The smaller Atlas Cross Sport is VW’s edgier take on the Atlas three-row SUV. This five-passenger version shares mechanical underpinnings with the regular Atlas but loses some cargo volume in favor of a more angular design and look. We found it a pleasant-driving SUV that doesn’t sacrifice too much functionality for its new style.
The base 235-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine is responsive and felt reasonably strong, especially considering the size and weight of the Cross Sport. The turbo gives the engine healthy power at low-to-mid rpms, helpful for those occasions when you need a quick burst of acceleration. We did find that the engine gets a bit loud when pushed. The uplevel 276-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 feels meatier at times and sounds more robust, but ultimately doesn’t provide much stronger performance. We got 21 mpg overall with the turbo-four in the Cross Sport, and 20 mpg overall with the V6 we tested in the three-row Atlas. The Cross Sport is available with front- or all-wheel drive.