This is the replacement for the Volkswagen Passat CC which had a sleeker coupe-like form than the standard Passat. The Arteon follows suit with a striking and unique design that turns heads almost anywhere you drive it.
Let’s be honest: this car is downright gorgeous. It’s hard to believe it’s a Volkswagen and not a luxury brand like Audi because of the high-end aura it gives off.
Three years ago, Volkswagen presented the Arteon concept car at the Geneva International Motor Show and in a rare occurrence for the automobile industry, it entered production nearly unchanged. Usually manufacturers trot out a jazzed-up car (looking at you Toyota with the Supra) that gets watered down for public consumption so by the time it hits dealer showrooms it’s a big letdown. That wasn’t the case here and Volkswagen deserves a big high five.
The Arteon has a low and wide aggressive stance from the front with the contoured hoodlines extending directly into its grille. The grille, in turn, emphasizes the width of the Arteon in chrome crossbars framed by standard LED lighting.
From the side you can see the coupe-like profile even though it’s a four-door sedan. I especially liked the fact that this car is a hatchback meaning you can fit all kinds of stuff in the trunk and even carry long items that extend the length of the interior. It’s a feature that we see more and more on sedans because it just makes sense to have the rear glass open with the trunk together for SUV-like storage.
The Arteon’s interior is luxury-grade and a pleasure to sit in. I was excited each time I had to drive it which is the mark of a great car. The long wheelbase afforded by the MQB architecture gives it generous rear legroom and even headroom as well.
The dashboard is organized along a clean, straight line, and features an innovative air vent that extends across the entire width of the interior. There are premium materials but unfortunately also a lot of hard plastic that I’d like to see done away with. Volkswagen’s climate controls are simple and easy to use though I’d point out that the little lights which indicate fan speed are not always easy to see.
The Excecline trim with the R-Line package you see here includes contrast stitching on the steering wheel and shift knob, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, metallic decor pieces, black headliner, stainless-steel sport pedal covers and stainless-steel door sills with the R-Line logo.
The new digital cockpit is a really nice feature that allows you to customize the readout on the main display behind the steering wheel. The 12.3-inch screen replaces the traditional instrument panel and offers five different information display profiles: Classic, Consumption & Range, Efficiency, Performance & Driver Assistance, or Navigation. In the Navigation profile, the speedometer and rev counter are relocated to the sides to make room for the navigation map in the middle.
Volkswagen’s infotainment system is very simple and easy to use. All Arteon trims come with the MIB II touchscreen system and an 8-inch display.
Under the hood we find a 2.0-litre turbocharged TSI engine, making 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The power is taken to the front wheels via a standard eight-speed automatic transmission with tiptronic shifting but 4Motion all-wheel drive is also available like on this press car.
I had a few readers comment on that they would have preferred a larger engine in the Arteon and I can understand why. While it didn’t feel underpowered, it also didn’t feel like it had an abundance of power. It did what I wanted it to do but if I needed to execute a highway pass or a quick acceleration maneuver, I felt like it used every bit of power available.
I quite liked the responsiveness of the Arteon’s handling. It felt nimble on the road and was smooth and quiet at the same time. In Sport + mode, the car delivers a thrilling and sporty ride. In standard mode, going from stop sign to stop sign in the city, I often felt the need to switch to manual shift mode to prevent it from starting in third gear and having almost no acceleration. Overall, despite the small engine, it was very enjoyable to pilot.
The base price for the Arteon is $47,995. With the $2095 driver assistance package and the $2995 R-Line package, the vehicle came out to $54,830 including transport and fees. That’s quite high, however I kept on thinking that I’d rather have the Arteon over something like a BMW 4 Series simply for the exclusivity factor. It’s a unique vehicle that has a bright future that will surely peel away buyers from luxury brands.