2021 Volkswagen Arteon: Review And Driving Impresions

I recently spent some time in the 2021 Volkswagen Arteon. Larger than the entry-level Jetta, and more upscale than the Passat, the Arteon is the company’s premium sedan offering with a sporty, stylish, and luxurious demeanor.

  • The Volkswagen Arteon is a compact five-door sedan (four doors with a liftback) with seating for up to five passengers. It is offered with front- or all-wheel drive mated to a standard four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission. The Arteon replaced the CC when it was discontinued about five years ago (albeit moving upscale in the process).
  • Introduced for the 2018 model year, the Arteon has been mostly unchanged since its debut. (On that note, the 2022 Volkswagen Arteon receives several significant updates. These include powertrain upgrades, a new appearance package, and more standard equipment on the entry-level SE trim. Lastly, the SEL R-Line is now fitted with standard 4MOTION all-wheel drive.)
  • 2021 Arteon models feature Volkswagen’s familiar turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, engine rated at 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque mated to a traditional 8-speed automatic (with a torque converter). The 0-60 mph sprint is accomplished in 6.4 seconds, which is quick. Fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg City and 31 mpg Highway – about average for this segment.
  • The interior of the Arteon is clean and uncluttered – and very roomy. Materials, fit, and finish are top-rate, but Volkswagen hasn’t gone overboard with luxury appointments such as fine woods and upholsteries – the overall appearance is sportier and more useful than luxurious. The driver’s cockpit is striking – easy-to-read digital gauges and flat panel displays occupy most of the real estate, and beautiful LED lighting casts eye-catching illumination.

  • Passengers will find both rows of seats comfortable (the Arteon is more accommodating that the Passat). The front seats are easy to get into and effortlessly accommodate those over six-foot tall. The rear seats require a bit of ducking (blame the swooping roofline) but are just fine for adults. Those sitting in the middle in the rear will be forced to put their feet on either side of the raised tunnel – and there are rear HVAC vents, which are located on the rear of the console, to contend with. The hatchback is very useful, and the utility space is generously sized – especially with the rear seats folded down.
  • Driving dynamics are a strong point – the Arteon is fitted with Dynamic Chassis Control adaptive dampers. The ride is on the sporty side of comfortable and the driver may change modes to make it even sportier, if desired. While the Arteon falls short of being a true sport sedan, driving enthusiasts will be pleased with how stable it is on the highway and how capable it is in the corners.
  • The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon occupies an interesting niche – with a base price of about $45,000 it finds itself at the entry-level side of the premium luxury segment. For those who are seeking German engineering, attractive styling, impressive driving dynamics, and notable utility – without a heavy reliance on traditional luxury – the Arteon just may be a perfect fit. 

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