The 2020 VW Atlas Cross Sport, a more athletic and stylish version of the current Atlas, is ready to go for the new model year. VW’s five-seater boasts generous interior space, a slick design, modern connectivity, and new driver-assistance features. And best of all, it starts at less than $31,000.
Atlas. There’s a good name for an SUV. It comes across as strong, capable, broad-shouldered, and manly without being misogynistic. So kudos to the folks at Volkswagen’s marketing department. And, even though the 2020 VW Atlas Cross Sport is not extra huge, like its seven-seat brother (the regular Atlas), it will be big enough for most people most of the time.
On top of that, as feature laden at the Atlas already is, the Cross Sport has more than enough comfort, convenience, and connectivity features.
The 2020 VW Atlas Cross Sport is available in eight trim levels and comes with two drivetrain options. The first is a 2.0-liter turbo TSI engine with 235 horsepower and direct injection. The other engine option is a 276-horsepower V6, and, yeah, sounds like a better choice for us gearheads. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, carrying on the current SUV trend of auto-boxes with many, many gears inside them.
Is The VW Atlas Cross Sport All-Wheel Drive?
The Atlas Cross Sport is available with Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system. Even though the 2.0-liter/4Motion combo is new this year, it’s available on all eight trim levels. Thanks for giving buyers the options VW!
Exterior Design: Coupe-Like Stance
The exterior gets some freshening here and there to set it apart from the Atlas seven-seater. The Cross Sport front end features a three-bar chrome grille with a new light signature running the length of the middle bar. VW says this is “upscale” but I’ll leave that up to you. The last roof pillar is also “dramatically” raked; VW’s words, but I’m not going to argue with them much.
That also means the rear hatch leans forward giving a coupe-like profile to the Atlas Cross Sport. I know, this is an odd feature to many Americans, but Europeans have a real love for these SUVs that look like big coupes or something coupe-like. Other styling goodies are the available 21-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and the sculpted rear bumper to emphasize the Atlas Cross Sport’s aggressive stance.
Interior Themes: Plenty of Space
The Cross Sport is 2.8 inches shorter and 2.3 inches lower than the current Atlas, despite having the same 117.3-inch wheelbase. Although the interior of the Atlas Cross Sport still provides ample legroom and cargo space. Measurements come in at 111.8 cubic feet of passenger space; 40.4 inches of rear-seat legroom; 40.3 cubic feet of luggage space behind the second-row seats; and 77.8 cubic feet with the second row folded.
The interior is, of course, thoroughly modern with connectivity and driver-assistance features. All trim levels come standard with VW’s Car-Net telematics system and have on-board Wi-Fi. There’s also Traffic Jam Assist and Dynamic Road Sign Display. Finally, the steering wheel has been redesigned and there are available two-tone inserts with stitching accents on the door panels, which look nice.
2020 VW Atlas Cross Sport: Trim Levels
Now, about those trim levels, there are eight: S, SE, SE with Technology, SE with Technology R-Line, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL Premium, and SEL Premium R-Line. However, a few trim levels will have late availability: SE with Tech R-Line, SEL R-Line, and the SEL Premium R-Line. Destination fee on all models is $1,020.
Starting at $30,545, the Atlas Cross Sport S has the turbo 2.0-liter four-banger and cloth seats. You’ll spend about two grand more for the S 4Motion. The Cross Sport S comes with 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels; silver roof rails; LED headlights; Daytime Running Lights and taillights; automatic headlights; and rain-sensing wipers.
Inside, there’s a 6.5-inch, MIB II Composition Color touchscreen with App-Connect, two USB-C ports, and Bluetooth connectivity. There’s also a rearview camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and blind-spot monitoring.
The SE goes for $33,945 in front-wheel drive; $35,845 with 4Motion. It boasts 18-inch machined wheels, keyless entry, heated side mirrors, power liftgate, and leatherette seating surfaces. Things should be comfortable enough with the 10-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
The Composition Media infotainment system comes with a bigger eight-inch touchscreen, SiriusXM radio, HD Radio, and Voice Control. There are also two second-row USB ports, plus one more in the center console.
Moving up we come to the SE with Technology. This trim starts at $35,945 for the four-cylinder front-wheel drive, and $37,345 for the V6. Opting for the 4Motion package will run you an additional $1,900. SE with Technology goodies include 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, power liftgate, remote start, and a 115-volt power outlet in the second row. There’s front and rear Park Distance Control and Automatic Cruise Control with Stop and Go standard.
SE with Technology R-Line
The SE with Technology R-Line gets you more stuff for slightly more money: $37,345 for the four-cylinder front-wheel drive, and $38,745 for the V6. Add another $1,900 for the 4Motion models. Standard R-Line features include 20-inch five-spoke alloy wheels in dark graphite, black accented R-Line bumpers, signature R-Line badging, and stainless-steel pedal caps.
The SEL will run you $39,545 for the four-cylinder front-wheel drive, and $41,345 for the V6. And, what a surprise, 4Motion will add $1,900 to the bill. With the SEL, you get all the SE features plus LED headlights with an Adaptive Front-lighting System; full chrome window surround; heated washer nozzles; heated steering wheel; memory function for the driver’s seat and exterior mirrors; and an eight-way power passenger seat.
The Discover Media infotainment system with navigation is also in the SEL package, along with a panoramic sunroof and a V6 Towing Package. Lane Assist, Light Assist, Traffic Jam Assist, and Dynamic Road Sign Display round out the standard driver-assistance features.
The SEL R-Line adds 21-inch two-tone machined alloy wheels, black-accented R-line bumpers, signature R-Line badging, and stainless-steel pedal caps. Cost-wise, it’ll run you $41,245 for the four-cylinder front-wheel drive, and $43,045 for the optional V6. 4Motion all-wheel drive is yours for $1,900.
The penultimate Atlas Cross Sport SEL Premium adds 4Motion to the list of standard goodies, plus 20-inch machined wheels; power-folding mirrors; front door stitching accents; leather seats; ventilated front seats; and heated rear seats. There’s also a rear sunshade, Fender Premium Audio system, Park Assist, and the Area View camera. Pricing is $46,295 for the four-cylinder model, $48,095 for the V6.
SEL Premium R-Line
At the very top of the hill we find the SEL Premium R-Line. In addition to all the other stuff from the previous trim levels, the SEL Premium R-Line rides on 21-inch two-tone machined alloy wheels; black accented R-Line bumpers; signature R-Line badging; and stainless-steel pedal caps. This top-of-the-line Atlas Cross Sport starts at $47,995 for the four-cylinder and $49,795 for the V6.
There are only two options across the line: a V6 Towing Package ($550) and a Panoramic Sunroof Package ($1,200). If you opt for the towing package, it gives the Atlas Cross Sport a 5,000 lbs. towing capacity.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.