We first saw the Atlas Cross Sport as a concept at the 2018 New York Auto Show.
It has now evolved to prototype form on its way to a 2020 model year.
The production model will have a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine standard.
However, we sampled the 3.6-liter V6 with 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque.
The Cross Sport can tow 5,000 pounds and will be available with a tow package that includes an updated cooling system and alternator.
In the heat of Death Valley the Cross Sport kept occupants cool while pulling hills from sea level to 4,000 feet in elevation.
Hot-weather testing also ensures that the battery and brake lines can withstand the heat as can the bearing and the suspension components.
Even the exhaust system and firewall have been wired up to monitor these flaming temperatures.
The Cross Sport has the same wheelbase as the Atlas, but it's about 6 inches shorter overall and features a more sloping roofline.
No word on pricing but we expect the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport to be on sale early next year. Keep scrolling for more photos.