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How can the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport stand out from more expensive competitors from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz?

There was a time when the difference between a generic model and a luxury brand product was clear. For example, the former had cloth seats, the latter only had leather buckets. The audio system of entry-level models always had two or four speakers, while luxury models had six or eight.

In short, you always got more. You paid for the difference, but you got something out of it.

Today, you still pay for that distinction, but you don’t really get much more in return. Comparing what the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport offers to similar models offered by Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz is striking.

Did you say heated?

Twenty years ago, to find heated seats and especially a heated steering wheel, you had to go knock on the door of a brand offering luxury vehicles. We paid dearly for our whims. Nowadays, even entry-level versions of many models are available with these features, which have become standard amenities.

If you look at the equipment offered in the Atlas Cross Sport, you’ll find luxury features like leather upholstery, rear seat sunshades, heated rear seats, heated windshield washer nozzles, and wireless charging for cellular devices.

Frankly, do we need to pay more for a luxury vehicle that offers these same features, and often as an option, to boot?

Power

Powerful engines used to be found only in Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW when shopping for German brands. Nowadays, power has been democratized. The Atlas Cross Sport features a 3.6-litre V6 engine that offers 276 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, which is enough for more than acceptable performance at a fraction of the price of much more expensive SUVs.

All-wheel drive

The same goes for all-wheel drive. Take Audi, for example. Audi has long been known for offering the best all-wheel drive system in the industry with its quattro system. That’s probably still the case, except that Volkswagen’s 4Motion system is a derivative of the quattro system. So it gives you the same benefits and efficiency.

And, again, you’re going to get everything you want in a vehicle with an Atlas Cross Sport. All you’re going to get with a luxury brand model is a different logo.