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From the moment I saw the VW Atlas a few years ago, I thought that VW had made something special. The body “look” makes it stand out with certain “attitude” like it has vigor and is not afraid to get dirty. The Cross Sport version eliminates the 3rd row of seats in the back and ads more power. I say it is one of the best looking mid size SUV’s today.

I drove one in the city and through some dirt roads in San Bernardino and I was quite impressed. The optional V6 motor delivers 276 HP and the eight speed transmission is very smooth, delivering strong acceleration. I also drove one with the 4 cylinder base motor and despite of it’s turbocharger it felt like it needed a bit more push. I prefer the AWD system since it improves the car road holding capabilities. This AWD is offered with either engine choice.

The black interior is simple and well designed. A bit minimalistic, but well done. Quality has been very high with Volkswagen and the Atlas Cross Sport is a good example of that. I like to see some knobs in cars and the designers have done a good job incorporating the 8 inch screen and manual controls for the audio. The screen takes a very light touch to work. And all the controls are found on the steering wheel as well. The Atlas I drove had a Fender audio system with 480 watts and 12 speakers. Nice. The nav system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android and there is a Wi-Fi hotspot so you can keep connected at all times. VW offers Car-Net which allows you to start the car with you cell phone. The voice recognition didn’t work so well for me. But perhaps with more time I could have learned to work it better.

The Atlas Cross Sport is big inside. When you fold the rear seat you end up with a 78 cubit feet trunk. At the front , the layout makes it feel really wide and pleasant to be in. The rear seats look to be a lot larger that the competitors. Traveling with an Atlas Cross Sport would be pleasant no matter where you sit in.

Gas consumption was a bit higher than expected with only 18-19 mpg in the city. And that is about the only thing I would like to see improved. Pricing star in the low $30’s and there is even an “R” version that includes fancier wheels and two tone interior but the premium I could not justify. Would I recommend it ? for styling and roominess definitely. It does look good !