Atlas vs. Atlas Cross Sport: Two Different SUVs

Lisa Steuer McArdle
· 4 min read
With over 140,000 total units sold in the U.S. alone, the
Volkswagen Atlas
has managed to etch a spot in the
midsize SUV category
. Consequently, Volkswagen hopes to double its numbers in this segment with the forthcoming Alta Cross Sport.
This new SUV is a sporty variant meant for people looking for utility rather than hauling space. And naturally, more SUV options could mean more sales volume for the automaker. But are the differences carried by Cross Sport enough to generate interest from drivers?
As your go-to adviser on
car brands
, we'll go over the differences between these two vehicles, according to
MotorTrend
.
Interior of the 2021 Atlas Cross Sport

What are the size differences between the Cross Sport and Atlas?

Easy: One of them has a passenger capacity of seven, while the other has five. The Cross Sport is sharper and carries a sportier, couple-like look, akin to the Audi Q8. However, this look makes it easy to notice that it's shorter than the Atlas. 
It's actually 2.8 inches shorter than the Atlas, courtesy of the athletic aesthetics that equate to smaller body dimensions. But it comes with the same 117.3-inch wheelbase as the Atlas, which means more room for the passengers, especially for the rear occupants.
So how do they differ in terms of looks? Keep reading to find out.
While both vehicles look similar to a casual observer, a closer look reveals some underlying differences. For instance, the Cross Sport comes with an aggressive front bumper with chrome treatments. It also has an undeniably steeper rake on the rear windshield.
The Volkswagen Atlas is a little boxier in shape. In comparison, the sportiness in the Cross Sport carries over the vehicle's sides with chrome accents accentuating the sharp character lines. This appearance delineates further the Sport's athletics in the Atlas. 
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The engine and performance of the two SUVs

Although both vehicles are unique, they have the same powertrains. The base is a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder gas engine capable of 276 hp. For more power, opt for the 3.6-liter V6 gas engine that makes 276 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque.
Both vehicles are front-wheel drives and send the power to the rear wheels using an eight-speed automatic transmission. Also, depending on the trim level, you can have an optional all-wheel drive for both models. 
Whichever you choose, when equipped with a V6 and tow package, either of them can pull up to 5,000 pounds. But if you don't want to add tow packages, they will tow up to 2,000 pounds.
Unsurprisingly, Atlas is a few hundred pounds heavier than the Cross Sport. As a result, the Sport has a better fuel economy depending on the engine. With a V6 and front-wheel drive, the Atlas gets 17 mpg and 23 mpg on the city/highway. 
On the other hand, the Cross Sport with the same powertrains gets 18 mpg and 23 mpg on the city/highway.
It's worth noting that despite the weight differences, these two vehicles feel similar behind the wheel. What is more, the SUVs' handling and acceleration are comparable. In fact, both cars can handle light off-road terrain and offer smoother rides on city drives.

Comparing the interior of the Cross Sport Vs. the Atlas

Honestly, these vehicles have a pretty similar interior. However, the Sport has stitching on the door panels and a flat-bottom steering wheel with intuitive controls. A Captain's seat setup is available on the Atlas but not on the Sport.
With the same interior design on both vehicles, you can also expect similar technology. For example, they both have a
heated steering wheel
, heated and ventilated front seats, a Digital Cockpit, and an available Fender premium 12-speaker audio system. 
Both also have similar driver-assist features, such as Park Distance Control, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Traffic Jam Assist. In terms of safety, both vehicles come with the same features.
They both have a standard blind-spot monitoring system, forward collision warning with mitigation, and rear cross-traffic warning. Additionally, you can expect to see a standard rearview camera.

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