Volkswagen Unveils Newest Atlas Cross Sport SUV Concept

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Vehicle buyers seem to have an unquenchable thirst for SUVs and Volkswagen is only too happy to oblige, in this case by previewing a new Atlas concept at the New York International Auto Show.

The Cross Sport sits on the same Volkswagen MQB platform and has the same wheelbase as the three-row Atlas, but it's 7.5 inches shorter at 190.8 inches long.

Since the Atlas is based on Volkswagen's modular transverse matrix (MQB), it can be built with all manner of drive systems, including a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

"There's no such thing as standing still in the auto industry", said Hinrich J. Woebcken, Volkswagen Group of America's chief executive, who noted that the Atlas "symbolizes a turnaround for the brand in the U.S", Woebcken added.

The concept has a bolder two-bar grille design instead of the three bars on the current Atlas, but it picks up the LED headlights and LED daytime running lights. The near-production concept vehicle 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 concept's system puts out a combined 355 hp, and VW says that it also offers 26 miles of all-electric range on a full charge.

The 12.3-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit has a resolution of 1,440 x 540 pixels, enabling sophisticated and interactive graphics.

There's a 10.1-inch infotainment system nestled in the upper section of the dashboard, while the lower section features an additional display for climate controls and other vehicle functions - similar in concept to the new dual-screen setup used by Audi and Jaguar Land Rover.

Production of the five-seat Atlas will start in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2019. Top speed for this powertrain is claimed at 130mph (209km/h). A conventional mild hybrid version of the same powertrain would make 310 hp.

Volkswagen also says a mild-hybrid version of the powertrain is possible, with the same electric motors and gas engine but a smaller 2.0kWh battery.

A second and more powerful electric motor-85 kw (114 hp) and 199 lb-ft-is added between the rear wheels, to provide on-demand all-wheel drive.

The Atlas Cross Sport concept is equally suited for a mild-hybrid powertrain: Volkswagen says that a smaller 2.0-kWh battery paired with the same V6 engine could be tuned to produce 310 hp, which would give it a 0 to 60 miles per hour sprint time of 6.5 seconds. Top speed would remain at 130mph (209km/h) according to the company. In battery-hold mode, the engine maintains charge state to anticipate driving situations such as all-electric driving in an urban center.

VW has outfitted the concept plug-in hybrid with a choice between E-Mode, Hybrid, GTE, Off-road and Battery Hold/Battery charge modes. The all-wheel-drive-mode control behind the shifter even has its own display and LED lighting. The Digital Cockpit display can be reconfigured to show information on driving, navigation and assistance functions as necessary. VW has done away with a traditional shifter, replacing it with a smaller selector lever that handles gear changes. In Hybrid mode-the default-the Cross Sport blends battery and engine power, and recovers braking energy to recharge the batteries.

In addition to all the above modes, the 4MOTION Active Control offers seven different driving profiles in the Atlas Cross Sport concept: "On-road" ('Comfort" and "Eco" modes), "Off-road" ('Rocks, ' "Sludge & Sand" and "Gravel" modes), "Sport" and "Snow'.

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