2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport vs. 2020 BMW X3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW X3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the Atlas Cross Sport and the X3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.

Warranty

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There are over 84 percent more Volkswagen dealers than there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Atlas Cross Sport’s warranty.

Reliability

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The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the X3’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

Engine

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The Atlas Cross Sport’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 28 more horsepower (276 vs. 248) and 8 lbs.-ft. more torque (266 vs. 258) than the X3 s/xDrive30i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Atlas Cross Sport has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the X3’s standard fuel tank (18.6 vs. 17.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Atlas Cross Sport has almost a gallon more fuel capacity than the X3 M40i’s standard fuel tank (18.6 vs. 17.7 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Atlas Cross Sport’s standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the X3:

Atlas Cross Sport

X3

Front Rotors

13.2 inches

13 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Atlas Cross Sport has larger standard tires than the X3 (245/60R18 vs. 225/60R18). The Atlas Cross Sport R-Line’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X3 (265/45R21 vs. 245/45R20).

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Atlas Cross Sport’s wheelbase is 4.5 inches longer than on the X3 (117.3 inches vs. 112.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Atlas Cross Sport is 3.2 inches wider in the front and 3.2 inches wider in the rear than on the X3.

Passenger Space

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The Atlas Cross Sport has 10.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the X3 (112 vs. 101.4).

The Atlas Cross Sport has 1.3 inches more front legroom, 3.9 inches more front shoulder room, 4 inches more rear legroom and 4.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the X3.

Cargo Capacity

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The Atlas Cross Sport has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the X3 with its rear seat up (40.3 vs. 28.7 cubic feet). The Atlas Cross Sport has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the X3 with its rear seat folded (77.8 vs. 62.7 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Atlas Cross Sport’s available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The X3 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

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Maximum trailer towing in the BMW X3 is limited to 4400 pounds. The Atlas Cross Sport offers up to a 5000 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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The Atlas Cross Sport (except S) offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The X3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Atlas Cross Sport SEL to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The X3 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Atlas Cross Sport (except S) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The X3 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/04/06

The Volkswagen Atlas outsold the BMW X3 by 16% during 2019.

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