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2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Auto Channel Review By Larry Nutson

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2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport:
Ride in style

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau

An automotive industry publication recently ran an editorial with the headline: “EV transition coming but it will take time.”

Automakers have come to understand this and therefore will continue to offer ICE-powered and hybrid-powered vehicles in the near term. Actually, the transition to EVs appears to be a moving target at the moment. The time frame for mass-market consumers to transition to EVs is a bit open with rising interest rates, high EV battery costs and low gasoline prices.

That said, Volkswagen has given its gasoline-powered 5-seat, 2-row Atlas Cross Sport a freshening and updating for 2024. The Atlas Cross Sport is doing decently in the market with year-to-date sales through the third quarter 2023 up by 6 percent.

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The refreshed Atlas Cross Sport features an elegant new interior and a refined turbocharged engine that improves both performance and driving experience. The 2024 Atlas Cross Sport is 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, along with an increase in torque—which is available over a broader rev range, improving drivability and acceleration. An eight-speed automatic transmission moves the engine power to the wheels. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard on the SE and SE w/Technology models. Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is available across the model lineup.

Of note, the EPA-estimated 22 mpg combined, 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway fuel economy ratings for the AWD configuration are 2 to 3 mpg better in the highway rating than either of the previous two engines offered in the 2023 model. 

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The interior has been updated with premium materials throughout, including a leatherette-trimmed soft-touch dash and center console. Front-row door trim blends seamlessly into the dash panel. Rear door trim is similarly new. Available ambient lighting with 30 color choices pairs and backlit dash décor are welcoming. Quilted leather seats with a diamond stitching pattern as well as heated rear-seats are available.

A heated steering wheel, shift paddles, ventilated front seats and a height-adjustable passenger seat are now standard. VW’s Climatronic automatic climate control, Voice Control and a redesigned center console with a storage cubby underneath add convenience.

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Atlas Cross Sport is offered in five trim levels for the 2024 model year—SE, SE w/ Technology, SEL, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line.

VW’s IQ.DRIVE suite of driver assistance features is standard on all models and provides a comprehensive list of collision warning, collision intervention, and driving control assistance features.

The 2024 Atlas Cross Sport SE with FWD is priced at $36,715. 4Motion all-wheel drive is $1,900 additional at $38,615. The Cross Sport SE w/ Tech starts at $40,655 MSRP for FWD and $42,555 for the 4Motion all-wheel drive model. 

The Cross Sport SEL model is priced at $47,435 MSRP, and the Cross Sport SEL R-Line starts at $48,885 MSRP. The top-of-the-line Cross Sport SEL Premium R-Line model is priced at $51,445 MSRP. These three models include 4Motion all-wheel drive as standard. Destination charge for all is $1,350.

For this 2024 model drive experience I drove a SEL Premium R-Line finished in Kingfisher Blue Metallic with a Chalk and Titan Black leather interior. My previous Atlas Cross Sport drive experience was in a model with the VR6. I like that engine very much and am sad to see it go. The new turbo 2.0-L performs nicely with good low-end torque delivering quick acceleration and good mid-range performance for highway merging as well as passing maneuvers. There is the characteristic NVH of a 4-cylinder that is ever present, but not to a fault. 

Ride and handling is nicely compliant with composed and confident road manners that will please the typical buyer. The 265/45 all-season tires mounted on 21-inch wheels do a good job dealing with potholed city streets, providing decent road grip and not making intruding cabin noise on the open highway.

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The Cross Sport has a very roomy interior and lots of cargo space. Not being too lengthy helps take out some of the stress in navigating a large, crowded city. The 12-inch infotainment display provides navigation, audio system and HVAC controls. An easy access button below the screen brings up HVAC controls in one touch. Audio touch-sensitive controls are mounted below the screen and are, however, not illuminated at night.

More facts and figures about the Chattanooga Tennessee built Atlas Cross Sport can be found at The Atlas Cross Sport is covered by a four year/50,000-mile warranty and has scheduled maintenance services for 2 years or 20,000 miles for no additional charge.

I’ll share that a daughter of mine and her husband have a 2022 Cross Sport. They are pleased overall with their purchase. Their car has the VR6 because that’s what was available back when new vehicle inventories were low due to supply chain issues. Most notably and all-important, they are very pleased with their VW dealer.

Happy motoring!

© 2023 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

About Larry Nutson, The Chicago Car Guy

Larry has been the executive producer for The Auto Channel for more than 20 years.

Larry is a graduate mechanical engineer and an automobile enthusiast at heart. "I’ve enjoyed a diverse automotive corporate career that began in product planning and expanded into marketing and communications. I’m established as a successful contractor, a founder of the Individual Communicators Network (ICN) and operated a well-regarded 1000-home residential property management service. I'm equally at ease with technical matters, strategic planning, architectural plans, or communicating to an audience. Project management suits me well and I love to travel.

A Founding member and past-Chairman of the Individual Communicators Network. Past chairperson of the SAE International Public Affairs Committee. Public relations services for SAE Congress and Formula SAE. Sponsorship representative for and early-supporter of the Woodward Dream Cruise, Detroit, Michigan.

Independent management and communications professional since 1997.

Guest commentator on Drive Chicago-WLS 890AM, Consumer Guide Automotive Car Stuff Podcast, KRTK 93.3 Automotive Insights, Shunpiker's Journal-Michigan Business Network and Talk Radio. Executive Producer for The Auto Channel. Contributing writer to Blog and Chicago Tribune/Autos.

Past member of the Board and Treasurer of the Midwest Automotive Media Association

Specialties: Brand Communication, Event Planning and Management, Government Liaison, Automotive Marketing, Automotive Product Evaluation, Education Advocacy, Homeowner Association Management, German Language