VW Cross Sport Concept previews a 5-passenger Atlas for 2019

A plug-in hybrid powertrain is estimated to deliver 355 horsepower and 26 miles of EV range.

Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing
2 min read
Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Concept

The next step in Volkswagen's SUV offensive is a five-passenger version of the Atlas , and this Cross Sport shows the shape of things to come. Despite only being a concept for now, Volkswagen has already confirmed that a smaller Atlas will go into production in 2019, and it'll be built at the company's manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Volkswagen says the Atlas Cross Sport Concept is a full 7.5 inches shorter than the seven-passenger Atlas in length, though it retains the same wheelbase. Like the standard Atlas, the Cross Sport is built on Volkswagen's scalable MQB architecture.

There's certainly a striking similarity between the Cross Sport Concept and its big brother Atlas. LED headlights and daytime running lights flow into the grille crossbars, which also light up on this concept (please don't bring those to production, Volkswagen). Big 22-inch wheels fill out the wells at all four corners, and around back, exaggerated tailpipe housings are meant to mimic the LED taillights above.

Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Concept
Enlarge Image
Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Concept

Tone down the 22-inch wheels and take away the light-up grille crossbars and it's not hard to imagine what the production version will look like.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Cross Sport is powered by the same 276-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 as the production Atlas, but the concept adds a pair of two electric motors, one at the front and another in back. Volkswagen says the front motor makes an additional 54 horsepower and 162 pound-feet, while the rear motor adds 114 horsepower and 199 pound-feet. Both are powered by an 18-kWh lithium-ion battery housed in the car's center tunnel. And because hybrid output math is wonky, total system output is rated at 355 horsepower. Volkswagen says this'll scoot the Cross Sport Concept to 60 miles per hour in 5.4 seconds, with a top speed of 130 mph. All-electric range is said to be 26 miles.

While no specifics are available, Volkswagen says a conventional mild hybrid version of this same powertrain would make 310 horsepower. It's unclear if that means both a mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrain will be available in the production model. But we like where VW's head is on this one.

Volkswagen says its 12.3-inch Digital Cockpit is housed in the Cross Sport's cockpit, and a second 10.1-inch touchscreen houses vehicle infotainment functions on the center stack. The interior is in keeping with the horizontal theme seen on the larger Atlas.

It's unclear exactly how much of this will make it into production, but it's not hard to imagine a road-going version of the Cross Sport Concept. We'll know much more by the time this thing starts rolling off Chattanooga assembly lines next year.

Volkswagen previews new SUV with Atlas Cross Sport Concept

See all photos