Volkswagen in North America has taken the covers off its new Atlas Cross Sport, a five-seater SUV featuring a coupé-like roofline.

The fresh-faced Cross Sport (following 2018's concept of the same name) is some 70 mm shorter than the seven-seater Atlas despite sharing its 2 980 mm wheelbase. That, says VW, results in a properly spacious cabin and luggage compartment.

In terms of exterior styling, the new Atlas Cross Sport is set apart from its larger sibling by its three-bar grille and distinctive lighting signature. There’s also a new front bumper and a “subtly sculpted” bonnet.

In profile, the Cross Sport features a steeply raked rear pillar and rear hatch, while new lights and a model-specific rear bumper are employed round back. Of course, VW will offer the newcomer in R-Line trim, adding more aggressively styled bumpers, piano black trim up front and 21-inch alloy wheels.

Inside, the Cross Sport receives further upgrades over the Atlas in the form of a redesigned steering wheel, stitching accents on the door inserts and seats, and various new technology features (such as wireless smartphone charging). Top-spec models will boast items such as heated rear seats, rear sunshades and a 12-speaker Fender premium audio system.

Engine options will mirror those of the Atlas, which means there'll be a choice of a turbocharged 2,0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a naturally aspirated 3,6-litre V6 unit. The sole transmission on offer will be an eight-speed automatic.

“Building off the success of the Atlas seven-seater midsize SUV, we see an opportunity for a five-seater model that offers even more style and almost as much interior space,” said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America.

“We look forward to entering this growing segment with the Atlas Cross Sport, which offers outstanding Volkswagen technology, driver-assist features, style, and value.”

The Atlas Cross Sport will be built alongside the Atlas and Passat at VW’s Chattanooga assembly plant in the United States. From what we understand, the Atlas Cross Sport is not currently in Volkswagen South Africa’s planning, although a report from August 2018 suggested the German firm’s local arm was “reconsidering” importing the seven-seater Atlas.