The 2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport is a two-row SUV that offers a sleek design, a spacious cabin, and a powerful engine. However, it also suffers from a maddening infotainment system, a noisy engine, and a lack of driving excitement. The Atlas Cross Sport is a refreshed version of the 2021 model, with more power, more features, and more style. But is it enough to compete with the rivals in the crowded mid-size SUV segment?
The Atlas Cross Sport is based on the three-row Atlas SUV, which was launched in 2017 as Volkswagen’s largest and most family-friendly vehicle in the US market. The Atlas Cross Sport is essentially a shorter and lower version of the Atlas, with a sloping roofline and a more aggressive stance. It sacrifices the third row of seats, but gains more cargo space and more headroom for the rear passengers.
The Atlas Cross Sport has a new front and rear end, with LED lights, a lightbar, and an illuminated VW logo. It also has a new bumper, a new grille, and a new rear diffuser. The Atlas Cross Sport comes in six trim levels: S, SE, SE with Technology, SEL, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line. The R-Line models have sportier exterior and interior details, such as larger wheels, black accents, and metal pedals.
The Atlas Cross Sport: A Single Engine Choice with More Power
The Atlas Cross Sport has ditched the optional V6 engine that was available in the previous model, and now offers only one engine option: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 269 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. This is an increase of 34 horsepower and 15 pound-feet over the previous four-cylinder engine, and it matches the output of the previous V6 engine. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
The Atlas Cross Sport has a decent acceleration, with a 0-60 mph time of 7.2 seconds, according to Volkswagen. However, it also has a loud and coarse engine sound, which is amplified by a speaker in the cabin. The engine also struggles to maintain speed on hills, and requires frequent downshifts. The Atlas Cross Sport has a respectable fuel economy, with an EPA rating of 21 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined for the front-wheel drive model, and 20 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined for the all-wheel drive model.
The Atlas Cross Sport: A Comfortable Ride with a Boring Handling
The Atlas Cross Sport has a comfortable and smooth ride, thanks to its well-tuned suspension and its large cabin. The Atlas Cross Sport can absorb most road imperfections, and provide a stable and composed ride on highways and curves. The Atlas Cross Sport also has a good steering feel, with a light and responsive feedback. The Atlas Cross Sport has a generous ground clearance of 8 inches, and an optional off-road mode, which can adjust the throttle, transmission, and traction control settings for different terrains.
However, the Atlas Cross Sport is not a fun or engaging SUV to drive, as it lacks the agility and the excitement of some of its competitors. The Atlas Cross Sport has a hefty curb weight of 4,288 pounds, and a large body that makes it feel cumbersome and slow in tight corners. The Atlas Cross Sport also has a soft and vague brake pedal, which reduces the confidence and the control of the driver. The Atlas Cross Sport is a competent and comfortable cruiser, but not a sporty and thrilling performer.
The Atlas Cross Sport: A Spacious and Stylish Cabin with a Terrible Infotainment System
The Atlas Cross Sport has a spacious and stylish cabin, with plenty of room and features for the passengers. The Atlas Cross Sport can seat five people, with ample headroom, legroom, and shoulder room for both rows. The Atlas Cross Sport also has a large cargo space, with 40.3 cubic feet behind the second row, and 77.8 cubic feet with the second row folded. The Atlas Cross Sport has a power liftgate, and an optional hands-free feature, which can open the liftgate with a foot gesture.
The Atlas Cross Sport has a modern and upscale interior, with soft-touch materials, leather upholstery, and wood or metal accents. The Atlas Cross Sport has heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof, and a 12-speaker Fender sound system. The Atlas Cross Sport also has a 12-inch digital gauge cluster, which can display various information and settings, and can be customized by the driver.
However, the Atlas Cross Sport has a terrible infotainment system, which is the biggest flaw of the SUV. The Atlas Cross Sport has a 12-inch touchscreen, which is the largest in its class, but also the most frustrating. The touchscreen is slow, laggy, and glitchy, and often fails to respond to the inputs. The touchscreen also has poor graphics, small icons, and confusing menus, which make it hard to use and read. The touchscreen also lacks physical buttons and knobs, which force the driver to use the touch-sensitive controls, which are also unresponsive and distracting. The Atlas Cross Sport has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, and six USB-C ports, but they are not enough to compensate for the awful infotainment system.
The Atlas Cross Sport: A Safe and Reliable SUV with a Good Warranty
The Atlas Cross Sport has a good safety and reliability record, with a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and a four-star rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Atlas Cross Sport also has a good predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power, which is above average for its class.
The Atlas Cross Sport has a comprehensive list of standard and optional driver-assistance features, such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, park assist, and a 360-degree camera. The Atlas Cross Sport also has a good warranty, with a four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage, and a six-year/72,000-mile powertrain coverage.
The Atlas Cross Sport: A Mixed Bag of Pros and Cons
The 2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport is a mixed bag of pros and cons, with some appealing aspects and some disappointing ones. The Atlas Cross Sport has a sleek and attractive design, a spacious and comfortable cabin, a powerful and efficient engine, and a smooth and stable ride. However, it also has a noisy and coarse engine, a boring and dull handling, and a terrible and frustrating infotainment system. The Atlas Cross Sport is a decent and practical SUV, but it is not a standout or a leader in its segment.