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Car Review

Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport (US) review

Published: 27 May 2024
Chunky Atlas Cross Sport is an comfortable cruiser but lacks a character of its own

Good stuff

Spacious interior, expensive materials

Bad stuff

Can get expensive, really quite sluggish


What is it?

Howdy partner, it’s the facelifted Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport. Now, the Cross Sport is essentially the coupe-ified, five-seat version of the monstrous seven-seat Atlas SUV. Although this is North American spec SUVs we’re talking about, so it’s actually described as midsize. 

The Atlas Cross Sport was first unveiled back in late 2019, but it’s been given a thorough refresh for the 2024 model year with a fresh front end, new lighting, more tech and a fancier interior. 

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It looks pretty cool actually…

Yeah, we’re fans of the styling too. The Atlas Cross Sport pairs chunky arches and a bluff front end with a low and sloping roofline. There’s a newly extended rear spoiler and more aggressive diffuser out back, plus all-new wheel designs (from 18- to 21-inches) for the 2024 update. 

LED lights are standard all round, and on all but the entry-level trim you get a full width lightbar across the front of the car with an illuminated VW logo. There’s a hefty lightbar across the rear too, as well as a chrome strip with Atlas branding and another illuminated logo. There’ll be no missing who makes the Atlas Cross Sport when it rolls by at night.

Worth noting here that – as with other VW products – R-Line trim brings slightly sportier styling with more body colour on the bumpers and redesigned air intakes up front.

In terms of dimensions, the Atlas Cross Sport is 195.6 inches long, 78.3 inches wide and 68.1 inches tall, making it 5.2 inches shorter in length than the full-size Atlas.

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What engines can I have? 

It’s engine (singular) these days, because VW has used the Atlas Cross Sport’s facelift to axe the VR6 option, meaning you can now only spec the 2.0-liter EA888 turbocharged four-cylinder with an eight-speed auto gearbox. Luckily that engine has been provided with a boot up its posterior, with VW managing to extract 269 horsepower and 273lb ft of torque; up 34hp and 15lb ft on the previous generation. 

Can it tow?

Great question. The entry-level SE trim can only tow 2,000lbs, but every other Atlas Cross Sport now gets a towing capacity of 5,000lbs with a braked trailer, and a trailer hitch is fitted as standard. All trim levels also get the option of 4Motion all-wheel drive.

What do you get on the inside?

Volkswagen itself describes the inside of the Atlas Cross Sport as “clean and functional, with a premium feel.”

For full info click through to the Interior tab of this review, but the headline is – you guessed it – the interior has been updated for the facelift. So, you get new materials, a smarter design and a 10.25-inch digital dial display paired with a 12-inch infotainment screen.  

How much does it cost?

Prices in the US start at $36,985 for the entry-level SE trim, rising to $51,880 before options for the top-spec SEL Premium R-Line. Click through to the Buying tab for more.

Anything else I need to know?

Want to reel off a few facts next time you and your partner run out of things to talk about? The Atlas Cross Sport is yet another car built on the Volkswagen Group’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) platform, and it’s put together in Chattanooga, Tennessee. You’re welcome.

What's the verdict?

The Atlas Cross Sport is a very competent two-row family SUV, but... it really does lack character

The Atlas Cross Sport is a very competent two-row family SUV, but it can get quite expensive as you step up the trim levels and it really does lack character. Perhaps that’s because it’s based on VW’s MQB platform and as such doesn’t even stand out in a crowd of its own siblings, let alone in a group of rivals. 

It’s also now four-cylinder only, and as good as that EA888 engine usually is, here it feels a little weedy and underpowered. The Atlas Cross Sport is not a quick car. It might be perfectly comfortable in everyday use, but that doesn’t really give you anything to shout about, does it?

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