The First Ever VW Atlas Cross Sport Is Sleeker and Sportier Than it’s Bigger Sister

Vw Atlas Cross Sport

Luckily, though, she learned a lot from her sibling.

So I have this to say about the VW Atlas: YAY. As a fan of VW, I liked the engineering, the reliability, the innovation, the clean design and the idea that a nicely designed European car doesn’t have to cost a fortune. But I was disappointed that the brand didn’t make an SUV that fit my family and my daily driving.

Yes, the brand has long had SUVs in the lineup, but until Atlas, not one that fit my needs. And, the brand always touted its fun-to-drive but not-so-much-fun-with-toddlers sedans and hatchbacks. So I felt a little left out.

Related: 2019 Volkswagen Atlas V6 SEL Premium: A 3 Row Family SUV for the Rockstar Mom

A Girls Guide To Cars | The First Ever Vw Atlas Cross Sport Is Sleeker And Sportier Than It'S Bigger Sister - My Drive Partner Kirsten And Me

My drive partner Kirsten and me. ? Scotty Reiss

It’s Good to Be Woke

That was until 2017. In the wake of the diesel scandal that hit VW pretty hard, the company decided to turn the ship right into the path of success. They began building cars for people like me, people who need a car that gets the job done: Three rows, seven seats (or six for those opting for center row captains chairs), plenty of leg and head room, lots of cargo space and must-have features like USB ports, LATCH anchors, a great sound system, leather seats and a large sunroof. From the first moment I test drove the Atlas I knew it was a winner. 

Fast forward three years and BOOM. Atlas sales are up, up, up, selling 80,000 units last year alone. 

So, what’s a company to do for a second act following a success like this? Turn the ship in the path of success again, and give the customer what she wants. 

Related: Hello VW Atlas Cross Sport, So Nice to Meet You!

A Girls Guide To Cars | The First Ever Vw Atlas Cross Sport Is Sleeker And Sportier Than It'S Bigger Sister - Lots And Lots Of Trunk Space In The Vw Atlas Cross Sport

Lots (and lots!) of trunk space in the VW Atlas Cross Sport. ? Scotty Reiss

Everything You Want, Minus The Stuff You Don’t

Enter the VW Atlas Cross Sport. It’s all that Atlas is—full sized, powerful, roomy, elegantly designed—but without the one thing you may not want or need: A third row.

Without the extra seating, VW’s designers could sculpt the rear lines for an elegant silhouette and a roof line that dips toward the lift gate. The whole effect is more elegant and sophisticated, putting it more in line with the Range Rover Evoque (my opinion) and the Ford Edge and Honda Passport (VW’s targets). 

And while it’s not as large as the Atlas, it’s still very roomy. The cargo area has 40 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, which also, are very roomy (I can attest to this; I rode in back for a while and was very comfy). This is where I put my handbag, on the floor right behind the passenger’s seat. While it I could reach the rear seat from the front, it wasn’t as easy to reach as the floor – this is a big back seat, after all.

And, three car seats will fit across the rear seat. This is great for families with three small kids in car seats and don’t want to have to climb into the third row to buckle and unbuckle a kid eighteen bazillion times a day. With the ample leg room in the rear seat your kids will be able to get in and out easily, too. 

Related: I Wanted These VW Vans As Soon As I Saw Them On Instagram

A Girls Guide To Cars | The First Ever Vw Atlas Cross Sport Is Sleeker And Sportier Than It'S Bigger Sister - The Rear View Camera Also Has A Surround View Option In The Premium Edition Of The Vw Atlas Cross Sport

The rear view camera also has a surround view option in the Premium edition of the VW Atlas Cross Sport. ? Scotty Reiss

Sporty Fun-ction Defines This SUV

But, the Cross Sport is still sporty. And that’s the idea: fun for getting away when you can, but all the comforts and conveniences you need on your daily routine drives. 

The Cross Sport has the power of the Atlas under the hood, either in a 4 cylinder turbo with 235 horsepower or a V6 with 276 horsepower (I drove them both in the mountains and honestly, the difference is hard to distinguish). The AWD model gets 16 MPG city/22 highway and averages 19 MPG. The front wheel drive model averages slightly better at 24 MPG combined.

And, VW has added some great standard equipment including advanced safety features: 

  • pre-emergency front braking
  • blind spot monitors
  • rear traffic alert
  • automatic post-collision braking, which slows your car after a crash preventing further damage 

Related: Jet Setting in the VW Jetta: This Hybrid Holds Its Own

A Girls Guide To Cars | The First Ever Vw Atlas Cross Sport Is Sleeker And Sportier Than It'S Bigger Sister - A View Of The Front Seat In The Vw Atlas Cross Sport

A view of the front seat in the VW Atlas Cross Sport. ? Scotty Reiss

Add to that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wifi capability and a suite of apps to help you run your day, and standard is a pretty good starting place. 

From there buyers can choose upgraded trim levels adding things like adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, lane keep assist, wireless charging, a household plug in the rear, surround view camera, front and rear heated seats, keyless access and push button start, a panoramic sun roof and premium audio from Fender (yes, THAT Fender!). 

And, it has this super cool self-parking park assist feature. This will silence your kids for sure:

Pricing for the Cross Sport: A Lot for the Money 

One thing that’s nice about how VW prices its cars is that there are not a lot of add-ons. Pick the trim you want and you can add floor mats ($245) and a panoramic sunroof ($1200). That’s about it.

  • The base model starts at $30,545 plus a $1,025 delivery charge 
  • The middle of the range, the SE AWD with the Technology package, which includes remote start, leatherette seats, keyless access, adaptive cruise control, color infotainment system and automatic hands free lift gate is about $38,000.
  • The top of the line R-line model we test drove came in at about $51,000 with delivery
A Girls Guide To Cars | The First Ever Vw Atlas Cross Sport Is Sleeker And Sportier Than It'S Bigger Sister - Me And The Vw Atlas Cross Sport

Me and the VW Atlas Cross Sport (oh, and British Columbia!). ? Scotty Reiss

Design Touches to Make You Say Yay, Too

The VW Cross Sport takes the best of Atlas and kicks it up a notch (or, dials it back with 5 versus 7 seats). The front end has been sculpted a bit more, there’s a bit more chrome and it sports the newly slimmed logo. The overall effect is modern and elegant. And still all that we love about Atlas. Yay.

What We Listened to in the VW Atlas Cross Sport

The a Fender sound system inspired us to play some of our favorite songs as we wound our way through British Columbia on our test drive. This is what sounded great in the Cross Sport.

Disclosure: I was VW’s guest for this test drive. Travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.

A Girls Guide To Cars | The First Ever Vw Atlas Cross Sport Is Sleeker And Sportier Than It'S Bigger Sister - The Digital Graphics In The Vw Atlas Cross Sport Are Pretty Darn Good

The digital graphics in the VW Atlas Cross Sport are pretty darn good. ? Scotty Reiss

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss