This is the 2024 VW Atlas Cross Sport and it’s had a makeover with an upgraded interior, and more power so the goal today is to find out how much “Sport” there is to this version of VW’s midsize SUV.
For 2024, VW has tried to address the negative feedback it received about the previous model by revamping the powertrain and making other updates to inject more “sport” into the Cross Sport and bring it more in line with what the competition offers.
It’s not a complete redesign since it’s pretty much the same vehicle underneath, however, the Cross Sport is way cooler looking than its bigger sibling the Atlas even more so for 2024 thanks to styling updates to the front including a more modern, LED-lit face and more aggressive grille.
It does have adaptive lights with dynamic cornering, which means they just swivel when you turn the steering wheel. At the rear, it emphasizes its sportiness with a sloping roof, some fake quad exhaust outlets, the real exhaust being hidden under the bumper, and a functional rear spoiler. Since my tester was an SE model with Tech it wore 20-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires.
Engine and Transmission
The Atlas Cross Sport was previously available with either a V-6 or a turbocharged four-cylinder, but now the turbo 2.0-liter four is your only option.
It has more power though, 269 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, slightly less power but more torque than the previous 3.6-liter V-6. This one drives the front wheels, but you can get 4Motion, and it’s mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
O-60 takes around 7.2 seconds, four-tenths quicker than the old V6. It’s more fuel efficient too with an expected 27 miles to the gallon on the highway so with its 18.6-gallon fuel tank, you should be able to go about 500 miles.
Since my tester was front-wheel drive it was a bit chirpy off the line but once you get it moving its lighter weight makes for a more fun drive than with the 4Motion trim.
If you select Comfort mode, you’ll notice turbo lag and a delay in response so it’s best to select Sport which resolves the problem, and as a bonus, it adds a raspy note to the exhaust, which was unexpected. It could use more power though maybe the 315-hp engine from the Golf R.
The suspension is firm in Sport mode and it feels planted if you are in a hurry but it can feel somewhat flinty over rougher pavement. I was impressed with the Cross Sports ability in the turns it can be hustled but despite offering good grip the All-Season tires do complain when you press on.
The transmission downshifts are fairly snappy and the throttle response is good, so while the Cross Sport might not be the quickest SUV in the segment it is fun to drive. I was also impressed by the 2024 Atlas Cross Sport’s braking, good pedal feel, and consistent stopping power.
Improving that cabin was a big focus for VW for the 2024 refresh, and it looks and feels a lot nicer than the outgoing Atlas’s plasticky interior. The dashboard has more soft-touch materials, and on my base + Tech model, there were faux metal accents to spice things up.
Volkswagen includes a ton of storage space, not only in the rear cargo area but underneath the center console, in the center armrest, and the door panels. You also get four USB-C ports as standard, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and wireless charging. A head-up display is available, and there’s a new USB port for dash cams.
The front seats are heated and ventilated and are leatherette, the driver gets power adjustment the passenger does not but the best part is you don’t have to have a sunroof unless you really want one. The seats are comfortable but the bottom seat cushion is too long for shorter folks like me.
There is a downside to these upgrades and that’s because VW has also integrated its annoying new infotainment system and touch-sensitive controls. On the center stack you get a new 12-inch touchscreen and almost no physical buttons so just like in the new GTI you have to search through menus for basic functions like climate controls etc.
On the plus side, the graphics are cool, and it’s fast and relatively intuitive, however, I still would recommend setting it up while sitting in your garage. The menus are easy to read and use very familiar swipe and scroll functionality.
Interior and Cargo Space
Despite the rakish roofline rear seat passengers have plenty of room, both head and leg, and get USB power, HVAC vents, and heated outboard seats. On this model, you get a powered tailgate which reveals a lot of space, 40 cubic feet behind the seats, and 77.6 if you fold them. On either side two deep storage bins are provided big enough for a gallon of milk or two bottles of Beaujolais.
Trims and Pricing
The 2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport comes in SE, SE with Technology, SEL, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line trim levels. Base prices range from the high $30,000s to the low $50,000s.
Every version of the Atlas has standard dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a height-adjustable front passenger’s seat. Volkswagen’s V-Tex artificial leather is standard, and higher trim levels include leather.
This SE with Tech model has a base price of $40,655 and only one option this aurora red paint. With destination, it stickers for $42,400.
The 2024 Atlas Cross Sport comes with Volkswagen IQ.Drive. This includes:
Adaptive cruise control
Active blind-spot monitoring with countersteering
Rear cross-traffic alert
Forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian and cyclist detection
Lane Assist with departure warning and lane-keeping assist
Automatic emergency braking
If you like the Atlas offers but don’t need the third row, you might as well save a bit of money and go for the Cross Sport. It drives much the same, but it has a bit more character, has lots of space for rear-seat passengers and cargo, and is unquestionably a much better crossover than last year’s model. The new touchscreen is a step back but the upgraded powertrain is very good.
2024 VW Atlas Cross Sport SE Numbers
BASE PRICE: $40,665
PRICE AS TESTED: $42,400
VEHICLE LAYOUT: Front-engine, FWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE: 2.0 L turbocharged and inter-cooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4
POWER: 269 hp @ 5,500 rpm
TORQUE: 273 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
0-60 MPH: 7.2 sec
CURB WEIGHT: 4,173 lb
TOWING CAPACITY: 5,000 lbs
CARGO CAPACITY: 40.3 ft³, 77.8 ft³ with seat area
EPA CITY/HWY/COMBINED: 20/27/23 mpg
OUR OBSERVED FUEL ECONOMY: 20.9 mpg
PROS: Improved powertrain, nice new interior, competent handling
CONS: Annoying new infotainment controls