Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Please think of the larger VW Atlas at the ultimate travel SUV for a bigger household and its Atlas Cross Sport cousin as the outlier of the family who seeks out adventure at every destination. Starting at $30,545 for a 2.0T 4-cylinder Cross Sport, the bubble-styled 5-seater is a modern-day wagon that instantly grabs your attention. Since it sits higher and rides on chunky 255/50R20 Pirelli Scorpion Zero all-season tires (21″ available) paired with 4MOTION all-wheel-drive, expect the VW to trek through mud, snow, and gravel without issues. I certainly had fun mountain biking during a wet week in Maryland during my drive period.

The Atlas Cross Sport looks good from every angle, which is partly due to VV’s ownership of elite brands like Audi and Lamborghini. You can certainly see the silhouette of the Audi Q8 in the Atlas variant. Aggressive fender flares surround those massive wheels, black body cladding adds ruggedness, the grille is pretty bold, full LED lighting impresses, and the silver roof rails pair with the 20” alloy rims for perfect contrasting alongside the glaring Aurora Red Chroma hue. The only significant fault in my loaner was the lack of a sunroof to bring shine into the dark Titan Black leatherette cabin.

VW offers two engines in the Atlas Cross Sport, the previously mentioned 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder TSI and the 3.6-liter direct-injection VR6 with 276-horsepower. That’s not much power to boast about, and neither is the 235-horsepower in the 4-cylinder.  I had the smaller engine in my SE Technology model and was hoping for more energy during accelerations. Ultimately I  settled with the vehicle’s other attributes. Both engines pair with VW’s 8-speed automatic transmission for smooth shifting. The Cross Sport is also enhanced with Driving Mode Selection to switch the capabilities into Snow, Eco, Off-road, and Off-road Custom modes. The sporty, flat-bottom steering wheel feels a bit light for a trailblazing crossover and may stem from the electro-mechanical power steering with variable assistance.

The Cross Sport came loaded with every safety and autonomous system imaginable such as Adaptive Cruise Control Stop & Go and front and rear Park Distance Control. It also featured Blind Spot Monitor, Hill Hold Control, Hill Descent Control, a wireless charger pad, a remote engine start feature, and a remote power liftgate. Notable standard technologies include Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Traffic Alert, and Next-Generation VW Car-Net with Wi-Fi capability. The 8” touchscreen with various apps and vivid video graphics is simple to operate and meshes perfectly with Apple CarPlay. Yet the base 6-speaker audio system did nothing for the senses. Also, I would have forgone the pseudo wood trim since this is not a luxury vehicle. The intended look doesn’t fit the demeanor of the Cross Sport. At your disposal, as an upgrade are Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, heated rear seats, leather seating surfaces, Dynamic Road Sign Display, ACC, Lane Assist, Traffic Jam Assist, and Adaptive Front-light System.

As stated, it was wet on the MTB trails, which can be a hassle when loading the bike in with regular carpets. But this was no problem for the Atlas Cross Sport since it is designed for these duties. Once you fold down the second-row seats, the worry of messes dissipates since the cargo area encompasses a MuddyBuddy rubber mat. Also, the Cross Sport’s width is pretty extensive, so I didn’t have to detach the 29″ front wheel from my mountain bike. There are even large grooves where the tire was able to slide into position. I’m not sure if this was intentional, yet it works.

For the 2020 Atlas Cross Sport 2.0T SE with Technology, your MSRP will come to $37,845. Add $395 for the metallic exterior and $1,020 for the destination charge, and you will finalize the deal at $39,260.