This is the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Concept, which is making its debut at the 2018 New York International Auto Show after being previewed in sketch form earlier. Essentially a five-seat version of the seven-seat Atlas SUV that was revealed in 2016, the Atlas Sport Concept is scheduled to be launched in production form for the United States market in 2019.

While it may share part of its name with its larger sibling, the Atlas Cross Sport Concept features a sportier-looking exterior that is lower slung in appearance. The concept also has a more sloping roof that leads into a rakish rear window, along with a set of 22-inch alloy wheels shod with 285/40 profile tyres.

The headlamps themselves are different from the seven-seat Atlas, and the daytime running lights match up neatly with the illuminated slats on the grille. Meanwhile, the taillights take the same shape as those on the bigger Atlas, albeit toned down in term of size. An aluminium trim piece is seen extending laterally across the bumper as well.

In terms of dimensions, the concept measures 4,846 mm long, 2,029 mm wide and 1,734 mm tall. For comparison, the seven-seat Atlas is 5,037 mm in length, 1,979 mm wide and 1,768 mm tall. Both are underpinned by Volkswagen’s modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform.

Moving inside, the concept’s layout is nearly identical to that of the seven-seat Atlas, but there are more gizmos here to befit its status as a show car. Therefore, there are three displays, one each for the instrument cluster (12.3-inch), infotainment system (10.1-inch) and climate control system.

A minimalistic centre console is also present, one that features a unique-looking gear lever and buttons that reflect the car’s eco-friendly powertrain (more on that later). There’s also a selector for the 4Motion Active Control, which offers a number of modes – On-road (Comfort and Eco), Off-road (Rocks, Sludge & Sand and Gravel), Sport and Snow.

The Atlas Cross Sport Concept uses the same 3.6 litre V6 FSI engine as the Atlas, which makes 276 hp and 361 Nm of torque. However, the concept comes with an electric motor in both the front (54 hp and 220 Nm) and rear (114 hp and 270 Nm) axles.

These motors draw power from an 18 kWh lithium-ion battery housed in the centre tunnel. Overall system output for the plug-in hybrid powertrain is rated at 355 hp and 670 Nm, which is enough to get the concept from zero to 96 km/h in 5.4 seconds, and on to a top speed of 209 km/h.

There are a five modes available for the PHEV – E-Mode, Hybrid, GTE, Off-road and Battery Hold/Battery Charge. The first allows for an electric-only range of up to 42 km, and should the battery’s charge drop below a certain level, Hybrid mode is engaged. Battery Hold allows drivers to reserve the battery’s state of charge for later use in the city, for instance.

In GTE mode, the emphasis is on performance whereby the V6 and electric motors are both called upon to deliver the maximum system output. As for Off-road, the vehicle stays in all-wheel drive mode, with the front electric motor – supplied with energy by the V6 engine – is employed exclusively as a generator and is the energy source for the electric motor on the rear axle.

Alternatively, the Atlas Cross Sport Concept could also features a mild hybrid powertrain that uses the same setup as before, but with a smaller 2 kWh battery. In this configuration, system output is down to 310 hp, resulting in a slower 0-96 km/h time of 6.5 seconds.

The production version of the Atlas Cross Sport Concept will be built alongside the seven-passenger Atlas and the Passat sedan in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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