Atlas Cross Sport (SEL, R-Line) — Tires: 265/45R21 all season; wheelbase: 117.3 inches; length: 195.5 inches; width: 78.3 inches; height: 67.8 inches; steering: rack and pinion, electromechanical; fuel capacity: 18.6 gallons; city: 19 mpg; highway: 26 mpg; base price: $51,445; price as tested: $53,190; website:

The 2024 Volkswagen Atlas may be the bigger of the two but the Cross Sport (5.2 inches shorter in length; it’s a five-seater with no third row) has as much to offer as its sibling. Perhaps even beyond, as its name implies. Also, unlike the regular Atlas, this one portrays an alluring appearance because of a considerably raked rear hatch.

Under the hood of the coupe-like Cross Sport sits a 2.0-liter turbocharged and intercooled inline-four engine that doles out 269 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 273 pounds-feet of torque at 1,600 rpm. For a vehicle weighing nearly 4,359 pounds, it’s quick off the mark, responding with agility in any situation. The midsize SUV is mated with a smooth, accurate and easy-to-engage eight-speed auto gearbox. Ensconced on the unitary body is a robust independent four-wheel suspension of strut-type front with lower control arms and multilink rear. Tow capacity is a creditable 5,000 pounds. Eco, comfort, sport, custom, off-road and snow modes are available.

Available as front-wheel or all-wheel drive (our trim), the Atlas Cross Sport has attracted oodles of attention, all good. Horizontal daytime running lights wrap around LEDs and continue into an illuminated light bar and VW emblem, which is mirrored in the rear. Our R-Line trim came with its own badging, of course; stylish front/rear air intakes in the bumpers; and side skirts.

The lovely cabin epitomizes European styling and flair with a top-notch fit and finish, especially the quilted leather seats. The racing-inspired line logo can also be found on the start screen, steering wheel and stainless-steel pedal caps. The 60/40 second-row heated seat tilts and slides forward effortlessly. Passenger volume is worthy at 112 cubic feet while you get 77.6 cubic feet behind the front row with the rear seat down. Personal belongings can stay out of sight in the cleverly hidden cubby under the center console.

Cool amenities include a 12-inch touch screen for audio, nav and phone controls; a 10.3 configurable digital display; a two-zone auto AC with second-row air vents; a three-spoke leather steering column; a head-up display; power tilt/slide sunroof; a 10-way power driver; eight-way front passenger heated/cooled seats; a 12-speaker, 400-watt Harman Kardon sound system; and a power lift gate.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist, electronic stability with antislip regulation and engine brake assist, traction control, front/rear park distance control, hill start assist and descent control, rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard, along with the IQ.DRIVE, which fetches you forward collision warning, auto brakes with pedestrian/bicyclist detection, blind-spot monitor, rear traffic alert, lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control.

If you are looking for good looks, impressive performance, generous cargo/passenger capacity and a sporty ride in a stylish midsize SUV, the Cross Sport is worth a test drive. It fills in all the blanks — and then some more!

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