reacts well when you need to overtake slower moving traffic.
So overall, the Atlas Cross Sport is a solid everyday driver which offers huge amounts of cargo space, excellent passenger room and has a stylish appearance thanks to some nips and tucks to the Atlas.
2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Execline
Price as tested: $56,500
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.6-litre V6/ 8-speed automatic
Power/torque: 276 horsepower/ 266 ft-lb of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (70.4 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 12.7 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 16.4 L/100 km
Warranties: 4-years/80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Chevrolet Blazer, Ford Edge, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Honda Passport, Nissan Murano, Toyota Venza