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

Vw Atlas Cross Sport

A slightly smaller, but just as lovely, new Atlas SUV

You know what they say: If you do something really well, do more of it. Clearly, the folks at Volkswagen agree.

After the enormous popularity of the Atlas, the three-row family SUV with all the space a family needs and a modern feel in a classic-looking SUV, it was clear that VW needed to grow the franchise.

And, a 3-row SUV isn’t for everyone. In fact, if you will never, ever use the third row, why should you pay for it?

Now you don’t have to. The VW Atlas Cross Sport is essentially a full size Atlas minus the third row and 3 inches of length.

What you get in the place of the extra seating is a subtle upgrade to the design, some new technology and more interior space: The Atlas Cross Sport has lots of leg room and lots of cargo space.

And, Cross Sport owners will be the first to experience the design and technology upgrades that eventually will make their way to VW’s other models.

Related: Why we love (and you will too) the VW Atlas

Vw Atlas Cross Sport

The VW Atlas Cross Sport being introduced at the Chattanooga, TN assembly plant. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Cross Sport’s Distinctive Profile Sets it Apart

VW introduced the Atlas Cross Sport at its Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly plant in front of hundreds of plant team members, executives and state officials including the governor. Everyone cheered as the Cross Sport made its way from the line onto the factory floor and many got a first look at it.

And what they saw was an SUV that hints at the family DNA, which includes Audi. It has tones of the Audi Q5. But it’s also distinctly Atlas and distinctly Cross Sport. Rather just adding the Atlas lift gate to the Cross Sport, VW’s designers angled it for a sporty look. The roof line slopes back and down toward the lift gate, and the gate has a more pronounced look. It keeps the Cross Sport from being too boxy, as a smaller SUV should.

Related: 7 passenger SUVs that are as perfect for they school carpool lane as they are for date night

Vw Atlas Cross Sport

The VW Atlas Cross Sport side badge. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What they didn’t give the new lift gate is a distinct Cross Sport badge. You will be forgiven for not knowing which is which—the regular Atlas or the Cross Sport— on first glance. In fact, the only distinct Cross Sport marker is the chrome badge that bridges the front side panels with the front doors. It’s elegant and it’s subtle but it takes some looking for.

Related: We wanted these VW busses as soon as we saw them

Vw Atlas Cross Sport

The VW Atlas Cross Sport steering wheel sports the new VW logo. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Another New Design First: the New VW Logo

Yes! Volkswagen revealed a new corporate logo recently. It is slimmer and sportier and it graces the new Atlas Cross Sport. You’ll see it on the front and rear logo badge and embedded in the steering wheel. It, too, is elegant and subtle and adds to the elegant feel of the front cabin.

Related: How the VWTiguan compares to the Atlas

Vw Atlas Cross Sport

A look at the front seat of the VW Atlas Cross Sport. Photo: Scotty Reiss

New Technology Graces the Atlas Cross Sport

As Volkswagen continues the march toward autonomous driving—as all automakers do— they will continue to roll out iterations of driver assist features that will do just a bit more of the work for you. In the Atlas Cross Sport VW introduced Traffic Jam Assist. This lets the adaptive cruise control take over at low speeds when normally some systems will shut off and require the driver to take over. And what’s the point of semi-autonomous technology if it won’t take over the un-fun jobs?

Vw Atlas Cross Sport

The rear cargo area is huge in the Atlas Cross Sport. Photo: Scotty Reiss

And, in the Cross Sport VW introduces road sign reading technology. We didn’t get to see this in action, but essentially, this system reads the road signs and displays them either on the driver information screen or the infotainment screen or both. And it ROCKS. You always know what the the speed limit is and that is priceless.

Vw Atlas Cross Sport

A look at the back end of the W Atlas Cross Sport. Photo: Scotty Reiss

There will be two engine options—a 4 cylinder turbo with 235 horsepower and a V6 with 276 horsepower. Added to the Atlas’s all wheel drive system, either ensures capable passing and  towing power. The Cross Sport will make its debut in the spring of 2020 and is expected to be priced somewhere in the $30,000 range. And we can’t wait. The Atlas was such a fresh and welcome addition to the VW family, designed and built for how we drive and how we live. We can’t wait to welcome its sleeker, sportier, sister.

Disclosure: I was VW’s guest for this introduction; travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.

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