Tested: 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport is helping VW rapidly catch up in the ‘something for everyone’ crossover game.

 

First came the compact Tiguan and then the three-row Atlas, covering the small and large ends of the segment.  The latest entry, the Atlas Cross Sport slots in nicely between the two.

The Cross Sport is the result of some judicial surgery. Starting with the Atlas, the development team chopped 144-mm from the overall length, most of it from the ends.

By leaving the wheelbase (distance between front and rear wheels) untouched, they were able to drop the third row, but come up with an amazing amount of room for second row passengers and a gigantic cargo area.

They were also able to incorporate a sloping roofline and provide this Atlas with a much more pleasing profile than its squared-off larger sibling. It also benefits from a new redesign at the front.

2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport (Photo: Michael Doyle)

 

Space, space and more space!

In addition to the shapely new look, the second thing you’ll notice about the Cross Sport occurs when you open the rear doors or rear hatch – space – a lot of space for legs and cargo.

If your regular use involves people in the back seat the Cross Sport is worthy of serious consideration for that reason alone.

 

For another perspective on Volkswagen and its new 2020 Atlas Cross Sport, click here.

 

But there is a lot more going for it.

The driver faces a digital instrument display. The high-resolution, 31-cm wide screen can be customized to your personal preference.

There are digital displays for engine and road speed, navigation and other functions. The standard touchscreen infotainment screen allows both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

The layout of controls ergonomically excellent, both major and minor controls were where you’d expect to find them.

2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport (Photo: Volkswagen Group)

 

This is especially noticeable and appreciated when you change vehicles every week. That is not an issue for new owners who will gradually locate and become accustomed to the layout. But it does mean you can reach for and touch controls instinctively without taking your eyes off the road.

 

2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport offers pleasing interior, loads of standard safety and convenience features

Most vehicles from German car companies are dark inside with black the dominant colour. The interior of the test vehicle was clothed in a pleasant combination of cinnamon and black leather – attractive without being garish. Fit, finish and material quality are first rate.

The front seats are worthy of mention for being both comfortable and supportive over long periods of uninterrupted travel.

As mentioned above, those in the second row will appreciate the ability to stretch out and cross their legs, even if they are on the tall side.

2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport rear seat (Photo: Richard Russell)

 

The cargo space is equally impressive, able to gobble up many large items. The sloping roofline reduces how tall they can be, but anything of that height would block the rear window anyway.

Gargantuan cargo area in the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport (Photo: Richard Russell)

 

The standard equipment level is impressive, especially so on the Execline trim as tested. There is the usual array of power assists, blind spot monitoring, heated and ventilated front seats, dual zone climate control and big (20-inch) alloy wheels.

In addition, you get a park distance control aided by a multi-function set of cameras, heated steering wheel and washer nozzles, and power folding heated mirrors with memory and reverse tilt down. The Fender Audio system is a treat for those who appreciate a wide and even sound spectrum.

Also standard is adaptive cruise control with stop and go function. Unfortunately it allows speed to drop by as much as 10 km/hr on steep hills.

 

2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport: More styling, more space, less bulk

Power comes from a turbocharged four-cylinder or normally aspirated V6 engine. The Execline gets the six and it is a silent and silky-smooth partner for the eight-speed automatic transmission and 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.

Power is more than adequate, but not of the ‘push you into the seat’ variety. Throttle tip in from rest is super aggressive, but you become accustomed to it after a few starts. Fuel efficiency is not one of the strong points of this engine and two tonne vehicle combination, especially in the city.

But I did manage a 9.7 average on the highway.

The steering is light, but progressive and provides reasonable feedback. The suspension soaks up major road blemishes with ease. The low-profile tires keep you well aware of sharp surface changes.

The new VW Atlas Cross Sport offers more with less. More styling, second row and cargo space, combined with less bulk. A winning combination.

 

FACTS & FIGURES – 2020 VW Atlas Cross Sport Execline 3.6 4M

 

PRICE

Base: $54,495

As tested: $54,495 plus freight

 

SAFETY

Hill descent control, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking, dynamic headlights with cornering lights, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, LED headlights

 

INFOTAINMENT

Smartphone integration, 20-cm touchscreen, 115-volt outlet, satellite radio, satellite navigation, 12-speaker Fender premium audio system

 

MECHANICAL

3.6-litre V6, 276 horsepower, 266 lb.-ft. of torque, regular fuel. Eight-speed automatic transmission, 4Motion all-wheel drive. NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 14.3 / 10.7

 

DIMENSIONS

Length, 5,036 mm; width, 1,978 mm; wheelbase, 2,979 mm; weight, 1,944 kg

 

COMPETITION

Honda Passport, Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Murano, Toyota Highlander

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