2024 Volkswagen Atlas & Atlas Cross Sport First Drive Review

2024 Volkswagen Atlas & Atlas Cross Sport First Drive Review

Saugerties, NY – The Volkswagen Atlas was introduced for 2018, topping the automaker’s lineup when it replaced the Touareg. It enjoyed success from the start, but it wasn’t without a few issues. Its interior was plastic-heavy and didn’t look the price, and its engines could be gruff and noisy.

That’s addressed with a makeover for 2024, which includes both the three-row Atlas and its two-row sibling, the Atlas Cross Sport. The basic structure is unchanged, but there is new exterior styling, a new engine, and updated interior. The two are virtually the same vehicle, save for that seating, and they share the updates equally.

Release Date: The new 2024 Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport should be arriving at dealers in August of 2023.

Pricing and trims for the 2024 VW Atlas & Atlas Cross Sport

Below, full pricing for the 2024 models in the US and Canada. There’s a table with all trims and pricing for both models at the end of this article.

Updated Atlas starts at $37,725 US and $49,995 CAD

Across the US, the Atlas will be offered in eight flavours, with the entry-level Atlas SE FWD starting at $37,725. Topping out at $52,455 for the Atlas SEL-Premium R-Line AWD. The new Atlas Peak Edition SE AWD goes for $46,555.

In Canada, the Atlas is offered in four trim levels, including a new-for-2024 Peak Edition that gives it a more rugged appearance with black-and-silver cladding, black wheels, and all-terrain tires, although there aren’t any off-road upgrades to its suspension.

The Atlas begins at $49,995 for the Comfortline; $53,995 for the Peak Edition; $56,995 for the Highline; and $59,995 for the Execline R-Line, all before a destination fee of $2,050. Available options, depending on the trim, are a panoramic sunroof, larger wheels, and second-row captain’s chairs that turn the Atlas from a seven-seater into six.

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New Atlas Cross Sport starts at $36,715 US and $48,895 CAD

Seven different Atlas Cross Sports will be on tap, starting at $36,715 for the Atlas Cross Sport SE FWD. The range-topping Atlas Cross Sport SEL Premium R-Line AWD jumps up to $51,445.

In Canada, the Atlas Cross Sport comes in three trims; it lacks the Peak Edition, although it possibly might be added in future. The three trims are the Comfortline at $48,895; the Highline at $55,895; and the Execline R-Line at $58,895, all before that $2,050 destination fee.

Good-bye V6 engine, hello more powerful 2.0L turbo

2024 VW Atlas & Cross Sport Engine Specs
2024 VW Atlas Cross Sport in silver driving front view
2024 VW Atlas Cross Sport. Photo: Daniel Rufiange

The previous Atlas and outgoing Cross Sport had a choice of a turbocharged 2.0-litre four cylinder that made 235 horsepower, found in the base trims, or a 3.6-litre V6 producing 276 horsepower.

Peppier turbo with more power and torque

Both are gone, replaced with a new 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 269 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive (AWD), known as 4Motion in Volkswagen’s vocabulary (standard on all models in Canada).

The general impression is that you’re driving something that isn’t quite as large as it is… the ride is smooth and composed, the steering is light and responsive, and tightens up at speed.

Despite being smaller than the V6 it replaces, this new engine is preferable to it. It’s peppy, it delivers its power over a wide range, it has little difficulty passing at higher speeds, and it handles city driving very well.

2024 VW Atlas in red front view driving
2024 VW Atlas: Daniel Rufiange

The eight-speed automatic transmission is a good fit to it with its smooth shifts. It takes regular-grade gasoline, and its combined city-highway fuel efficiency runs from 10.8 to 11.5 L/100 km for the various Atlas trims, and 10.8 L/100 km for the Cross Sport.

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Atlas towing capacity remains the same

Although it has two fewer cylinders than the old V6, maximum towing capacity is unchanged at 5,000 lbs.

2024 VW Atlas Cross Sport in silver side viedw
2024 VW Atlas Cross Sport. Photo: Daniel Rufiange

Nothing changes in the chassis, but the new engine seems to make it feel a bit more nimble in its handling. The ride is smooth and composed; the steering is light and responsive, and tightens up at speed; and the general impression is that you’re driving something that isn’t quite as large as it is.

VW Atlas Makeover Inside & Out

The makeover includes new front and rear styling, a more upright front end with larger grille, and new wheel designs. The interior receives most of the changes, with more soft-touch materials, redesigned dash, a “floating” console with storage under it, and standard heated and ventilated seats on all trims.

Technology-wise, the Atlas and Cross Sport receive up to eight available USB-C ports with 45-watt fast-charging, and with a port near the rearview mirror for powering a dash cam. Most notably, the eight-inch centre screen on the outgoing sport-utes trades up to a 12-inch tablet-style touchscreen, plus a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster.

The styling updates also wipe out the previous models’ dials and buttons for the climate control and other functions, and now they’re handled primarily through the centre screen.

The issue is that most of it isn’t always easy to use, such as touchpoint sliders below the screen that handle temperature and stereo volume, and which are hard to see and often harder to operate. It’s one of the few missteps on this otherwise well-done makeover.

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Takeaway: are VW’s refreshed, larger SUVs worth it?

The new 2024 Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport should be arriving at dealers in August of 2023. They’re towards the upper end of the price scale for the segment, but they’re good-looking and comfortable; the new engine is a welcome addition; and overall, the infotainment system aside, the automaker has done a good job updating this largest of its SUV offerings.

Shopping for a new SUV? Here are some more redesigned and new 2024 models worth looking at.

Full 2024 Atlas & Cross Sport Pricing, Trims, Specs, and Images

Pricing

Trim LevelU.S. MSRP (w/out destination)
Trim LevelCanadian MSRP (w/out destination)

Specs

Images

Photos: Daniel Rufiange