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  • Writer's pictureCory Fourniquet

2024 Volkswagen Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport Debut at the Chicago Auto Show

The battle is on for the best three-row, family-hauling crossover. In the past few months alone Honda has given us an all-new Pilot, Toyota has given us an all-new Grand Highlander, and Mazda has given us an all-new CX-90. (The latter two are brand-new models in each automaker’s lineup.)

This has other automakers refreshing and updating their big three-row vehicles to keep pace. Enter the 2024 Volkswagen Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport. We tested an Atlas last year off-road and were thoroughly pleased.

The three-row Atlas and two-row Atlas Cross Sport share the same solid platform with the Cross Sport having a chopped roofline and smaller cargo area without the third row of seats.

For 2024 VW has heavily refreshed its entries into the segment. Each vehicle has received a revised face and rear and a premium interior. Most models get premium LED lighting outside, stealing a design theme from their electric ID models, wearing a full-width LED light bar to show off the strong, masculine lines of the Atlas. We really appreciate the updated and backlit VW logos in the front and rear.

Moving inside, the German automaker has brought us an interior befitting one of their more premium brands such as Audi. Materials and designs make you feel as if you are in a vehicle above the price class of all the competitors. However, it is not without its disappointments. CAN WE PLEASE STOP including the sliders for controlling the volume and climate?!?!

The Atlas we saw at the show was a 7-seat version with a middle bench and a two-seat rear seat. Climbing into the way back is easy thanks to the tip and fold middle row that does so from either side of the vehicle and even works with a child seat secured in place. ALL OTHER AUTOMAKERS SHOULD TAKE NOTE! This is a big benefit for accessing all seats when your primary occupants require the extra protection of child safety seats and boosters. Once in the way back, comfort is good with plenty of headroom and a seating position that is high enough to keep your knees out of your face. Legroom is a little tight, but a sliding second row with plenty of legroom makes seat-position negotiations an easy conversation.

A big note of this update is the consolidation of engine choices from two to one. Gone is the VR6, now gone from all US-bound VW models. In its place is an updated turbocharged inline-4 with similar power and towing numbers from the outgoing VR6. We don’t particularly care for this migration away from 6 cylinders by most automakers, but these turbo 4s are strong little engines in their own right.

All around, the VW Atlas is a strong entry into the segment and we look forward to spending some quality time with it in the future.

The following is from the Volkswagen press release:

  • Major refresh of Atlas family boasts significant interior upgrade with premium materials and standard high-end comfort features, including three-zone Climatronic®, ventilated front seats, and heated steering wheel

  • Enhanced technology with standard 12-inch display, Volkswagen Digital Cockpit Pro, IQ. DRIVE® driver assistance, wireless charging and App-Connect

  • Front and rear treatment benefits from premium lighting on most trims

  • New 2.0-liter turbo powertrain replaces previous four-cylinder and VR6®, brings better performance and improved fuel economy

Herndon, VA — Volkswagen of America, Inc. unveiled the new 2024 Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport at the Chicago Auto Show today. The refreshed seven- and five-seaters offer enhanced technology, upgraded interior designs and materials, and a livelier powertrain.

“The Atlas was the first modern Volkswagen designed, engineered and produced specifically for American buyers, and since its debut, it has become a major player in the U.S. market,” said Pablo Di Si, president and CEO, Volkswagen of America. “The refreshed Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport continue to build on that success, with an elegant new interior and a sophisticated turbocharged engine that improves both performance and the driving experience.”

While the refreshed Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport maintain the same underpinnings of the successful outgoing models, the spacious interior of each vehicle receives a major upgrade for the 2024 model year. Premium materials are adopted throughout, including a leatherette-trimmed soft-touch dash and center console. Front-row door trim and décor flow seamlessly into the dash panel, creating an upscale cockpit; the door treatment is also mirrored in the second row. Available ambient lighting with 30 color choices pairs with innovative backlit dash décor featuring the model name to elevate the new design. Top-of-range models feature quilted leather seats with a diamond pattern.

Comfort features get a boost as well. A heated steering wheel with shift paddles, ventilated front seats and a height-adjustable passenger seat are now standard fare, along with Climatronic® automatic climate control and Voice Control. The center console is redesigned with a storage cubby underneath. Leather seating surfaces and heated rear seats are now available a trim line lower than previous models.

Enhanced technology in the refreshed Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport offers a more connected experience. A 12-inch floating infotainment display is an elegant focal point in the redesigned cockpit, and drivers of every trim level benefit from the 10.25-inch fully configurable Volkswagen Digital Cockpit Pro. Connecting devices is easier than ever with standard wireless App-Connect, wireless charging, and six USB-C ports (eight available) with 45-watt fast charging.

IQ.DRIVE® driver assistance technology, featuring hands-on semi-automatic capability, is now standard as well. On the highway, IQ.DRIVE features lane centering and a capacitive steering wheel to make driving easier. Around town, IQ.DRIVE helps alert you to surprise obstacles in front of you, and keeps an eye around you to help make driving safer. A head-up display and predictive Adaptive Cruise Control are also available.

Outside, model year 2024 brings a new front end design and greater differentiation between Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport. On both cars, a wide chrome four-bar grille is framed by LED headlights with the newly standard Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS). On all but base trims, the Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) wrap around the headlights and continue into an illuminated lightbar that sits atop of an illuminated VW logo, giving the vehicle an unmistakable premium look. A new front fascia with integrated air intakes completes the front end treatment. Atlas Cross Sport models feature gloss-black grille details and a gloss-black “X” design element stretching across the lower fascia, similar to Taos.

At the rear, both models add a larger spoiler, lengthening the overall roofline of the vehicles and giving them a sleeker side profile. All but base trims mirror the front lighting signature in the rear with an illuminated lightbar and VW logo sitting between the LED taillights. Atlas Cross Sport models add a more aggressive rear diffuser than the previous generation, further differentiating the two models.

All trims get new wheel designs, ranging from 18 to 20 inches with machined alloy and black finishes available. R-line® trims up the ante with a gloss-black grille, 21-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and signature R-line badging.

For 2024, the Atlas family will be powered solely by a four-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® engine with 269 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The new engine provides similar power to the outgoing VR6, a bump in torque—which is available over a broader rev range, improving drivability and acceleration—and is anticipated to provide improved fuel economy. Towing capacity remains the same, at 5,000 pounds. An eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard; Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is available across the model lineup.

Further details, specifications, and pricing will be announced ahead of the launch early Q3.

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