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Auto Show:  2018 New York Auto Show

Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Concept: New York Auto Show


author photo by Colin Ryan March 2018

What Is It?

The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Concept is a 5-seater version of the still-new 7-seater Atlas midsize crossover SUV that's currently in production. And it's another step in the direction of making the Atlas a family of vehicles instead of just one product. Volkswagen has also unveiled the Tanoak midsize pickup concept at the 2018 New York show, which is based on the same platform.

The Cross Sport concept is 7.5 inches shorter than the regular Atlas, but the wheelbase (the distance between the two axles) remains the same, which can bring benefits in ride quality and passenger space. The cabin is indeed roomy and the dashboard houses Volkswagen's Digital Cockpit, a 12.3-in high-resolution configurable display that replaces the usual driver's instrument cluster. A central 10.1-in touchscreen with proximity sensors, meanwhile, allows the driver and front passenger to control the infotainment system and other vehicle functions by using gestures. Some information on this screen can also be transferred to the driver's display.

The Atlas platform is able to accommodate a variety of drive systems. This particular vehicle is a plug-in hybrid, with a 3.6-liter V6 gasoline engine joined by two electric motors powered by a lithium-ion battery (which is located in the central tunnel). One electric motor is up front; the second drives the rear wheels. Total system output is a gutsy 355 horsepower and 494 lb-ft of torque. VW gives a possible range of 26 miles using electric power alone. The transmission is a 6-speed automatic (VW's DSG transmission, which is technically an automated manual).

This arrangement of gasoline engine and electric propulsion allows for several driving modes, including an all-wheel-drive off-road setting, where the rear motor can still function even if the lithium-ion battery is low on charge. That's because the V6 becomes an on-board generator.

The company also mentions that a 310-hp mild (what might be described as "regular") hybrid setup -- with the same gasoline engine and electric motors, but with a smaller battery -- could fit just as easily.

Will They Ever Sell It?

Yes. Volkswagen says it will go into production at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant in 2019. So it might debut as a 2020 model. We can assume the street-going version won't come standard with those huge 22-in alloy wheels, though. Big rims are a typical concept conceit.

Why It's Important

VW has found that more than half of its recent customers are choosing crossovers instead of the company's sedan and hatchback offerings. So having more of those vehicles in dealerships can only be a good thing from a sales point of view. If the eventual production version of the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Concept is relatively affordable -- especially any hybrid versions -- then that's good from a buyer's standpoint as well.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Concept: New York Auto Show - Autotrader