NY LIVE: Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport concept

NY LIVE: Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport concept

by Byron Hurd

Sawed-off Atlas would slot just above Tiguan.

Volkswagen has arrived in New York with a handful of concept cars aimed squarely at the truck-hungry U.S. market. Here, we have the Atlas Cross Sport concept--a shortened, two-row Atlas built with an eye for style more so than practicality.

If you spy a bit of Ford Edge in these lines, you're not alone. The shortened Atlas concept would fill a similar role in Volkswagen's lineup to that of Ford's premium five-seater.

Volkswagen's concept is 7.5 inches shorter than the full-sized Atlas on which it is based, making it just short of 191 inches long. It rides on the same wheelbase, so the size difference will only impact the space behind the second row.

Like most German concepts, the Atlas Cross Sport is nominally electrified. VW claims it's powered by a plug-in hybrid powertrain producing 355 horsepower. 276 of those ponies are contributed by a 3.6L V6; the remainder come courtesy of two electric motors. The front motor produces 54 horsepower and 162lb-ft of torque; the rear, 114 horsepower and 199-lb ft.

Juice comes from an 18-kWh battery lithium-ion battery. A "mild" hybrid alternative producing just 310 would also be in the cards. Aside from a smaller (2.0-kWh) battery, it would be essentially identical to the powerplant in the PHEV model.

The company's announcement goes straight to the point: "An innovative range of SUVs is an important element in Volkswagen's growth strategy for the U.S. market," it says, and the company claims this concept is further proof that it has a "serious SUV strategy."

For a concept, the details of the Atlas Cross Sport seem to be thoroughly fleshed-out. We wouldn't be surprised to hear that the company plans to put it into production (though with a gasoline model anchoring the lineup) within the next year or two. Stay tuned.

Live photos by Brian Williams.