Volkswagen is about to ignite the next stage of global SUV strategy. Volkswagen has debuted a new version of the Atlas SUV at the 2018 New York International Auto Show: the Atlas Cross Sport concept.
The new Atlas Cross Sport concept is a five-seat version of the midsize SUV that went on sale in the U.S. in 2017 as a seven-seater. The near-production concept car features a coupe-like profile, an even sportier stance, and a plug-in hybrid drivetrain with 355 horsepower and an anticipated 26 miles of all-electric range. The actual production vehicle is scheduled to launch in the U.S. market starting in 2019, and will be built alongside the Atlas and the Passat sedan in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The Cross Sport earns its name under the hood. It’s a plug-in hybrid, combining the production 276-hp 3.6-liter VR6 in today’s Atlas with a pair of electric motors, one on each axle, and an 18-kWh lithium battery pack. At full acceleration, the system is anticipated to produce 355 hp, enabling a 0-60 mph time of 5.4 seconds. An example of how flexible the MQB (modular transverse matrix) vehicle architecture can be with power sources. The Atlas Cross Sport PHEV concept can be driven in any of five modes: ‘E-Mode’, ‘Hybrid’, ‘GTE,’ ‘Off-road’ or ‘Battery Hold / Battery Charge’. The advanced 4Motion all-wheel-drive system has seven drive modes, from “Eco” and “Comfort” to “Snow and “Sludge & Sand.” The plug-in hybrid system is designed to power the car up to 26 miles on electric energy alone, or be switched into a sport “GTE” setting for unleashing all 494 ft-lbs of torque from the system. There’s even an off-road system that powers the rear axle with electric power only even if the main battery is depleted – ensuring the rear wheels have maximum torque for tough conditions.
The concept vehicle is 190.8 inches long, 68.3 inches tall and 79.9 inches wide. The profile of the Atlas Cross Sport concept combines powerful proportions with sleekly raked C-pillars, as well as short front and rear overhangs. The roof spoiler, which has black side fins, is another distinctive element. The way that the character line transitions directly into the wide, flared wheelarches serves to emphasize its power and presence. The rear wheelarch on the driver’s side features the ‘filler cap’ for connecting the charging plug for the lithium-ion battery; the one on the other side houses an actual fuel filler neck. The 22-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, which are shod with 285/40 tires, have high-gloss polished spokes for a truly premium look. The vehicle features a low sill height of 33.3 inches for ease of loading.
The interior offers a modern take on everything that owners demand from SUVs today, from touch-screen entertainment systems to ample cargo space behind the rear bench seat. The 10.1-inch infotainment system touchscreen is seamlessly integrated with proximity sensors and gesture control. The layout of the graphics changes depending on which driving profile is selected— ‘Snow,’ ‘Sport,’ ‘On-road’ or ‘Off-road’. The 12.3-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit has a resolution of 1,440 x 540 pixels, enabling sophisticated and interactive graphics. The Digital Cockpit display can be reconfigured to show information on driving, navigation and assistance functions as necessary. The driver can also transfer data shown on the touchscreen, such as telephone contact images or CD covers, to the display. As with the infotainment system, a touchscreen is used for climate control settings, including those for the seat heating and ventilation.
While a few details will change when the production version arrives in 2019, the newest VW family member will still be ready to become an American classic of its own.
The Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak pickup truck concept also made its surprising world debut yesterday at the New York International Auto Show. A dual-cab, short-bed pickup truck, the Tanoak concept shows the flexibility of the award-winning MQB platform that the Volkswagen Atlas uses.
Named after a species of tree native to the Pacific Coast in the U.S. (and grows up to 135 feet high), the Atlas Tanoak is the first pickup based on Volkswagen’s MQB architecture. Although there are currently no production plans for the Atlas Tanoak, Volkswagen is keen to gauge the reactions of buyers and media, since pickup trucks are one of the biggest volume segments in the U.S. The MQB architecture is one of the most innovative and flexible technical platforms in the automotive world, spanning vehicles from the European Polo subcompact all the way up to the Atlas midsize SUV. The Atlas Tanoak concept shows that MQB can potentially stretch even further.
The Atlas Tanoak concept uses Volkswagen’s 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. The engine provides power to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission and the 4MOTION® all-wheel-drive system with Active Control. This lets the driver select from various on- and off-road modes within seconds for optimal grip on dry, wet, slick or unpaved surfaces. For tougher off-road use, the pickup also has a mode that provides a low-range gear reduction. Either on- or off-road, the Atlas Tanoak rides on newly designed 20-inch wheels that wear 275/55 tires. The vehicle will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds.
Although the Atlas Tanoak is based on the production SUV, the pickup is completely redesigned. Up to the B-pillar, there are similarities, but the frontal treatment is more rugged, in keeping with a pickup truck’s mission. The headlights and front bumper, using round LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), were redesigned and extend into the side profile. Additional redesigned components include: the engine hood that is significantly raised in middle; the entire grille unit including LED headlights; and the bumper. The Tanoak concept is 214.1 inches long, some 15.8 inches longer than the Atlas, which makes it a large midsize pickup by U.S. standards. The concept vehicle is 79.9 inches wide and 72.6 inches tall, with a wheelbase of 128.3 inches, 11 inches longer, and nearly 2 inches higher than the Atlas seven-seater.
Typical for a pickup, the back of the Tanoak is defined by its low-hinged tailgate. When opened, the 64.1-inch long, 57.1 wide, and 20.9 inches high cargo bed is lengthened by an additional 26.1 inches, effectively extending it to 90.2 inches. Normally, the rail is fixed by the back of the cab, but it can slide the length of the bed and thus doubles as a carrier for things like canoes and ladders. This allows for easy transport of cargo such as bikes or surfboards with the tailgate in place, and ATVs and dirt bikes with the tailgate down. The spare wheel is located under the cargo bed, making it accessible even when fully loaded. The lower part of the rear body is designed both as an underbody shield and a diffuser. Above each exhaust tailpipe sits a rugged towhook.
The Atlas Tanoak concept is designed as a very spacious five-seater. Sporty, contoured seats are used in front, which offer very good lateral support during tough off-road duty. The same applies to the rear seating, with the passengers in the second row sitting on individual seats that match the ergonomic and design quality of the front row. The majority of functions, including the air conditioning, are operated digitally in the Tanoak. The touchscreen infotainment system is positioned high up for easy operation, almost alongside the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit. Both these screens and the controls for the air conditioning merge to form a digitalized cockpit environment. Ambient lighting integrated into the instrument panel and the roofline console immerse the interior in yellow or blue light at night, depending on whether the vehicle is in Off-road or City mode.
The Atlas Tanoak will remain a show car, but depending on public reaction, VW could consider a fresh look at the American pickup by introducing a Volkswagen truck to the U.S. market.
Both the Cross Sport and Tanoak 5-seat concepts are based off the award-winning MQB platform and would be a warm welcome to Atlas model family!