Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport SUV Concept Previews New Five-Seat Variant
Volkswagen recently discontinued the Touareg in the U.S., but now it’s introducing another midsize SUV for our market. Previewing a five-seater version of the Atlas is a hybrid concept SUV that is making its debut at the New York auto show.
The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Concept has the same squared-off proportions as the seven-seater Atlas that went on sale last year. But it features a noticeably raked roof line and distinct front fascia with grille crossbars illuminated in white. The roof spoiler has black side fins, and large 22-inch aluminum-alloy wheels finish off the look. It’s unclear what the final version will look like, but VW calls the concept “near-production.”
The five-seater measures 7.5 inches shorter than the regular Atlas but has the same wheelbase. It sits on the familiar MQB architecture that can accommodate various types of drive systems. This concept features the same 3.6-liter V-6 engine as in the Atlas, producing 276 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. But there is also an 18-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and two electric motors: one with 54 hp and 162 lb-ft up front and one with 114 hp and 199 lb-ft in the rear. Total output is 355 hp, helping to propel the five-seater to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, according to VW’s estimates. A seven-seater Atlas we tested hit the mark in 7.9 seconds.
The plug-in hybrid features five drive modes. E-Mode allows the SUV to drive up to 26 miles on electricity only, while GTE mode sharpens the steering, gear shifting, and throttle map for a sportier drive. Other modes include Off-road, Hybrid, and Battery Hold/Battery Charge that keeps the battery’s energy content constant or charges the battery while driving. The model’s 4Motion Active Control offers more modes, including On-road (Comfort and Eco), Off-road (Rocks, Sludge and Sand, Gravel), Sport, and Snow.
VW also says a mild hybrid powertrain system could fit into the concept. This version would utilize a smaller 2.0-kWh battery and produce 310 hp. Hitting 60 mph would require 6.5 seconds, VW says.
Inside the concept, you’ll find a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen that can display navigation data in 3D format. The display can accommodate three or more pieces of content—such as POI, geographic info, or the vehicle’s route—hovering above one another in virtual space. Also look for a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.
A five-seater Atlas will launch in the U.S. in 2019. It will enter production alongside the seven-passenger Atlas and the Passat in Chattanooga, Tennessee.