2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport: Glam SUV Coupe Counter-Point Review

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport: Glam SUV Coupe Counter-Point Review
2024 VW Atlas Cross Sport 4Motion:

The launch of the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport in 2020, pitched the vehicle as glam volume antidote to conspicuous luxury sport activity coupe consumption. A television advertisement depicted an accountant, worried about his client’s spendthrift ways. Once he discovered his charge's more sensible new car purchase he expressed relief. What the financial professional didn't know was that his otherwise money savvy client had pulled up to a casino in that classy new VW Atlas Cross Sport.


For 2024, both two and three-row flavors of VW Atlas are promoted to Mk 1.5 stage. The tested 2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport SEL 4Motion R-Line's boasts revised LED stacked headlights and a drop jaw grille. SEL Premium trim illuminates front and rear VW emblems and boasts a raceway rear lightbar.

Enhancement were also made to the 2024 Atlas Cross Sport interior.  VW CEO Pablo Di Si related to this journalist that pains were taken to remedy the perceived plebeian parts on the Mk.1 Atlas. Variable LED ambient mood lighting bathes the cabin at night. A carbon-fiber effect on the passenger side dashboard fascia is peppered with LED optics, discreetly displaying "Cross Sport" lettering in a sea of stars. 

Objectively, the cabin is more comfortable than in the Mk.1 VW Atlas Cross Sport which it replaces.  VW added padding under stitched leatherette surfaces. This upholstery now covers the lower dashboard and the center console, which now has a below-the-shifter cubby.  Previously, these bits were unadorned plastic.  The leather-clad heated and ventilated supportive front seats (heated 2nd Row) feature diamond stitching and perforations with blue accents.  Aluminum cap bling is available to cover the driver's pedals.

The Volkswagen driver interface splits duties between modern soft touch flat panel controls and traditional kernel button switches.  Rotary knobs were not allowed to apply. For all the efforts placed on upper dash and cabin ambient illumination the MIB 3.0 Discovery 12-inch LCD center stack media touchscreen is tamped at night by soft tap to slide flat panel climate / volume controls which omit any backlighting. This same confounding scheme has been parroted from the VW ID. 4 and Mk. 8 Golf R.  While infotainment functions work well, systems such as communications or guided native navigation are not as polished as competitors like the Hyundai Santa Fe.

Poking the touch-sensing areas is perplexing.  The 21-inch R-Line tires and wheels turn the Cross Sport into a jousting contest, dispatching sufficient jitter to preclude easy lancing of touchscreen icons while driving.  Plenty of luck is required just to tap the seat heat control owing to lack of temp/volume slider backlighting.

A proximity sensor changes menus when you get too close to the screen when fiddling with something else, requiring yet another step to return to a previous menu.  There’s a proximity sensor at the headlight control, which helps you see both headlamp and defroster short-cut tap spot. "Yes Virginia"... they’re near the headlight “switch.” 

In a return to the sanity of operational function over form, 2024 Atlas Cross steering wheel spokes skipped the haptic soft touch flat panels found in other VWs. Here an update of the tried and true kernel button switches have been adopted. That’s a happy change; the 2024 Atlas premiere vehicles shown at the 2023 Chicago Auto Show, had haptic controls.  Their touch-sensing operation is confounding; it’s all too easy to brush, say, the steering wheel heat touch spot when tiller twirling. 


The center console has a glossy-black sanitary look.  There’s a stubby shift control and only three push buttons for a clean, clutter-less look.  Drive modes and traction settings are selected on the touchscreen.  Four buttons on the center stack let you summon climate, mode, and parking menus. 

That simplicity, of course, eliminates dials and switches, which are more intuitive and often easier to operate.   I found VW’s electronic shift-by-wire setup slightly awkward: the transmission-control lever doesn’t select park.  The vehicle start button, ahead of the shifter, is now rectangular, not round.  Near it, you’ll find a rectangular park button.  The electronic parking brake button is aft of the shifter.  It illuminates when engaged.    


VW’s seat-belt reminders aren’t as aggressive as some. It’s possible to start the Atlas, and crane your neck (sans belt) maneuvering out of a parking space or driveway before the seat belt warnings trigger.  And sometimes you can open the driver’s door to check whether your tires are on the driveway—not your lawn—while reversing.

There was a time when many motorists opened the left front door to look backward as a guiding aid especially when vehicle pillar design or rear headrests blocked sightlines.  Now, there’s a backup camera.  It’s handy but easily obscured by road salt. 


Atlas Cross Sport seating, front or rear, is firmly stuffed.  Rear thigh support could be better.  The bottom cushions are flat, which lets the folded backrest nestle flush.  Cargo room, despite the roof’s rear slope, is better than expected.  I placed a dresser in there.  There’s some under-floor stowage near the spare tire.  The aft lid is power lifted.  Just kick your foot under the bumper and the gate rises for you.


As stowing capacious as the updated 2024 VW Atlas Cross sport is, it passes on a dedicated "skis" pass through versatility common to Tiguan, Taos and even GTIs.

The Atlas has VW’s 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit, an instrument cluster/video display.  Steering wheel switches let you select display graphics and trip information.  There’s an automatic setting where the interior LED lighting and the Cockpit change colors based on your drive mode—red for sport, say.  While the Atlas is big, the cockpit display is rather small.  A head-up display, however, means you can focus on driving and skip glancing at the Cockpit.  Warnings for forward braking appear on both the windshield and Cockpit.

VW’s fuel-level graphics ape a vintage Vee Dub’s; there’s a red reserve area.  Here, the white line leading to the near-empty red-zone doesn’t have tank-level gradient markings--such as one-half.  As a consolation, there’s a nearby miles-to-empty figure.  You check engine oil level on the infotainment screen (no engine dipstick) and the engine start-stop feature won’t stop the engine from idling if you’ve triggered the park assist--put the vehicle in reverse, say, then return to drive.  I noticed this when maneuvering into a drive-thru queue.  Park assist shows the front camera when you put it in drive but don’t move. 

In Sport drive mode, the 2024 Atlas Cross Sport pipes in Soundaktor GTI-like engine sound effects.  Silly, that they are, I chose custom, set steering to sport and the engine sound to comfort.  The engine note, in comfort, seemed well muted.  And the eight-speed automatic cog-swapped smoothly.  Snow drive mode, meant to reduce wheel spin in the slick, induces early upshifts, thereby lugging the engine a bit.

Under the swollen tall hood, lies version of Volkswagen Group's EA888 twin-cam turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder powerplant.  Nestled low in the bay, with but a foam cover, it is now the sole motivating choice. The previously optional historic narrow-angle petrol 3.6 liter V-6 (VR6) engine has been dropped entirely.

The re-tuned Gen. 3 EA888 engine rated at 269 horsepower nearly matches the VR-6's output, while no longer requiring premium unleaded fuel. Torque at low engine speeds.  Thus the 2024 Atlas Cross exhibits credible potency, spooling up turbo muscle with ease.  Winter driving tested observed fuel economy at 18.6 miles per gallon trailed EPA estimates of  22 miles per gallon combined, 19 city and 26 highway.  


The Atlas Cross Sport SEL R-Line wears jumbo 21-inch wheels wrapped in low profile 265/45R tires. That tautly sprung wheel : tire combination, which imparts sporty tautness in America's sunbelt, compresses with some pounding and lateral judder on Milwaukee patched-up surface pavement.

A beefy Golf GTI style helm moves responds with touring accuracy around town. The resistance increases with selection of more intense modes. The Atlas Cross Sport hold out a promise of stable Teutonic tracking and sharper turn-in. Alas, such expectations are slightly disappointed on the open interstate, where the response feels more nebulous, requiring more correction inputs. Even IQ.Drive lane departure warning is lazier, only rumbling the steering wheel after the road markings have been crossed.


Back now to that TV spot accountant. He / she might cringe upon reviewing the not insubstantial $53,000 bottom line figure for a comprehensively kitted Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport SEL 4Motion R-Line. Fortunately, there is a $14K lower price of admission for the base trim of this classy sport activity coupe. An Atlas Cross Sport SE still provides heated seats, the 10.25" Digital Cockpit Pro, the 12.0" MIB3 infotainment screen and IQ. Drive assist suite.  Despite a cost cutting deletion of a driver's seat headliner grab handle, the thoroughly refreshed and re-powered 2024 VW Atlas Cross Sport is the number cruncher's conspicuously elegant sport utility coupe.

Then there is the counter-point to be made for the 2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport. No sport activity coupe is the most rational or practical choice. Instead the updated Atlas Cross remains the only serious volume take on the mid size glam SUV, heavy on both emotional expressiveness and versatility.

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport 2.0T 4Motion - Bottom Line Review
SHARED GLOBE HOLDER BOLDER VERSION 1.5 : The burden of rebellion is lessened when shared. Teutonic automaker Volkswagen discovered that the brand’s entire North American full size SUV burden should not fall entirely on a three row Titan. Hence it launched a smaller two row deity. The truncated celestial orb