We compare the two midsize 2-row SUVs on paper
Volkswagen showed up late to the three-row crossover party when it introduced the standard Atlas, but the German automaker was quick to jump on the two-row midsize crossover bandwagon with the Atlas Cross Sport. That slightly shorter and sleeker version of the regular Atlas joins a segment that continues to grow in popularity and number. At the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show, we got the chance to take a closer look at the new Atlas Cross Sport, which happened to be parked one booth over from one of its main competitors: The Chevrolet Blazer. Though the two vehicles follow the same basic formula, the differences in execution are considerable. Let’s take a look at how the two midsizers compare on paper.
The 2020 Volkswagen Cross Sport is 2.8 inches shorter than the three-row Atlas, coming in at 195.5 inches long. That makes it 4.1 inches longer than the Blazer. The Cross Sport keeps the same 117.3-inch wheelbase as the Atlas, which is 4.6 inches longer than the Blazer’s. At 67.7 inches tall, the Cross Sport is 2.3 inches lower than the regular Atlas, owing to a raked roofline, but is 0.7 inch taller than the Blazer.
Looks will always be subjective, but with the midsize SUVs only a few dozen feet away from each other on the auto show floor, it was hard not to come to our own conclusions: The Blazer is by far the sportier-looking of the two. Though both have sloping rooflines, the Blazer benefits from a sleek front end design that’s evocative of the Camaro with its narrow headlights and wide-open grille. Meanwhile, the muscular character lines of the three-row Atlas carry over to the Cross Sport variant, giving it a blockier, more rugged appearance.
Interior Design and Quality
Just like the exterior design, the Blazer’s interior takes some big risks with large, Camaro-inspired round HVAC vents with red accents and contrast stitching. The gauge cluster uses physical dials and a central full-color information display. In typical Volkswagen fashion, the Atlas Cross Sport’s cabin design is conservative, but handsome in its own way. The dashboard, door panels, and seats feature more straight lines, giving it a clean, mature look. Higher trim levels receive Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit instrument cluster, which features a 10.25-inch screen. Sitting in the two SUVs back to back, it seemed to us that the VW had more noticeable hard plastics.
Two engine choices will be available in the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, including a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, and a 3.5-liter V-6 making 276 hp and 266 lb-ft. Both come mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, with 4Motion all-wheel drive available as an option. The Blazer, meanwhile, can be had with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I-4 good for 193 hp and 188 lb-ft or a 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 308 hp and 270 lb-ft. For 2020, Chevy added a 2.0-liter turbo-four option slotting between the base engine and V-6, which makes 230 hp and 258 lb-ft. All three engines come backed by a nine-speed automatic, but the base engine is front-wheel-drive only.
Given the Atlas Cross Sport’s greater wheelbase and overall length, it should come as no surprise that it’s also the more spacious of the two. The two-row variant of the Atlas offers 40.4 inches of rear legroom, compared to the Blazer’s 39.6 inches. The Cross Sport also offers 40.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 77.8 cu-ft with the seats folded, versus 30.5 cu-ft behind the Blazer’s rear seats and 64.2 cu-ft with its seats folded.
We don’t yet have pricing details on the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, but we expect the model to start just below the three-row Atlas’ base price of $32,565 USD. The 2020 Chevrolet Blazer starts at $29,995 USD for a front-wheel-drive naturally aspirated 2.5-liter model. The mid-level turbocharged 2.0-liter Blazer starts at $33,995 USD, while the V-6 AWD Premier trim is priced from $46,795 USD.