SUVs with coupe styling are growing trend and Volkswagen has just revealed a brand-new high-riding model with a sportier profile.
The upside is that, unlike many contemporary SUV coupes, the new Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport manages to look like a good piece of design.
However, the bad news for some is that only customers in North America will be able to buy it from early next year.
Made in America, for Americans
Volkswagen has been building the regular large seven-seater Atlas SUV in Chattanooga, Tennessee for almost three years. Designed to cater for American tastes, and to fit on generous U.S. roads, the normal Atlas is longer and wider than an Audi Q7.
The new Cross Sport version is shorter by only 58 mm, and also keeps the same width and wheelbase. Imagine Audi’s sizeable Q8 crossover for the closest representation of scale and styling. Big haunched wheel arches and a tapered rear windscreen do channel elements of the Q8, although the bluff front end and rear chrome detailing are pure American SUV.
Perhaps exposure to the growing numbers of SUV coupes has dulled the shock of them, but the Atlas Cross Sport manages to look fairly well resolved.
More metal for your money
Whilst there might not be a big V8 engine powering the Atlas Cross Sport, the engine options are still suitably American-flavoured. There is a choice of a naturally aspirated 3.6-litre V6 with 276 hp, or a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol with 235 hp. Forget any ideas of diesel power.
An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard, as is Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system. Choose the right options package and the V6 Cross Sport can tow over 2,200 kg.
Volkswagen will also offer a range of luxury options, including wireless smartphone charging, a 12-speaker audio system, and the Digital Cockpit instrument display for the dashboard.
Although Volkswagen has not yet confirmed prices for the Cross Sport, but the regular Atlas begins at $30,895 – equivalent to £24,500 in the UK. For comparison, here in the UK an entry-level Tiguan costs from £25,350.
Freedom to choose
Whether UK buyers would plump for the Cross Sport is debatable. We may still be in love with SUVs, but the Cross Sport is perhaps too American in flavour to find broad appeal this side of the Atlantic.
More significant is how the Volkswagen Group has finally embraced the trend for SUVs. A decade ago, the collection of brands offered just 6 SUV models for sale. Today, that has swelled to more than 20, with even more new releases set to come in the near future.
From the Seat Arona, through to the Bentley Bentayga, there is now an SUV or crossover option for seemingly everyone in the Volkswagen family. It means we don’t need to be too downhearted about this Atlas Cross Sport passing us by.