By on February 12, 2021

2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

Several years ago now, I called the Volkswagen Atlas three-row “German comfort food.” It remains that – a boxy, slightly bland crossover that nonetheless does the basics well.

Enter the Cross Sport, which is supposed to liven things up, at least a little, by being lowered and shortened, while losing the weight that comes with the nip/tuck and the removal of the third row of seats (at least in theory. With all-wheel drive, the 2.0T is a skosh heavier than a four-cylinder, three-row Atlas. Generally, however, the two-row is lighter.). The front facelift that matches the larger Atlas is also meant to make things more interesting.

These changes only go so far. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Here we have a vehicle that is smaller but no less comfortable, and as you will see, that is just fine.

(Read More…)

By on March 6, 2020

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Refreshed for the 2021 model year, the successful Volkswagen Atlas doesn’t change what consumers already like — and part of that strategy means keep its entry price static. Donning a revamped front and rear fascia that mimics its slightly shorter two-row sibling, the Atlas Cross Sport, the midsize crossover again starts at $32,656 after destination.

That price gets you into a front-drive S powered by a carryover 2.0-liter turbo four. Should your wishes include all-wheel drive, expect to find a lot more choice. (Read More…)

By on March 4, 2020

 

2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

What happens to an OEM that may have been caught napping while its competitors race to fill every possible niche with crossovers?

It takes its three-row crossover, lops off the third row and some rear space, gives it a name that plays off the existing moniker, and puts it out there.

Hence we have the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, which shares its platform with the Atlas (the wheelbases are even the same) but loses about three inches of length and a bit more than two inches of height while offering seating for just five.

(Read More…)

By on February 6, 2020

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It’s no secret the Atlas is a massive sales and revenue driver for Volkswagen of America, yet time marches on. The model entered production in Chattanooga in 2017 after a debut at the 2016 LA Auto Show, meaning the midsize crossover is ripe for a mild makeover. With the model’s two-row Cross Sport sibling arriving this spring, Volkswagen desired a freshened Atlas line for 2021.

It’s a game of “spot the changes.” (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2020

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

The annual sales volumes of Volkswagen’s U.S. arm, if placed on a line graph, would resemble deep sea swells, rising and falling by significant amounts as the company reinvents itself again and again. Today, Volkswagen of America is an SUV-heavy automaker that really wants you to think about eco-conscious electric cars.

The utility vehicles are here. More are on the way, but so too are a selection of EVs. With 2019 sales now on the books, we can look at the current wave and speculate as to its final height. (Read More…)

By on December 11, 2019

Image: VW

Lusted after by no writer upon its debut, the intentionally inoffensive, strength-projecting Volkswagen Atlas did exactly what the automaker intended. It gave the brand a viable challenger in the midsize utility vehicle space, luring Americans into its Teutonic cabin and generating the margins necessary to help fund VW’s electric vehicle push.

The Atlas is a hit, and the coming year sees it undergo its first refresh. Details follow. (Read More…)

By on September 18, 2019

The 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport brings a rakish rear hatch to the refreshed Atlas line, but limits the midsize crossover’s seating configuration to five passengers. Once nestled inside VW’s upcoming Atlas variant, those five occupants will enjoy VW’s next generation Car-Net technology platform, while drivers can expect to be coddled by upgraded driver assistance technologies.

The Cross Sport applies an Audi Q7-esque not-a-coupe treatment that dials up the elegance, even when concealed by camouflage vinyl. If this is all it takes for buyers to feel like they’re avoiding the soccer parent image, then VW can expect to attract a style-sensitive buyer pool ready and willing to lose the small third-row seats. Even though the rear overhang is 5.7 inches shorter than the standard Atlas, it gains storage capacity in the transformation as a result of the removal of those rear seats. In its place is a flat load panel that covers a space-saver spare tire and optional Fender subwoofer. There’s actually a decent volume of unfinished storage capacity I’d expect many owners to find useful for infrequently used items. (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2019

Volkswagen will bring a modified version of the Atlas to the New York Auto Show this week, aimed to appeal to outdoorsy types. VW calls it the Atlas Basecamp Concept, claiming it offers “a go-anywhere attitude to the brand that is already synonymous with road-trip culture.”

That seems like a fair assessment. While the Atlas isn’t the most off-road-friendly vehicle on the market, it rides the line between everyday usefulness and being just capable enough to make it down a gently gnarled trail. Volkswagen is wisely trying to highlight the latter aspect without making outrageous claims about how it can tackle any terrain. It’s only supposed to get you to the base camp, hence its name. The peak is all you.  (Read More…)

By on October 20, 2018

2018 Volkswagen Atlas - Image: Volkswagen

The three-row Atlas was the midsize utility vehicle Volkswagen needed, but the model’s entry-level 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is apparently the engine Volkswagen doesn’t want.

For 2019, the Atlas seems some unusual rejigging occur at the bottom end of the trim ladder. Unless you’re totally stoked with the idea of having the least amount of power going to the fewest number of wheels, you’ll end up paying more. (Read More…)

By on September 5, 2018

2018 Volkswagen Atlas/Tiguan - Image: VW

The diesel emissions scandal that continues swirling around Volkswagen’s German workforce is merely a far-off cloud for the folks at Volkswagen of America. Sunny skies reign, thanks to a decision to go heavy into “Americanized” crossovers.

Sure, the Jetta and Golf families continued their downward trajectory, joined in the descent by VW’s Passat sedan, but those lost sales are more than made up for by two nameplates: Tiguan and Atlas. Break out the iced tea. (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2018

Regardless of where we think Volkswagen’s true strengths prevail, the company is dead set on electrification. Granted, much of this is the direct result of the diesel emissions fiasco. But it doesn’t appear to be solely interested in providing lip service to an angry public; it wants to build these cars and it really wants you to be excited about that.

The brand’s current lineup doesn’t include much in the way of electrics, e-Golf notwithstanding, but CEO Matthias Mueller has promised to unveil a new EV “virtually every month” as its multi-billion-dollar investments into new battery technologies and charging infrastructure begins to bear fruit. In the meantime, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing VW parade a steady stream of electric concept vehicles. Normally, these are part of Audi’s e-tron lineup or the VW’s new I.D. sub-brand. However, the electric push has started spilling over into the core brand, and the latest product is more than just a battery-driven green machine. It feels tangible, like it might be meant for everyone — not just EV enthusiasts.

Volkswagen’s Atlas is a relatively spacious three-row, midsize crossover — fairly fuel efficient for its size, but not a hoot to drive. VW wants to remedy this by hybridizing the MQB platform, chopping a row of seats, and adding a helping of power that won’t jack up your weekly fuel bill. More importantly, this two-row model seems to bridge the gap between practicality and fun.  (Read More…)

By on February 20, 2018

We all like comfort food. It’s not sexy, it may even be bland, but it keeps us feeling full and fulfilled. Meatloaf, a basic steak and potatoes, a hot turkey plate – all of these items serve that purpose.

I don’t know enough about German cuisine to guess what constitutes comfort food in Wolfsburg, and I don’t want to stereotype with guesses about spaetzle and schnitzel. Whatever passes for hale and hearty fare in Lower Saxony likely shares a lot with the feel of the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas.

Big, boxy, and brawny-looking, the blocky Atlas has one main mission – get up to seven folks from point A to B simply and comfortably. While there are plenty of modern features, that doesn’t mean there’s frills or design silliness, and while it offers enough power to do the job, it’s not precisely built for speed. (Read More…)

By on December 26, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Atlas/Tiguan - Image: VW

The first salvo in Volkswagen’s battle to win the hearts and cash of the American populace arrived in the form of two crossovers: the new full-size Atlas and the vastly updated (and enlarged) second-generation Tiguan.

Both models sport three rows of seating, a key strategy for expanding the brand’s sales volume and appeal. Phase Two of the company’s U.S. campaign, however, involves ripping those seats out. (Read More…)

By on October 13, 2017

Volkswagen Rain Commercial Screenshot - Image: Volkswagen YoutubeThis commercial is not a circa 1970 follow-up to 1969’s infamous Woodstock Music & Art Fair. It’s not a the result of marketers in the 1980s looking back 10 or 15 years. It’s not Volkswagen’s late-to-the-party retro take on counterculture. No, this is Volkswagen’s People First Warranty commercial from 2017. Today.

It is a wholehearted embrace of Volkswagen’s history. The Microbus. An original Beetle. Hippies.

“I think what’s powerful about it,” Volkswagen of America’s marketing director Greg Tebbutt says, “is we’ve got a heritage story that is unique to us and only we can tell.”

But there’s something conspicuously absent from the 60-second “Rain” spot. (Read More…)

By on September 15, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Atlas - Image: VolkswagenAt launch, the lone Volkswagen Atlas available in the United States was the more powerful 3.6-liter V6, a Tennessee-built $34,425 three-row crossover with 276 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is an $1,800 option. The Atlas was rated at 18 miles per gallon in the city; 25 on the highway. City fuel economy for AWD models dropped by a single mpg; highway mpg fell to 23.

Now we know how much money you can save by purchasing the front-wheel-drive-only Volkswagen Atlas 2.0T, which suffers a loss of 41 horsepower but generates very nearly as much torque as the V6 (258 lb-ft) and does so 1,150-rpm closer to idle.

Not surprisingly, a small, modern, turbocharged engine is barely more efficient than the larger, naturally aspirated V6. (Read More…)

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