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2020 VW Atlas Cross Sport SEL Premium R Line. Photo: Volkswagen

I just turned in the keys on a 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, a slightly smaller and sportier version of the seven-passenger VW Atlas.

The big picture: SUVs are the clear preference for consumers these days, so manufacturers are carving up the SUV market to make sure there's an offering for everyone.

What's new: The Atlas Cross Sport has only two rows of seating, not three like its big brother, providing seating for five and more cargo space behind the second row.

  • Without that third row for passengers, the Cross Sport has a lower roof line, which instantly gives it a sportier silhouette.
  • The front end is more stylish than the original too, but it's the rear that's so striking.

What hasn't changed: almost everything else. The Cross Sport is just a prettier, more athletic-looking Atlas.

  • The interior is clean and functional, as you'd expect in a VW, but has a little too much hard plastic for a vehicle in this price category.
  • Driver assistance technology is the same as in the larger Atlas: adaptive cruise control (including in stop-and-go traffic), automatic emergency brake assist, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring and automatic high beams.
  • Lane-keeping assist and lane-departure alerts are available on higher trim levels.

Pricing: The 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport starts at starts at $31,565 — $1,000 less than the larger, three-row model — and tops out a little over $50,000.

The bottom line: Unless you're moving a crowd, the Atlas Cross Sport is more desirable than the original seven-seater.

Go deeper

Oct 18, 2020 - Health

Infectious-disease expert: Scott Atlas' herd immunity claims are "pseudoscience"

Michael Osterholm, a renowned infectious-disease expert, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that a "herd immunity" theory reportedly invoked by one of President Trump's favorite coronavirus advisers "is the most amazing combination of pixie dust and pseudoscience I've ever seen."

Context: Senior administration officials, who spoke anonymously with reporters last week in a call scheduled by the White House, said that allowing "those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection" is the "most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity," per the New York Times and Washington Post.

In cyber espionage, U.S. is both hunted and hunter

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

American outrage over foreign cyber espionage, like Russia's SolarWinds hack, obscures the uncomfortable reality that the U.S. secretly does just the same thing to other countries.

Why it matters: Secrecy is often necessary in cyber spying to protect sources and methods, preserve strategic edges that may stem from purloined information, and prevent diplomatic incidents.

58 mins ago - Politics & Policy
Scoop

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

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