First Review: 2019 Volkswagen Arteon
- Premium new VW on sale now, priced from $36,000 to $47,000
- Luxurious 4-door hatchback with a sleek fastback roofline
- Available with front- or all-wheel drive
- Turbocharged 4-cylinder engine puts out 268 horsepower
- Transmission is an 8-speed automatic
- R-Line package, with 19- or 20-inch wheels, available on all models
The Volkswagen Arteon has been on sale in Europe for two years now, but the U.S. has had to wait until May of 2019 for this premium new VW sedan to arrive. While that somehow doesn’t seem fair, the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon is well worth the wait. Rather than viewing this hatchback sedan as a replacement for the Passat-based CC, we prefer to view VW’s new fastback flagship as an affordable alternative that sits between the Audi A5 Sportback and Audi A7.
Here’s why: The 2019 Volkswagen Arteon is a premium 5-seater that blends sporty driving dynamics with excellent practicality, owing to its hatchback design and split-folding rear seats. Moreover, it’s beautifully styled and is equipped with a thoroughly modern safety and infotainment suite.
How much does the Volkswagen Arteon cost?
The entry-level 2019 Volkswagen Arteon, an SE model with active suspension damping and automatic emergency braking, has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $35,845. All-wheel drive, available on all new Arteon models, adds only $1,800. An Arteon SE equipped the R-Line package and 19-inch wheels starts at $37,110; an R-Line SE with 20s starts at $37,610. The SE with 4Motion, ideal for wet or wintry climes, starts at $37,645.
The mid-level VW Arteon SEL, with Nappa leather seats, an 8-inch touch screen and adaptive cruise control, is priced at $39,995. This price climbs to $41,260 and $41,760, respectively, when the SEL is ordered as an R-Line with 19- or 20-inch wheels.
The top Arteon, an SEL Premium 4Motion with rear climate controls and paddle shifters, starts at $44,945. An R-Line SEL Premium on 19s costs $46,210, or $46,710 with 20s.
Note: The destination fee for all 2019 Volkswagen Arteon models is $995.
What’s included in the Arteon’s R-Line package?
R-Line is primarily an appearance package available on the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon. It includes an R-Line logo on the grille and front fenders, which is complemented by gloss-black bumper trim and a gloss-black trunk spoiler. R-Line also includes a steering wheel with paddle shifters, contrast stitching on the steering wheel and shifter, plus stainless-steel door sills and pedal covers along with a black headliner. The R-Line package can be ordered with 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels, the latter in black.
VW expects about 30 percent of Arteon buyers to order the R-Line package.
When does the Volkswagen Arteon go on sale?
The 2019 Volkswagen Arteon is on sale right now in the U.S. This premium new VW sedan—built in Emden, Germany, on the same chassis as the European Passat—began arriving at American dealers in early May.
Driving the VW Arteon
First impression: The new Arteon is a solidly built automobile, quiet on the highway and powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes the car quick and able to sustain freeway speeds with ease, even on long climbs with four adults aboard. The power (268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque) gets sent to the wheels via an 8-speed Aisin 8-speed automatic transmission with a conventional P-R-N-D-L shift lever. We like being able to engage Drive or Reverse without thinking too much about it, which frequently isn’t possible with the raft of supposedly improved electronic shifters on the market.
The ride delivered by the Arteon’s adaptive suspension is smooth yet beautifully controlled, and there’s a noticeable difference in feel between the Comfort and Sport settings. Sport mode does not lower the car. Rather, it tightens the Arteon’s steering, firms up its suspension and even speeds up the sweeping motion of the active LED headlights, which point into corners. This new VW sedan can be driven hard in fast sweepers, where body roll is kept in check and torque vectoring helps the car follow its intended line. The all-wheel drive system, related to that of the sporty Golf R, sends no more than 50 percent of the power to the rear wheels.
All told, VW’s new Arteon is a pleasant car to drive, an all-wheel-drive sport sedan that likes to frolic on twisty roads like California’s twisty Highway 33 but feels totally comfortable in the daily grind, where you’ll notice the fuel-saving auto start/stop feature at stoplights. While the automatic restarts are fairly smooth in the Arteon, we typically shut it off via the button on the center console.
Arteon: The Design
Most people agree; the 2019 VW Arteon looks great. It’s a sporty fastback sedan with numerous character lines that travel the length of the vehicle and terminate in a slatted grille that emphasizes both the lowness and width of the vehicle, which is very much a car and not a crossover SUV. In addition to muscular shoulder lines and that attractively sleek roofline, the Arteon is blessed with a fair amount of chrome trim and a clamshell-style hood that wraps down to meet the front fenders.
VW says the hood stamping is a tricky one, but it does give the Arteon an aggressively refined appearance, which to our eye looks best when complemented by the optional 20-inch alloy wheels, which are black. R-Line badges complete the sporty look, aided by a trunk spoiler.
Volkswagen Arteon engine and transmission
One engine is available in the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon: a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder not unlike the base powerplant in the Porsche Macan. In the Arteon it puts out 268 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at only 1,950 rpm. Turbo boost arrives quickly for a smooth ramp up of power.
Similarly, only one transmission is available in VW’s new Arteon: an 8-speed automatic made by Aisin of Japan. It shifts smoothly in casual driving and crisply during hard acceleration, as most drivers appreciate. Particularly on models equipped with paddle shifters, the Arteon automatically blips its throttle to smoothen downshifts while braking hard for a corner. As mentioned before, we like the traditional P-R-N-D-L shift lever, which may seem old school but leaves no doubt as to which gear the Arteon is in.
Volkswagen Arteon fuel economy
The 2019 VW Arteon, in front-wheel drive form, is rated by the EPA at 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway/25 mpg combined. With all-wheel drive, Arteon fuel economy suffers a bit, with EPA ratings of 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway/23 mpg combined. Direct fuel injection helps with the fuel efficiency, as does its low 0.3 coefficient of drag. The Arteon’s fuel economy is in line with that of the 4-cylinder Kia Stinger and Acura TLX, two of this VW’s competitors.
How many people does the Volkswagen Arteon seat?
This new fastback Volkswagen sedan seats five, two in front and three across the back bench, which splits 60/40, includes a fold-down center armrest (with a pass-through) and folds completely flat. Be warned: While there is good head room front and rear, the person in the Arteon’s middle rear seat will feel squeezed when all three seats are occupied. On a positive note, the fastback roofline doesn’t cut into rear headroom as much as you might expect.
The Arteon interior
The new Arteon welcomes driver and passengers with supportive seats in a spacious cabin that offers numerous comforts and controls without looking busy. The Arteon that KBB drove, an SEL Premium R-Line with 19-inch alloy wheels, looked particularly good with its leather seats (heated front and rear), 8-inch touch-screen navigation and digital instrument panel, which were further complemented by its 3-zone climate control system and leather-covered R-Line steering wheel with shift paddles.
The Arteon is about two inches longer than the old CC, but it has shorter overhangs and rides on a wheelbase increased by about five inches. This translates into much more interior room, and when the rear seat is folded flat there’s enough flat space for a couple of folks to actually sleep back there. (You may not want to, but you could do it.)
Standard interior features
In addition to an 8-inch glass-covered infotainment display, the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon is fitted with standard leatherette seats (heated in front), a pushbutton starter, Apple CarPlay/Android auto compatibility and 3-zone climate control. A 12.3-inch digital instrument display is standard on the SEL and above models, while a 12-speaker 700-watt sound system and a massaging driver’s seat are standard only on the SEL Premium. This top model also has a power hatchback that can be opened via a swipe of the foot below the Arteon’s rear bumper.
Standard safety and driver assistance technology
Along with eight standard airbags and emergency braking with pedestrian protection, the VW Arteon comes standard with a blind-spot warning system, a backup alert and a reactive hood. This last item works like this: When the Arteon senses a likely impact with a pedestrian, charges below the back of the hood blow, raising the hood away from the engine to lessen any possible impact for that person.
Adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go, increasingly common these days, is standard on the Arteon SEL model and above, while an overhead view camera and active high-beam headlights are standard on the SEL Premium flagship.
Favorite Arteon features
Driving Mode Selection: In addition to Comfort, Normal and Sport modes, the Arteon has a Comfort+ and Sport+ driving modes available from the individual settings submenu. There are noticeable differences in steering feel and chassis control among the various settings.
4Motion all-wheel drive: A bargain at only $1,800, the Arteon’s 4Motion system acts before wheel slip occurs, eliminating traction losses and greatly aiding vehicle stability. Note: The rear wheels are decoupled from the driveline in dry conditions to save fuel. Within a fraction of a second, though, the electrohydraulic center differential can re-engage the rear wheels.
Volkswagen Digital Cockpit: Standard on the SEL and SEL Premium models, the digital cockpit has a 12.3-inch screen that replaces the traditional instrument cluster. The easy-to-read high-res display has five different profiles. Navigation, one of our favorites, has a speedometer and a tachometer flanking a navigation map in the middle.
Excellent 6-year/72,000-mile powertrain warranty: Consider this: A 2019 Volkswagen Arteon SEL, with leather, sunroof, remote start and active cruise control, represents a lot of car for $40,000.
|Compared: 2019 Volkswagen Arteon vs. 2017 Volkswagen CC|
|Wheelbase:||111.7 in.||106.7 in.|
|Length:||191.4 in.||189.1 in.|
|Width:||73.7 in.||73.0 in.|
|Height:||56.5 in.||55.8 in.|
|Headroom:||37.7 in. front/37.0 in. rear||37.4 in. front/36.6 in. rear|
|Shoulder room:||56.5 in. front/54.7 in. rear||56.0 in. front/54.7 in. rear|
|Legroom:||41.2 in. front/40.2 in. rear||41.6 in. front/37.3 in. rear|
|Cargo space:||22.7 cu. ft./55.0 cu. ft.||13.2 cu. ft./NA|
· 18-inch wheels
· Adaptive suspension damping
· Heated power front seats
· Three-zone climate control
· Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
· LED headlights
· Pushbutton start
· Active LED headlights
· Panoramic sunroof
· Nappa leather interior
· Active cruise control with Stop & Go
· Remote start
· Power-folding side mirrors
· Ambient interior lighting
SEL Premium ($44,945)
· Standard 4Motion AWD
· 19-inch wheels
· Heated steering wheel with shift paddles
· Massaging driver’s seat
· Heated rear seats
· 700-watt audio system
· Overhead 360-degree camera
|Key Specs: Volkswagen Arteon|
|Overall length:||191. 4 inches|
|Engine:||Turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4|
|Horsepower:||268 horsepower at 5,500 rpm|
|Torque:||258 lb-ft at 1,950 rpm|
|Cargo space:||27 cu. ft. (rear seat up)/55 cu. ft. (rear seat folded)|
|Fuel Economy:||22 mpg City/31 mpg Highway/25 mpg Combined (FWD)|
|20 mpg City/27 mpg Highway/23 mpg Combined (AWD)|
How is the Volkswagen Arteon’s warranty?
Excellent. The VW Arteon’s standard plan, with powertrain coverage, is good for 6 years or 72,000 miles. Moreover, this new fastback VW sedan is covered by 7 years or 100,000 miles of rust-through protection. Additionally, the Arteon has 3 years or 36,000 miles of 24-hour roadside assistance.
What does the word Arteon mean?
We asked Volkswagen this question, and they said it’s a compound word with no specific meaning. The “Art” part is intended to bring to mind how artistic, elegant and attractive this new VW sedan is, while the “eon” part recalls the Phideon, an ultra-luxurious VW sedan sold only in China that’s larger than the Arteon but smaller than the large Phaeton sedan from several years ago.
Is the Volkswagen Arteon the right car for me?
If you’re in the market for an Audi A5 Sportback or an Audi A7, but find they’re a bit beyond your budget, the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon deserves a look. It costs less than its German cousins, yet it’s similarly refined and represents an excellent blend of good versatility and outstanding design.
And let’s not forget that this sleek new fastback VW sedan is backed by an excellent 6-year/72,000-mile powertrain warranty. Consider this: A 2019 Volkswagen Arteon SEL, with leather, sunroof, remote start and active cruise control, represents a lot of car for $40,000.
Ready to buy a Volkswagen Arteon? Find one at a dealership near you.