Between family, work and travel, I need a car that can multitask like I do.
My first car was a 1980 VW Rabbit, so I’ve always had a soft spot for VW vehicles. All my friends and I would load in it and head to the mall after school. As I became a mom and built a business, I needed a car that I could load full of stuff and drive to a lot of places with it. The Rabbit, no matter how much I loved it, just wouldn’t cut it. It would have been nice to have the room in the VW Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport.
Note: This post is part of The New Now: Live Your Best Life conference sponsored in part by Volkswagen. You’re invited to join the conference, which is free and open to all. Register by clicking the link above and keep reading for more details!
Big, Bold, And Beautiful
VW Atlas was launched in 2017 for the 2018 model year and was a departure for VW (keep reading for more on this). The design is big, bold, and beautiful. The Atlas has 3 rows and seats 7; the Atlas Cross Sport seats 5. And for 2020 the Cross Sport and the 2021 Atlas both have a defining look with the new slimmer VW logo and a the sleek connection of the headlights to the grill. The ambient lighting inside gives you a lounge feel and the Fender speakers on the SEL premium are some of the best in the industry.
German Designed but American Bred
The design of these SUVs is done in Germany, but the details came together at VW’s North American HQ in Chattanooga, TN. That’s because this is a critical car for VW: with the rising sales of SUVs and family vehicles, the brand needed to be able to compete–despite being the largest automaker in the world.
So, the German leadership gave American leaders the job of figuring out how to make the VW Atlas a winning vehicle in the competitive but lucrative SUV market. The American team incorporated things like a sliding second row with tilting seats that can move forward even with a child car seat installed. They made the second row wide enough to install three child car seats.They added ample third row head and leg room, captains chair options for the second row and leatherette seating even in the lower price range. They designed it for driving on American roads, adding comfort for both stop and go traffic and a suspension system that keeps the Atlas steady on winding, hilly roads so rear seat passengers don’t get car sick. And, they built it at the assembly plant in Chattanooga, where VW produces the Passat and where the company will also begin manufacturing electric cars in 2022.
The 2020 VW Atlas Cross Sport: A Large, Sporty SUV
Taking a cue from Atlas and understanding that not everyone wants a 3-row SUV, this vehicle is all about personality. With its bold design, intuitive technology, and comfort features, this is the perfect vehicle for the family with one or two kids, fur mommies and daddies and empty nesters. The bold design includes bolder angles that create a more striking silhouette, and bold new interior colors like cinnamon/black and burgundy/black. A panoramic sunroof is available in the SEL model and above. And, the Cross Sport incorporates some great new features like traffic jam assist and road sign display that also are added to the Atlas for 2021.
The 2021 Atlas: This Family SUV Gets Better
Atlas is a people mover. It has 7 seats, an easy entry 3rd row, and a huge cargo passenger space. The original Atlas is a gem, so it’s hard to imagine how it could get better, but it does. In addition to the new look on the front, updates to the model include traffic jam assist, essentially adaptive cruise the operates at slow, low, or no speed in stop and go traffic; dynamic road sign display which reads the signs on the road and displays them on the driver instrument cluster and/or the navigation screen. There’s also a wireless phone charge option, a built in WiFi hotspot and owners – even in the base model– can use the Car-Net app to remote lock, unlock and start the car. This is great when the weather is less than ideal.
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We just took a test drive in this brand new full size 5 passenger #SUV and among the things we loved? It can actually park itself. Just push the park assist button, control braking and let it do the rest. We put it to the test in snowy #Whistler and this is how it handled the job. #Volkswagen #CrossSport #VWAtlas #Canada #BritishColumbia #WhistlerBC #winterdriving #SUVlife #drivelikeagirl #shedrives #agirlsguidetocars #wcoty #worldcar #worldcarawards
Great Safety Features For Extra Safety on the Road
Making safety features standard is another important feature in the VW Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport. These include blind spot monitors with the light in the side mirrors, front braking assist, which can anticipate a front impact and prepare the car for minimal impact, adaptive cruise control and rear traffic alert. Lane assist, traffic jam assist and road sign display are offered on the SEL and Premium models. Move up to the Premium model and you also get a 360-surround view camera, Park Assist automatic parking and standard AWD.
The difference between adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assist is that the adaptive cruise control works from 37 mph and up. It follows the car in front of you and helps you keep a steady speed and stay in your lane. Traffic Jam assist starts at a lower speed and does all the work for the stop and go traffic.
What do the Cross Sport and Atlas Cost?
As for price, there isn’t much difference. The upgraded feature options are also about the same with the price staying consistent all the way up to premium. They are both about the same width, but with the Atlas you have more seating and with the Cross Sport you have more leg room in the second row. You can fit 2 car seats in the Cross Sport with the 2 mounting attachments in the backseat (the Atlas as 3 mounting attachments across the center rear seats).
Both the 2021 Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport have great standard features built in, along with 4 different optional package upgrades to choose from. With a starting price of $30,545 for the Atlas Cross Sport and a starting price of $31,545 for the Atlas, there are 5 different model options; buyers can add a panoramic sun roof and in the Atlas, center row captains chairs. And, buyers can upgrade to a V6 in the SE and above for an additional $1,400.
More Features, Both Standard and Optional
One feature, whether you love it or hate it, is the auto start/stop. I am not a fan of this feature, but I understand the reason it exists. It is meant to help safe fuel by shutting off the engine when you don’t need it, such as idling at a traffic light or sitting in the school pick up lane. But, you can turn it off each time you get in the vehicle.
Another popular feature is push-button start, available in SE models and above. Probably one of the most popular features is the Digital Cockpit, a digital display that you can customize. It is available on the SEL and Premium trims. Park assist is also available on Premium, the highest trim package.
- Park Assist will park the car for you; just when you press the button and the vehicle will prompt you to parallel park, reverse park, and forward park. You still control the brake and speed, but the vehicle does the rest of the work. It uses the proximity sensors to do this and will prompt you to switch gears.
- Digital Cockpit is a 10” driver information cscreen in front of the steering wheel. You can toggle through the menus using buttons on the steering wheel to choose what you want to see, like mileage, fuel efficiency, speed, speed limit, and navigation, along with other options.
- Adaptive Cruise is automatic just by pushing a button to set your speed; the system follows traffic and adjusts your speed when traffic slows.
- HVAC controls in the back seat let passengers set their own comfort level.
What is missing? There is no built-in entertainment, and that is by design. VW included holders for tablets because but these days most people bring their own laptops, iPad, tablets and games. With onboard Wi-Fi (Verizon is the service provider) is fed into the car via the roof top antenna and is typically a better signal than the one generated by a cell phone.
Room for People and Stuff
There is a lot of interior storage in both vehicles. Seat back pockets, storage on the sides of the doors and under the cargo floor. Owners can buy accessories to secure items under the floor, and there’s a space that will fit the cargo cover so you can store it under the cargo floor when you don’t need it to cover up your Costco haul. For times when you need more flexible cargo space, the second row of the Atlas and Atlas CrossSport is a 60/40 split so you can accommodate both people and cargo; the third row in the Atlas is a 50/50 split fold.
And, Room For Life
When it comest to my car, it’s hard to tell what I’ll need and when. For me, that’s meant an SUV in the driveway that can haul my storage bins for work, take my son and his friends to the movies (in normal times) and is road-trip ready when we just need to get away. And that can grow with me.
The New Now: Live Your Best Life is free and open to all, and the first 200 attendees to join the full event will receive a special gift in the mail from VW and A Girls Guide to Cars. Register here: bit.ly/driveyourbestlife and join the fun on social media by following these hashtags: #DriveYourBestLife #DriveVWAtlas