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Auto review: VW Atlas Cross Sport
offers fun on the curves
By Scott SturgiS
The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Cross Sport comes with a 2.0-liter four
standard, though, so this is a pricier model.

On the road: I had to visit Sturgis Grandma
1.0 up north and swap test vehicles while
I was there. It worked out well, because
I got to try the Atlas up and the Tacoma
pickup on the way back, and that sealed
This week: VW Atlas Cross Sport
my impression of just how nice the
Price: $51,210. Red paint, $395. Everything Atlas rode.
else noted is standard with the trim level.
Even compared to the 4Runner, the Atlas
definitely wins the handling portion of our
(This is $20,000 more than a base Atlas
contest, if you’re looking for an SUV that
Cross Sport, which must be a drastically
has fun on the slalom. It takes on country
different vehicle.)
roads _ we rode up to Hawk Mountain _
Marketer’s pitch: “The bold SUV.”
with great agility, and puts a little butterfly
Conventional wisdom: Car and Driver
in the pit of your stomach. It feels like a
likes the “stylish appearance, spacious
big-boy version of the Golf R-Line. And
interior, abundant cargo space,” but not the I didn’t feel the rough ride that the soft
“below-par ride quality, thirsty powertrains, touches at Car and Driver experienced.
shorter warranty than main rivals.”
Shifty: The 8-speed TipTronic automatic
follows Volkswagen’s standard pattern _
Reality: For fun in the streets.
pull the shifter downward to employ Sport
The comparison: Let’s say you have around mode or regular Drive mode, or push it to
50 grand to blow on an SUV, and you
the right for shift capability. All the settings
can’t decide whether you want something work well; Sport mode took a little getting
sportily rugged or just plain sporty.
used to before I could keep the Atlas from
Two wildly different paths could be the
peeling out at full bore, but we found a way
Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport R-Line and
to work together after a week.
the Toyota 4Runner.
Shifting is OK, but the gearshift requires a
What’s new: A five-seater version of VW’s
lot of force. Steering wheel triggers would
largest SUV, the roofline rakes down in the make the experience much nicer.
rear a little more than the Atlas.
Driver’s Seat: The Titan Black and Quartile
Up to speed: Thanks to the 3.6-liter V-6’s
Leather interior offers the comfort that
276 horsepower, the Atlas gets to 60 mph
higher-end Volkswagens are known for
in 8.4 seconds, according to Motor Week.
(and even more basic VWs are nicely done
Car and Driver estimates it would be
as well). There’s enough support in the seat
under 8 seconds, based on its test of the
and plenty of comfort as well; it almost
makes the Volkswagens nicer than more
larger Atlas.
2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport SEL
Premium V-6 R-Line vs. 2020 Toyota
4Runner 4x4 Nightshade V6: A 50-grand
trail competition

upscale Audis, which I find hard and a little
painful. The wide body seats add to the
comfort as well.
The gauges and controls are thoughtful
_ easy to read and follow, and the design
geek in me loves the VW typeface.
Volkswagen really offers a nice setup
throughout its lineup of cars.
Friends and stuff: While a third row comes
in most Atlases, the Cross Sport stops at
two. That means the rear-seat passengers
get the limousine treatment _ seriously,
Mr. Driver’s Seat can cross his ankles
comfortably back there _ while cargo
space is cavernous as well. The rear seat
itself is a little too flat and hard, though,
to be comfortable. I’m reminded of the
Microbus.
But for unMicrobusness, the rear
passengers can get their tushies warmed,
and not just by the engine exhaust.
Cargo capacity is 77.8 cubic feet with the
seat folded, and whopping 40.3 with the
rear seat up.
Play some tunes: The Fender Premium
Audio System delivers some of the clearest
sound I’ve heard recently, an A.

Controls are simple as well, with dials
for volume and tuning. More advanced
sound controls are fairly deeply nested
but getting there is not too difficult. The
8-inch touchscreen seems smaller than it
is. Attractive ebony buttons around the side
get users from place to place.
Keeping warm and cool: A pair of dials
control the temperature and another
maintains the fan speed. Buttons control
the source of the air.
Seats and heated and cooled with buttons
underneath the HVAC controls.
Fuel economy: I averaged a sad 14
mpg in a close-to-home set of drives on
mostly country roads. This went up to 17
mpg after some time riding through the
countryside to Hawk Mountain. Feed the
Atlas whatever in the V-6 (the four takes
premium).
Where it’s built: Chattanooga, Tennessee.
How it’s built: Consumer Reports predicts
the Cross Sport reliability to be a 1 out of 5.

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