2020 VW Atlas Cross Sport or Original Atlas? What fits you?

March 14th, 2020 by

The new 2020 Atlas Cross Sport is Volkswagen’s new jumbo-sized two-row SUV, and you don’t need to be a car fanatic to see that it’s closely related to the three-row, seven-seat Atlas. What exactly are the differences between these two SUVs?

From first look you can see the 2020 Atlas Cross Sport has a more aggressive and sportier look to the front grill with updated headlights, and the addition of Volkswagen’s updated “VW” badge. The Cross Sport is essentially a truncated Atlas. Volkswagen chopped 5.2 inches from the length of the Atlas to make the Cross Sport, fitting it with a lower and more graceful roofline and a more steeply raked back window. The wheelbase remains unchanged at 117.3″. The lower roofline reduces the height of the DLO (Day Light Opening, fancy designer-speak for the side windows) The combination of long wheelbase and low roofline has an aesthetic payoff: The Atlas looks muscular and well-planted compared to the original Volkswagen Atlas.

As the Atlas Cross Sport is intended for a different buyer, either younger or older than family-oriented Atlas shoppers, Volkswagen jazzed up the interior with nicer door-panel stitching and two-tone color schemes, including an eye catching red and black combination.

Eliminating the third row seat opens up a lot of cargo space, but lowering the roofline has the potential to squeeze back-seat headroom. Volkswagen moved the Cross Sport’s back seat slightly rearward, adding nearly three inches of rear seat legroom. Headroom shrinks by 2.6 inches, but it’s still spacious enough for most adults, and the ability to stretch one’s legs is most welcome.

The shifted rear seat and sloped roofline do eat up cargo space compared to an Atlas with the third row folded. At 40.3 cubic feet, the Cross Sport’s trunk is 15 cubes smaller than an Atlas in two-row mode, but it’s still massive—the Cross Sport offers more luggage room than most comparable SUV’s on the road.

Mechanically, the Atlas and Cross Sport are virtually identical—Both vehicles offer a choice between Volkswagen’s 235 hp 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and its 276 hp 3.6 liter V6. The Cross Sport is a couple hundred pounds lighter than the seven-seat Atlas, but acceleration is comparable and the ride and handling are nearly identical.

So Why Did Volkswagen Bother? To the uninitiated, it might seem strange to have two different vehicles that are so close in scope, but doing so makes good business sense. The mid-size SUV attracts three major groups of buyers: Families, empty-nesters, and young couples without children. The former group wants a third-row seat; hence the seven-seat Atlas. The latter two groups, though greatly divergent, want the same basic thing: A large-ish SUV that doesn’t scream “mommy-mobile”—hence the development of a sportier five-seat version.

If you would like to learn more about either the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas or the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport…Visit us at our Bismarck Motor Company location or online at www.bismarckmotorcompany.com. You can also stay up to date on Volkswagen news and through our Facebook and Instagram pages.

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