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The plugalicious ID.4 is Volkswagen’s first electric vehicle that was built from the ground up to be an EV. The ID.4 has nearly 250 miles of range per charge, drives smoothly and nicely, and doesn’t pretend to be some kind of rich person’s toy. With the same interior room as a Tiguan despite it’s smaller stance and wheelbase, the ID.4 is a well-sized family car and daily driver.

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The Atlas Cross Sport is the five-seat, sportback version of the larger Volkswagen Atlas crossover sport utility. Introduced last year, the Atlas Cross Sport aims for an audience that wants a large, spacious crossover-SUV, but don’t really need the third row of seating. The Cross Sport is a bit nimbler in handling than its slightly larger sibling and for the 2021 model year, it gains VW’s new infotainment system and some driver’s aids.

The 2021 VW Atlas Cross Sport focuses on interior space and comfort, both of which it excels in. Compared to most rivals, the Atlas Cross Sport has more interior usefulness and roominess. It’s not off-road-centric like some rivals, but it does offer excellent on-road comfort and driving appeal.

There are no fewer than eight trim levels for the 2021 Atlas Cross Sport, which may be a bit much for some buyers to dig through to find a match. The top-end SEL Premium and SEL Premium R-Line packages are not quite as luxurious as their prices would suggest, so we think most buyers will be happier in the mid-level SE with Technology and SEL packages instead. The Atlas Cross Sport comes pretty well-accoutered from the get-go, with the base model featuring LED headlamps, heated side mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and VW’s Car-Net remote services. The 6.5-inch touchscreen and six-speaker audio are a little disappointing, though. Forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection and blind-spot monitoring are also standard in the Atlas Cross Sport.

Going to the SE with Technology gets simulated leather upholstery, wireless connectivity for App-Connect (which includes CarPlay/Auto), more USB ports, a wireless charging pad, voice-activated infotainment controls, dual-zone climate, heated front seats, 20-inch alloy wheels, remote start, adaptive cruise control, a household power outlet, a power liftgate, and an option for the V6 engine upgrade and towing. The SEL has all of that plus adaptive front lighting, a panoramic sunroof, ambient interior lighting, a digital instrument cluster, integrated navigation, and several advanced safety features like lane-keeping assistance and road sign display.

The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that outputs 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This is just about adequate for the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport. But only just. The upgrade engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that outputs 276 HP and 266 lb-ft. The longer, smoother power curve of the V6 is much more well-suited to the Atlas Cross Sport’s size than is the turbo four. Both engines mate with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional.

The interior of the 2021 Atlas Cross Sport is spartan, as is true of most Volkswagen vehicles, but has a bit of flair in its plainness. Technology is generally the “bling point” for any VW interior and it’s definitely what makes the Atlas Cross Sport most appealing. Seating comfort is very good, even in the middle of the second row, and everyday driving is pleasant in the Atlas Cross Sport.

Maneuverability is surprisingly good for such a bulky SUV and comes mostly thanks to the responsive steering and squared edges of the Atlas Cross Sport that allow intuitive movement. Visibility for the driver is good in this VW.

It’s easy to understand the appeal of the big 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport. It’s stylish, much sportier in look and feel than most square-bodied SUVs, and practical in both comfort and design. Pricing for the 2021 VW Atlas Cross Sport starts at $30,855 with our recommended SE with Technology starting at $36,245 or $47,645 with the V6 upgrade. The SEL begins at $41,725.

This review originally appeared on CarNewsCafe.com.

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In this interview inside a 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 electric car, Ryan Allen of VW talks about the car, its design impetus, and what its future might hold. This is VW’s first electric car made from the ground up to be so and it constitutes the beginning of a big push forward for the company as it goes fully electric over the next decade.

Watch for Aaron’s full review of the 2021 ID.4 coming to the channel soon.

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A few changes in the 2021 model year for the Volkswagen Tiguan keep it updated for today’s market. The Tiguan saw a full remodel in 2018, improving its interior space, cargo room, and overall demeanor. This year, it gets a larger infotainment screen option and some content updates at lower trim levels. All while keeping its third row and turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

The 2021 Tiguan is nice to look at, with simple, non-aggressive lines and bodywork. This no-nonsense exterior design carries to the interior, VW style, with an austerity that, while often praised in luxury vehicles, is a bit plain for the commoners in the Tiguan’s market. It’s a love or hate thing and my household is split on whether they fall to one side or the other of that fence. But at least there are colors other than red or blue on that ballot.

What is most liked about the VW Tiguan, though, is its road appeal. It’s neither sporty nor a “driver’s car” by any means, but it’s engaging to drive nonetheless. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine displaces 2.0 liters and produces a relatively modest 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. That latter number is a good one, though, coming early in the RPM range to give the Tiguan a punchier feel than might be expected. Nothing too pushy, but definitely tingly at least. An eight-speed automatic transmission translates all of that power to the wheels. The Tiguan is front-wheel drive by default and all-wheel drive as an option.

The aforementioned third row of seating is also an interesting touch. Most of the smaller crossover-SUVs on the market have dropped the third row as it is usually cramped and largely useless in a vehicle this size. Volkswagen has figured out how to make it usable, however, even if just for kids. The third row is standard in FWD models and optional in AWD ones. We’d opt for it, even if it’s only rarely used, as it does little to impede on overall cargo capacity and a lot to add versatility to the Tiguan.

There are five trim levels for the 2021 VW Tiguan, starting with the baseline S and its rather impressive list of standard features. LED running and tail lamps, heated side mirrors, a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (wired) and a six-speaker sound system, plus 17-inch alloy wheels and a towing kit. All standard. Not to mention forward collision warning and mitigation (braking) and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts. And it only goes up from there.

The SE trim is our favorite in terms of value, with a price tag just slightly above the base model and with a lot of added stuff like the new 8-inch touchscreen for infotainment, wireless Auto and CarPlay, a wireless smart phone charger, more USB ports, simulated leather upholstery, dual-zone climate, heated front seating, and adaptive cruise control. All happy, real-world-useful, daily use items. Those looking for a little more bling can take the SE and add the R-Line Black edition option with 20-inch wheels, blacked out exterior decals, and more.

From there, it’s the SEL and SEL Premium R-Line trims, which add even more stuff and more price to the tag. Still, if near luxury with a fairly austere VW interior is your thing, those packages are there for the taking.

Overall, the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan is a well-sized, nice-driving, smart SUV. There’s a lot to like about it and it remains competitive with rivals in the fierce small crossover market.

This review originally appeared on CarNewsCafe.com.

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The Chicago Auto Show started this weekend and we were there for the press preview day before it began. This is the first major U.S. auto show in over a year, the last one being, you guessed it, the Chicago show in February of 2020.

Moving to a one-time summer format means that some of the show is outdoors and there is a lot to see and do. Here’s our quick rundown of what to see there.

For tickets and other information, see http://www.chicagoautoshow.com

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