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VW Atlas Cross Sport concept shows plug-in hybrid possible in future

29 March 2018

Chance of being mass-produced: Done deal.

As promised, VW has brought a more compact version of the Atlas SUV to the New York Auto Show.

Also it is part and parcel of the SUV drive begun by VW.

VW hasn't said exactly what drivetrain will be found inside the production 5-seat Atlas next year, but it's dropping some heavy hints now. The Cross Sport will be the model which will bridge the gap between the standard three-row seating Atlas and the Tiguan. It's a smaller five-seat version of the seven-seat Atlas, which was one of our favorite cars past year.

The Chicken Tax is still in effect, of course, so it would take a North American Free Trade Agreement assembly plant, or a few exemptions such as Australia, to build the Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak, which made its debut in concept form at the New York International Auto Show Wednesday. VW hasn't just focused on making the Tanoak practical, but the company has put some serious effort into making the truck go off-road. However, this particular Atlas is shorter in length which also allows it to have shorter overhangs for a sportier look.

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Volkswagen is now presenting - at the New York International Auto Show - two new versions of the Atlas developed for the U.S.: the Atlas Cross Sport1 and the Atlas Tanoak1. Headroom for the second row may be a little tighter - a trade-off for the slanted C-pillars and rakish roofline with panoramic moonroof that stretches into a rear roof spoiler with black fins. Volkswagen said it doesn't yet have plans to put the concept into production, but is using it to gauge potential consumer interest, given the brand's volume aspirations of reaching 5 percent of the USA light-vehicle market within 10 years.

Styling highlights include new LED headlights that blend in with the two-bar grille better than on the seven-seat Atlas thanks to the fact that the grille crossbars double as LED DRLs. Volkswagen has butched up its Atlas-based sheet metal, including a bump in the middle of the engine hood, though in the end, this pickup is a Honda Ridgeline competitor, not an F-150/Chevrolet Silverado/Ram 1500 competitor.

Moving inside, a 10.1-in touchscreen with proximity sensors and gesture control provides access to all infotainment functions for both driver and front passenger, while the 12.3-in Volkswagen Digital Cockpit with 1,440 x 540 pixel resolution lets the driver control and view driving mode and navigation information.

Volkswagen chose to use hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains with the Atlas Sport, at least for for the concept auto. The active LED lighting features are replicated at the rear.

The concept is powered by the company's 276hp 3.6-liter V6 engine paired to an eight-speed automatic and the 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

VW Atlas Cross Sport concept shows plug-in hybrid possible in future