Volkswagen Cuts Atlas Down to Make Cross Sport Hybrid

Volkswagen's latest concept is a look at a five-seat sporty version of the Atlas crossover. It's shorter than the Atlas, and uses a plug-in hybrid system that makes more power while allowing all-electric trips up to 42 km.

The Atlas Cross Sport cuts 191 mm off of the length of the Atlas, but keeps the same wheelbase. That trades the third row, along with some cargo space, for sportier looks. While this is just a concept, it's intended to be a preview of the production Cross Sport that will enter production next year.

The styling is largely Atlas, but with some changes. Most obvious is the shorter length and the more chunky and raked C-pillars giving a more distinctive roofline that comes with it. But there are other differences, like a twin-bar grille instead of the three-bars of the seven-seat model. The grille bars are illuminated with LEDs. Out back, there is an aluminum accent that leads into the LED taillights.

Inside, the dash is dominated by the 10.1-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital cockpit display.

The Atlas Cross Sport concept uses the 3.6L V6 from the Atlas that makes 276 hp and 266 lb-ft. In the concept, the gas engine is augmented by two electric motors. One in the front that makes 54 hp and 162 lb-ft, and one in the rear capable of 114 hp and 199 lb-ft. Total system power is 355 hp. Electricity comes from an 18-kWh lithium-ion battery that is in the center tunnel. Volkswagen says that the plug-in allows for a range of up to 42 km in all-electric mode.

Volkswagen says that the Cross Sport concept could also use a non-plug-in hybrid system that would use the same engine and motors but a smaller 2.0-kWh battery. That system would have 310 hp.

The production Atlas Cross Sport might not get the LED grille and 22-inch wheels of the concept car, but the rest of it looks production-ready. We'll see how much of the concept car's style makes it to the factory when it arrives next year.

Trading two seats for better looks 3/27/2018 9:00:00 PM