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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.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

10 hours ago - Economy & Business

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

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