This year’s LA Auto Show marks the world debut of the 2020 VW Atlas Cross Sport, an essential model for the brand in North America.
Built in the U.S. for U.S. customers, the Atlas Cross Sport is the first fruit of Volkswagen’s doubling-up strategy in the North American SUV market. The plan will be repeated in the compact SUV segment with a vehicle that will slot below the Tiguan in the lineup.
The German automaker invested $340 million to build the 2020 Atlas Cross Sport alongside the larger Atlas at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Smaller than the regular VW Atlas, the five-seat SUV targets more style-conscious customers who are not willing to sacrifice practicality.
The midsize SUV features a more sloping roofline, steeply raked rear pillar and rear hatch than its larger sibling, though calling this design “coupe-like” is too much. Overall, the Cross Sport is 2.8 inches (71 mm) shorter than the current Atlas and 2.3 inches (58.4 mm) lower.
Since it rides on the same 117.3-inch (2,979 mm) wheelbase, the 2020 Atlas Cross Sport is almost as roomy as its big brother. It offers 111.8 cu ft (3,166 liters) of passenger space, 40.3 cu ft (1,141 liters) of luggage space behind the second-row seats, and 77.8 cu ft (2,203 liters) with the second row folded.
U.S. buyers will be able to choose from two available powertrains: a 276-HP 3.6-liter V6 and a 235-HP 2.0-liter TSI turbocharged four-cylinder. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and are available with the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. When equipped with the V6 Towing package, the six-cylinder model is rated at 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg) for towing.
VW will offer the Atlas Cross Sport in eight trim levels: S, SE, SE w/Tech, SE w/Tech R-Line, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL Premium, and SEL Premium R-Line. Pricing will be announced ahead of its launch in the spring of 2020.