Volkswagen revealed the new 2024 Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport Thursday at the Chicago Auto Show. The SUV and its sporty-styled variant feature subtly refreshed appearances highlighted by the automaker's new illuminated fascia. However, the Atlas' cabin has been extensively overhauled with more premium materials and more standard tech.
Like the ID4 and the GTI, the 2024 Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport will be offered with a new LED light bar and illuminated "VW" badge for all but the base SE spec. The full-width signature light wraps around the new standard adaptive front headlamps and helps frame the four-bar grille. The lower fascia also features reshaped intakes.
The Cross Sport's truncated roofline continues to be the biggest difference from the normal Atlas, but this year the coupe-over features a gloss-black front grille treatment and a unique rear diffuser. Both configurations also feature larger rear spoilers and new wheel options ranging from 18 to 20 inches.
Meet the 2024 VW Atlas SUV and Cross SportSee all photos
The biggest change happens in the cabin, which Hein Schafer, VW's senior vice president of product marketing and strategy, calls "a massive step up from the previous generation that puts [the Atlas family] in a completely different category to the outgoing car."
Leatherette upholstery is now standard with quilted leather trim available for upper specs; ventilated seating surfaces are also standard along with three-zone climate control. The dashboard has been completely reshaped and now features electronic shift-by-wire, 30-color ambient lighting that complements the new external light bars and illuminated "Atlas" or "Atlas Cross Sport" badging to match.
That dashboard is also home to the new standard 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro instrument cluster display and 12-inch infotainment display. The cabin tech software has been updated for improved responsiveness, and the hardware now supports standard wireless App-Connect for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Six USB type-C ports are spread around the cabin -- some of which feature up to 45 watts of power delivery -- as well as a standard wireless phone charger.
Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go is also standard now as part of the IQ Drive suite of driver assistance technologies. Upper trim levels also now feature emergency brake assist and VW's Travel Assist, which combines adaptive cruise control with lane centering steering assist and enhanced predictive logic.
The new Atlases are underpinned by the same platform as the current models, but replace both the current four-cylinder and V6 engines with a single new 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that promises a better balance of performance and economy. The change marks the end of the VW VR6 engine in the US.
The new mill makes 269 horsepower -- just shy of the now dead VR6's 276 ponies -- but also more torque at 273 pound-feet. More importantly, the turbo's peak torque comes online earlier in the power band (1,550 rpm), which VW claims results in a more responsive feel and a 0.5-second quicker 0-60 mph sprint. The turbocharged Atlas will be offered in front- and all-wheel driven configuration, both featuring the same eight-speed automatic transmission with up to a 5,000-pound towing capacity.
Fuel economy improvements haven't been finalized, but I'm told to expect 5% to 10% improvement over the VR6's current 19-20 combined mpg. Pricing also hasn't been finalized; I'm told to expect the announcement of a marginal increase coming this spring given the improvements and increased standard equipment for each trim level year over year.