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  • Writer's pictureMitchell Weitzman

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport review: Big and stylish

This 'coupe' version of the Atlas is still huge, but better looking

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport review with The Road Beat

Words and pictures by Mitchell Weitzman

Volkswagen's attractive and frankly huge Atlas has also been subtly updated in its Cross Sport form, following the trend of making practical, big boxes slightly less convenient. Gone are the third-row seats in favor of a sloping and (relatively) sleek roofline. BMW invented the modern trend with the X6, a coupe-ified X5, and the motif has since trickled to all corners of the SUV market. However, the Atlas Cross Sport contradicts the very notion of sleek by remaining outwardly huge. And speaking of big, how's this for an official name of my test example: Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport SEL Premium R-Line 4MOTION 2.0T. The name at least fits the size of the car itself.

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport interior

For the most part, this Cross Sport is identical to the normal Atlas (sans those most rearward seats), of which you can read that full in-depth review here: 2024 Atlas review. All the same strengths and minuses are applicable here, including the introduction of fussy and frustrating touch-sensitive slider controls without any haptic nor tactile feedback. You do slowly get used to it, but even then I'm still left wondering who thought this new means of control was a good idea. I get it, having less knobs and buttons looks better, but did anyone actually use these replacements before signing off on it? At least the rest of the interior has been updated with more pleasurable and hospitable materials to bring things more in line against its constantly improving competition. I still think the seat is too flat, though, but appreciate the low-slung driving position offered by the Cross Sport; Tall drivers will like how much you can lower the front seat to avoid feeling like you're driving a bus.

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport exterior

Technically, the Atlas Cross Sport is five inches shorter at 195" verse it's fraternal brother, but you would never know it otherwise. This is still a mammoth-sized vehicle with troves of interior space in the first and second rows; Legroom in particular is limo-like for your backseat passengers. With no third row of seats, cargo space seems even more cavernous than before despite the shallower roofline. If you don't need the additional seating, you might like the Cross Sport more, but then again, why does anyone need a vehicle this large if you don't need third-row seating? It brings me back to wondering how something like the genre-standard RAV4 isn't large enough for anyone not needing three rows. Then again, of course, a RAV4 isn't sexy like the Atlas Cross Sport.

The Atlas Cross Sport drives fine, with reasonably athletic handling and responses. Grip is decent and the traction is great with its 4Motion AWD, helping resist understeer even when accelerating out of corners. Steering is overboosted for my own liking, meaning I can easily steer it with a single finger, but I'm sure many casual drivers will like how easy this makes it to drive each day. Despite the light steering effort, it rarely feels jittery or darty luckily, remaining easy to control at highway speeds and never tires you. Can I tell a difference between the regular Atlas and this Cross Sport? No, not really. Maybe if you run each back-to-back on an autocross, the Cross Sport might have a lower center of gravity making it easier to transition quickly, but in the real world they really do feel the same as one another.

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport interior rear seats

As for capability, they each have identical powertrains, with a 269-horspower turbocharged four-cylinder doing your bidding. MPG is largely the same story, with each averaging a pretty paltry 20 and 21 MPG overall after a week of driving. Towing is even duplicated, with each able to max out at 5,000 pounds for top models. Transmissions are the same eight-speed automatics and behave obediently, unlike other small VWs of late (the Arteon and Taos), which can be prone to upshifting too early and constantly hunt for the correct gear ratio.

The Cross Sport might be more of a fashion accessory than something actually deserving of bearing the name Sport in its nomenclature, but that's also what a lot of modern drivers are searching for. Though, if you're already considering a vehicle this vast, why not go for the standard model and have the extra seating for when needed? Trust me, from experience, those extra seats do come in clutch occasionally. It seems almost wasteful to have something this large and yet only feature five seats. At least the Cross Sport will save you on average about $1,000 verse the standard family barge.

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport SEL Premium R-Line 4Motion

Price as-tested: About $54,000

Pros: Huge and stylish

Cons: No third-row seats; Huge

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport R-Line

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport review

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport interior review

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport sel interior

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport SEL Premium R-Line


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