Concept to Production
Eighteen months ago, Volkswagen introduced the Atlas Cross Sport Concept at the New York Auto Show, and now the company follows through on its promise to bring this sleek SUV into production. Exhibiting many of the styling cues seen on that original concept, the all-new 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport debuted today in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the assembly plant where it will be built.
Based on the 7-passenger Atlas, the Cross Sport has the same wheelbase as its sibling; however, the vehicle is 2.8 inches shorter and 2.3 inches lower. But with seating for five rather than seven, the new Atlas Cross Sport is able to provide a roomier passenger experience and more extensive cargo space. Specifically, that means more than 40 inches of rear-seat legroom, as well as room for more than 40 cubic feet of stuff behind the second row — 77.8 cubic feet with the seats folded flat, to be exact.
Growing 5-Passenger Segment
“Building off the success of the Atlas seven-seater midsize SUV, we see an opportunity for a five-seater model that offers even more style and almost as much interior space,” said Scott Keogh, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “We look forward to entering this growing segment with the Atlas Cross Sport, which offers outstanding Volkswagen technology, driver-assist features, style, and value,” Keogh noted.
While the resemblance to the Atlas is clear, the Cross Sport does have its own distinctive styling. Up front sits a three-bar chrome grille, a new front bumper and sculpted hood — all designed to give this new crossover a more aggressive stance. New headlights provide a distinctive look for the latest SUV from VW.
Where the Atlas features classic SUV lines, the new Atlas Cross Sport gets sleeker styling with a steeply raked rear pillar and rear window. Chrome accents on the windows, lower body sides and rear bumper help the new crossover stand out. Some may refer to this as coupelike styling, and we thank VW for not calling this an SUV Coupe, which to us seems like a contradiction in terms.
Volkswagen will offer the Atlas Cross Sport with a sporty R Line treatment, which gets a more sculpted bumper, chrome and piano-black trim and available 21-inch wheels.
Two engine options will be available for the Atlas Cross Sport: a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 235 horsepower, and a V6 rated at 276 horsepower. Both engines are teamed with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system is available with either powertrain.
In the cabin, the new Atlas Cross Sport has an updated steering wheel design and a range of new available features that include wireless phone charging, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats and a Fender premium audio system with 12 speakers. The top-level SEL trims are also available with Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit, which allows drivers to configure the information presented in the instrument cluster to suit their personal tastes and needs.
Even the base-level Atlas Cross Sport gets advanced safety technology that includes forward collision warning with autonomous braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Also available on higher trims is adaptive cruise control with stop and go, and park distance control.
Traffic Jam Assist
Volkswagen will also offer the Atlas Cross Sport with Traffic Jam Assist. Using the front camera and radar sensors, TJA maintains the distance to the car in front as well as keep the new SUV in its lane. The system operates at speeds up to 37 mph and will bring the vehicle to a full stop as needed. If the car in front moves off in less than 3 seconds, the Atlas Cross Sport will continue to move with the flow of traffic. After 3 seconds the driver needs to touch the gas pedal to re-engage the system.
Volkswagen will offer the Atlas Cross Sport with a suite of connected features called Volkswagen Car Net. Not to be confused with Sky Net that fictionally destroyed almost all of mankind, Car Net is based on a mobile app that provides remote connectivity to the vehicle. This allows an owner to remotely start or stop the vehicle, check fuel levels, find the last parked location and a range of other tasks. Car Net also allows internet access for four connected devices at the same time at 4G LTE speeds.
Investment in Chattanooga
Volkswagen made a $340 million investment in its Chattanooga Assembly plant to add production of the Atlas Cross Sport, which will be built alongside the Atlas and Passat. The company plans to invest an additional $800 million in the plant for future production of electric vehicles.
Coming Next Spring
The Atlas Cross Sport will be available in eight trims ranging from the base-level S to the top-of-the-line SEL Premium R-Line. Pricing is expected to be released closer to the on-sale date, which is set for spring 2020.