Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but since I had the privilege of testing Volkswagen’s 4Motion (AWD) Atlas Cross Sport SEL Premium R-Line, I’ve been seeing a lot of new Atlas’s on area roadways. Seems folks discovered the fine attributes of this attractive SUV.
For starters, Atlas Cross Sport R-Line has a suave, conservative yet sporty look with its sloping roofline and R-Line trim package that boasts a black-accented grille, stainless steel pedal caps and other special trim items for an extra touch of sporty toughness.
Atlas Cross Sport differs from the standard Atlas that we previously reviewed in 2021, as it doesn’t have a third-row seat. The Sport model is for folks who don’t need the extra seating. It’s also a bit longer (196 vs. 185 inches) when compared to VW’s Tiguan compact SUV, so it can be considered a midsize in comparison.
Atlas Cross Sport is offered in S, SE, SE w/Technology, SE w/Technology R Line, SEL, SEL R Line, SEL Premium and SEL Premium R Line we tested.
As Atlas Cross Sports’ exterior is conservative and sporty, so is its interior. A low 19-inch step-in settles you into comfy and supportive heated/cooled leather front seats where you’ll notice a racy flat-bottom steering wheel, a 10.25-inch touchscreen that serves a host of functions that includes a Fender audio system, rearview camera with overhead view, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, MirrorLink, Wi-Fi with App Connect, Park Assist and more.
Traditional HVAC controls are large and easy to view and use with selections displayable and selectable on the screen. Below them is a wireless smartphone charger.
The console houses a burly gear selector that controls the 8-speed automatic transmission that I’m a bit surprised, didn’t include paddle shifters. The shifter shares the console with the dual-function drive mode switch. By pressing the middle section of the rotary switch, it offers Eco, Normal, Sport and Custom modes. Rotate the outer ring switch for Snow, Normal, Off-Road Auto, and Off-Road Custom modes.
Atlas Cross Sport comes with Park Assist (parking steering assist) w/front-rear park distance control, hill hold/descent control, sunroof and more.
Over on the large digital gauge cluster, it contains a driver information display for alerts, features, functions and other operating information.
Heated back seats offer decent leg and head room and thanks to a low-profile transaxle hump, a short-legged person can be comfortably seated in the middle seat in three abreast fashion.
As for cargo space with a hands-free liftgate, and with the rear seats upright, there’s 40.3 cubic feet of space measuring 46.5 inches deep, 47 wide and 29 high. Flip the seatbacks and capacity expands to 77.8 cubic feet for 77 inches of loading depth.
While two powertrains are offered, the Atlas Cross Premium R Line comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that generates 276-hp and 268 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 18 city, 24-highway mpg with engine start/stop technology. Coupled to the 8-speed trans, the V6 moves this 4,449-pound SUV with ease. It’s no speedster, but who needs to go from one stop light to another in 3 seconds?
As for ride and handling and shod with 9-inch wide, 21-inch tall premium Pirelli tires with coil springs in back, Atlas’ ride is smooth, exceptionally quiet, planted in tight turns and parks easily with its 40.52 foot turning diameter.
With an exhaustive list of standard items that includes lane assist/keep assist, emergency medical assist, forward collision warning w/autonomous emergency braking w/pedestrian monitoring, blind spot monitor, rear traffic alert and rain sensing wipers to list a few, there was but one extra cost item and that being red Aurora metallic paint ($395) that took the base price of $49,945 to $51, 535 with delivery.
To its credit, Atlas came with impressive government 5-star safety ratings of a full five overall stars; four for driver/passenger frontal crash; five for front/rear seat side crash and four for rollover.
Volkswagen’s top line Atlas Cross deserves a serious look in comparison to the crowded field of SUVs offered today. It provides quality German engineering, Autobahn handling and top safety scores.