The Car Connection Volkswagen Arteon Overview
The Volkswagen Arteon has a secret. It’s not just a stylish sedan with a fastback body. It’s actually a hatchback that can swallow 55 cubic feet of cargo with its rear seats folded flat.
The Arteon tops the VW lineup and it went on sale in mid-2019 after debuting more than a year before at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.
With the Arteon, VW has a rival for the Nissan Maxima, Acura TLX, and Honda Accord.
MORE: Read our 2021 Volkswagen Arteon review
A 268-horsepower version of VW’s 2.0-liter turbo-4 sends power to either the front or all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard on most trims and all-wheel drive is optional. The Arteon comes standard with a limited-slip differential and adaptive dampers that offer a wide array of adjustment, from Town Car plush to sports car firm.
Fuel economy doesn't impress. The Arteon is rated at 25 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and just 23 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.
Underneath, the Arteon shares its structure with nearly every other mid-size VW model, and it stretches about 191 inches from bumper to bumper. Its interior is functional, but not nearly as stylish as its exterior. The plain dashboard has controls arrayed conveniently around an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment. Up front, 12-way power-adjustable front seats are standard, and the Arteon has good head and leg room for all passengers.
Rear-seat riders may find the low roofline requires them to duck to slide in, and the short windows limit outward vision especially from the back seat. The sloping roofline doesn’t dent cargo space. With its rear seats upright, the Arteon can swallow about 27 cubic feet of luggage, double many similarly sized sedans. Fold the back seats and that space grows to 55 cubes. The Arteon’s sloping rear window means that it can’t haul big boxes like an SUV, but suitcases and bicycles laid flat are fair game.
The Arteon is offered in three trim levels, SE, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line. Base Arteon SEs are well equipped with a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster , an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility, three-zone climate control, heated front seats, and automatic emergency braking with blind-spot monitors. Arteon SELs add leather, power moonroof, adaptive cruise control, and navigation to better bridge the gap between mainstream and luxury sedans.
It's more expensive than vehicles such as the Honda Accord, but the Arteon comes with a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty and two years of schedule maintenance, an outstanding level of coverage for any vehicle.
In 2020 VW made 19- and 20-inch wheels and wi-fi standard on some models.
Volkswagen refreshed the Arteon in 2021 with more prominent badging in back and a new front with a LED light strip running across the grille and through the badge. The air intakes sit a little lower. Inside, an updated 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard across the lineup. Also standard is a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster that renders the touchscreen as a plaything for the passenger. A new steering wheel and climate bar with touch-capacitive controls looks good but has mixed functionality compared to traditional dials or buttons.