Over the past year, Volkswagen has increased and revamped its SUV offerings for a US market that can’t get enough of them.
Last year, the automaker launched the Atlas as its flagship SUV, revamped its Tiguan compact SUV, and nixed the Touareg midsize SUV for the 2018 model year.
On Tuesday, Volkswagen unveiled the Atlas Cross Sport concept ahead of the New York International Auto Show. It’s a smaller five-seat version of the seven-seat Atlas, which was one of our favorite cars last year.
Volkswagen says it will begin producing a five-seat Atlas based on the Cross Sport concept next year.
The Atlas Cross Sport has a more streamlined profile than the Atlas, is 7.5 inches shorter, and features a plug-in hybrid drivetrain that can produce 355 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque.
With that drivetrain, Volkswagen estimates the Atlas Cross Sport would be able to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 130 mph.
While the Atlas Cross Sport has the same, 3.6-liter V6 FSI engine as the original Atlas, it adds two electric motors powered by an 18-kWh lithium-ion battery.
Volkswagen says the vehicle defaults to an all-electric mode that has 26 miles of range. As the battery is exhausted, the V6 gasoline engine gradually takes over.
Many of the vehicle’s interior features are controlled via a 10.1-inch touchscreen, and the driver can monitor the vehicle’s stats on a digital 12.3-inch instrument panel.
Volkswagen said it could also apply the Atlas Cross Sport concept to a mild hybrid powertrain that would feature a 2-kWh battery, produce 310 horsepower, accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, and match the plug-in hybrid’s top speed of 130 mph.
Before revamping its SUV lineup, Volkswagen had struggled to make headway in the US market because of its reliance on smaller passenger cars — a strategy that was successful in Europe, Asia, and South America, but didn’t align with Americans’ preferences for larger vehicles.
On Wednesday, VW revealed its Atlas Tanoak pickup-truck concept.