It's the same tactic Honda used with the Passport, which is a shortened version of the Pilot.
The Cross Sport is the first fruit of Volkswagen's strategy of doubling up in the biggest SUV segments, a plan that will be repeated in the compact SUV segment with a vehicle that will fit in the lineup beneath the Tiguan. So far the strategy is only being applied to SUVs as that's where the volume and profits are. Pricing will be announced ahead of its reveal.
Those are the specific demands that North American SUV buyers have, VW says, and indeed the 2020 Atlas Cross Sport was built specifically with them in mind. It goes on sale in the first quarter of 2020 with eight trim levels to choose from.
"Building off the success of the Atlas seven-seater midsize SUV, we see an opportunity for a five-seater model that offers even more style and nearly as much interior space", said Scott Keogh, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.
There are two engine choices: the 276-hp, 266-lb-ft 3.6-liter V-6 and the 235-hp, 258-lb-ft turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder TSI engine. VW claims that both powertrains will pair to an eight-speed automatic transmission and will feature front-wheel-drive standard, while 4Motional all-wheel-drive will be optional. Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is available even with the turbo-four, which is something the larger Atlas doesn't offer. A five-seat version of the full-sized Atlas, it's shorter and lower than its three-row brethren, but combines that more easily-parked scale with no reduction in wheelbase.
Trunk capacity? 40.3 cubic feet behind the second row and 77.8 cubic feet with the seats folded flat into the floor will have to suffice, and looking at the bigger picture, it's more than enough storage for a weekend trip for a family of five. There's seating for five and the 40.4 inches of rear legroom should provide plenty of space to comfortably sit three adults in the second row. The rear end also features new lights and a sculpted bumper to give the crossover more road presence. With a much lower price point, we expect the Atlas Cross Sport to post better sales numbers than the old Touareg. An R-Line package adds more aggressive looks and additional piano-black and chrome exterior trim.
New bits of design on the inside include a different steering wheel and some available accent stitching for the seats and door panels. The Volkswagen Digital Cockpit configurable instrument display is available on the SEL trim as well as the SEL Premium. Coming later this year will be smart home connectivity for devices equipped with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa.
Every Atlas Cross Sport will come standard with active safety tech, including automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alerts. Upper trim models will feature adaptive cruise control and parking sensors.
Two new driver assistance features debut on the Cross Sport. An advanced driver-assist system will make driving in traffic less stressful at speeds of up to 37 miles per hour by handling the throttle, braking, and steering. If longer, a tap of the gas pedal or the "Resume" button on the steering wheel will get the auto going again if adaptive cruise and lane keep are active. DRSD is integrated into the navigation system, displaying speed limits, no-passing zones, work zones, as well as school zones.