The Difference Between The Atlas vs Atlas Cross Sport

June 18th, 2021 by

Volkswagen recently introduced the Atlas Cross Sport as a new addition to their large SUV lineup. This latest crossover is closely related to the Atlas, just slightly smaller. The Atlas arrived in 2018, with the more compact Atlas Cross Sport making its debut in 2020. Here’s a quick look at some of the differences and similarities between the two.


The Atlas Cross Sport is a shorter version of the Atlas. They both have a 117.3-inch wheelbase, but the Atlas Cross Sport is almost 3 inches shorter than the Atlas. From the outside, these two SUVs look very similar, except the Cross Sport has a raked roofline to help it live up to its sporty name.


The shorter Atlas Cross Sport has two rows of seats instead of three, and it gains a large cargo area behind the rear seats with 40.3-cubic feet of space. Folding down the second row opens up the cargo area to 77.8 cubic feet. With its three rows, the Atlas has 20.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row and 55.5 cubic feet behind the second row. If you fold down both back rows, the regular Atlas opens up to 96.8 cubic feet.

Other than the seating arrangement and the cargo space, the Atlas and the Atlas Cross Sport are very similar inside. The larger Atlas offers second-row captain’s chairs in the SE with Technology and above, and since the Cross Sport only has the back row, these are not available in it. The Atlas SEL Premium has heated second-row seats, and this same trim for the Atlas Cross Sport has heated second-row seats. Both vehicles add ventilated front seats and leather upholstery starting with the SEL, and you also get it in the SEL Premium R-Line.

Engine and Performance

The 2021 Atlas and the Atlas Cross Sport have the same powertrains. The base is a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder gas engine with 276 horsepower. For more power, you can opt for the 3.6-liter V-6 gas engine that puts out 276 horsepower and gets 266 pound-feet of torque. Both vehicles work with Volkswagens eight-speed automatic transmission and come with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional for both the Atlas and the Atlas Cross Sport depending on the trim.

No matter which one you choose, when equipped with the V-6 and the tow package, either one can pull up to 5,000 pounds, and if you don’t add the tow package and just add a hitch, they can tow up to 2,000 pounds.

The Atlas Cross Sport is a few hundred pounds lighter than the Atlas, which results in slightly better fuel economy depending on the engine. The Atlas with the V-6 and front-wheel drive will get 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, while the Cross Sport with the same engine will get 18 mpg city and the same 23 mpg on the highway.

Even though the Atlas Cross Sport is lighter than the larger Atlas, they feel very similar when you are behind the wheel. Acceleration is comparable, and the handling is almost identical. Both offer a smooth ride on the road and can handle some light off-road terrain.

The R-Line Package

The R-Line Package is an option for certain trims with both the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport. It’s available for the SE, SEL, and SEL Premium trims and adds features such as sporty front and rear bumpers, metal pedal caps, and 21-inch wheels for the SEL and SEL Premium. The SE with Technology R-Line comes standard with the V-6, all-wheel drive, and the R-Line front and rear fascia, R-Line badging, and dark gray wheels.

Trim Levels

You can get the same trim levels with both the Atlas and the Atlas Cross Sport, but there are some subtle differences within the trims. The lineup starts with the S and SE and then moves up through the SE with Technology, SE with Technology R-Line, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL Premium, and the SEL Premium R-Line.

Depending on the trim, the Atlas Cross Sport adds stitching on the door panel to give it an upscale look, and it offers two-tone color schemes, including a sporty red and black combination.

Safety Features

You’ll get the same safety features in both the Atlas and the Atlas Cross Sport. They each come standard with advanced driver aids such as forward collision warning with mitigation, a blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic warning, and a rearview camera. The SE with Technology adds adaptive cruise control and front and rear parking sensors, while the SEL adds a lane-departure alert system with steering assist to help keep you in your lane. The SEL also adds adaptive headlights that swivel when you turn the steering wheel to provide more light on the road ahead when going around curves after dark, and it comes with lane-keeping assist, blind-spot intervention, and road sign recognition with display.

The SEL Premium comes with an automated parking system, and it adds a 360-degree surround-view camera system.


Every Atlas and Atlas Cross starts with a 6.5-inch touch screen in the S trim, which also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a six-speaker stereo system, and Volkswagen’s Car-Net app. An 8-inch touch screen comes in the SE and above along with Volkswagens latest MIB3 infotainment system with wireless App-Connect for multiple phone pairing and the ability to switch between devices, plus enhanced voice recognition system, USB-C charging ports, and an upgraded navigation system. It also comes with satellite radio with 360L streaming.

The Atlas Cross Sport SE With Technology has a 115-volt power outlet, and the SEL comes with a digital instrument display. Bumping up to the SEL Premium for either the Atlas or Atlas Cross Sport will get you a 12-speaker Fender stereo system.

Give us a call at Capistrano Volkswagen to find out more about the Atlas and the Atlas Cross Sport. We can set up a test drive and help you decide which model is right for you.

Posted in Uncategorized