2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Review, Pricing, and Specs

Overview

Based on the boxy Atlas, the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport adopts a more rakish design but loses the third row of seats in the process. Other than that, the Cross Sport is nearly identical to its brother. Even the powertrain options are the same: A 235-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter is standard, and a 276-hp 3.6-liter V-6 is optional. Both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and can be had with either front- or all-wheel drive. Despite the lower roofline and abbreviated rear end, the Atlas Cross Sport offers plenty of space for both passengers and cargo. But while the Atlas Cross Sport is a nicely packaged mid-size SUV, we find that rivals such as the Honda Passport and Jeep Grand Cherokee offer more appeal.

What’s New for 2021?

Volkswagen’s mid-size two-row SUV sees no significant changes for 2021.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

    We’d spec the SE model and tack on the optional Technology package, which includes automatic climate control, faux-leather upholstery, passive entry, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen. We’d also opt for the V-6 over the standard turbocharged four-cylinder. That adds $1400 to the price. And we’d probably choose the $1900 all-wheel-drive system. Shoppers who plan on pulling anything with the Atlas Cross Sport will want to get the V-6 Towing package, too.

    Engine, Transmission, and Performance

    Of the two powertrains offered, we’ve tested only the 3.6-liter V-6 with front-wheel drive. Delivering a 7.5-second 60-mph time, it proved to be slightly quicker than a similarly equipped three-row Atlas. While we haven’t tested the 235-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, that powertrain pushed the three-row VW to 60 in 7.1 seconds. During our test drive, we found the Cross Sport lacks the sporty driving dynamics that its fastback rear end would suggest. The ride quality is less refined than expected, too, with the wheels pounding over every imperfection and pothole they cross.

    Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

    The four-cylinder Atlas Cross Sport comes with EPA fuel-economy ratings of 21 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined for the front-wheel-drive model and 18, 23, and 20 mpg, respectively, for the all-wheel-drive version. The V-6 is thirstier, with ratings of 17 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, and 19 mpg combined for the front-driver. The all-wheel-drive model with the six-cylinder returns the same combined rating but drops to 16 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway. On our 200-mile highway loop, the front-drive V-6 Atlas Cross Sport averaged 25 mpg, nearly 10 percent better than what the EPA suggests.

    Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

    Those familiar with the three-row VW will find the Atlas Cross Sport’s interior quite familiar, despite an updated steering wheel and stitched door panels. Adults should find comfortable seating positions in either of the SUV’s available rows of seats, but unlike the regular Atlas, the Cross Sport offers only a bench for its second row. We have yet to see how many carry-on suitcases will fit in the cargo hold, but we expect the Cross Sport to offer similar cargo space to the Ford Edge and the Hyundai Santa Fe.

    Infotainment and Connectivity

    All Atlas Cross Sports come with a touchscreen infotainment display providing both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Navigation is optional, as is a reconfigurable gauge display and SiriusXM satellite radio. VW’s Car-Net connectivity app allows for remote starting and analytics. Plus, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot lets occupants remain connected to the internet while on the go.

    Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

    Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have released crash-test results for the Atlas Cross Sport. For what it’s worth, the Atlas three-row SUV received decent marks from both agencies. Volkswagen is equipping all Atlas Cross Sports with automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring, but if you want more advanced driver-assistance features, you’ll have to go with one of the higher trim levels. Key safety features include:

    • Standard automated emergency braking with forward-collision warning
    • Standard blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross-traffic alert
    • Available adaptive cruise control with a semi-autonomous driving mode

      Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

      While most mainstream brands start with a three-year/36,000-mile warranty, Volkswagen offers a four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper policy. The powertrain warranty falls behind others, which stretch to five or even 10 years. As some consolation, VW covers the first two years of scheduled maintenance.

      • Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
      • Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
      • Complimentary maintenance is covered for two years or 20,000 miles

        Specifications

        Specifications

        2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport SE

        VEHICLE TYPE

        front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback

        PRICE AS TESTED

        $40,710 (base price: $39,765)

        ENGINE TYPE

        DOHC 24-valve V-6, iron block and aluminum head, direct fuel injection
        Displacement

        220 in3, 3598 cm3
        Power

        276 hp @ 6200 rpm
        Torque

        266 lb-ft @ 2750 rpm

        TRANSMISSION

        8-speed automatic

        CHASSIS

        Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink

        Brakes (F/R): 13.2-in vented disc/12.2-in disc

        Tires: Goodyear Assurance Finesse, 255/50R-20 105T M+S

        DIMENSIONS

        Wheelbase: 117.3 in

        Length: 195.5 in

        Width: 78.3 in

        Height: 67.8 in

        Passenger volume: 112 ft3

        Cargo volume: 40 ft3

        Curb weight: 4285 lb

        C/D TEST RESULTS

        60 mph: 7.5 sec

        100 mph: 19.3 sec

        110 mph: 24.4 sec

        Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 7.6 sec

        Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.9 sec

        Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.9 sec

        1/4 mile: 15.7 sec @ 90 mph

        Top speed (governor limited): 116 mph

        Braking, 70–0 mph: 175 ft

        Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.82 g
        Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.

        C/D FUEL ECONOMY

        Observed: 21 mpg

        75-mph highway driving: 25 mpg

        Highway range: 460 miles

        EPA FUEL ECONOMY

        Combined/city/highway: 19/17/23 mpg

        More Features and Specs

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