Volkswagen is Going to Baja in this Rad Atlas Cross Sport R

Automakers are tripping over themselves to put performance stickers on their SUVs. But Volkswagen has come up with an R SUV that I think we can all get behind: the Atlas Cross Sport R.

Volkswagen will take this race truck to the Baja 1000 next November where it will be piloted by Tanner Foust (among others) and compete in the race’s Class 7. The Americas Rallycross Champion won’t just be driving it, though, he helped design it along with Rhys Millen.

Power comes from VW’s 2.0-liter four-pot churning out 480 hp. And the engine should be reliable because they’ve stolen it from VW’s rallycross program, where it could make up to 600 hp.

“I know what this combination of engine and drivetrain is capable of,” says Foust. “I’m really excited to see this bit of Beetle DNA live on in the Atlas Cross Sport R and am itching to get behind the wheel.”

The Atlas Cross Sport R will be competing in Class 7, where it will be the first-ever entrant to run AWD. The class is defined as requiring “a production appearing Utility or SUV body,” forced induction engines are limited to 3.5-liters (N/A to 4.5L), and the engine “must be of the same manufacture as that of that body-style.”

Although we have no complaints about the pictured livery on the Cross Sport R, schools and colleges across the nation will be invited to design the race truck’s livery in early 2020.

Volkswagen also plans to neutralize the Atlas Cross Sport R’s carbon footprint with an offset initiative arranged by the Conservation Fund. Through the program, VW will plant 1,000 trees.