“Is that an Artery?” asked one of my co-workers as the small new luxury car from Volkswagen was delivered at the office. Surprisingly, that was a comment I heard a few times during my week with the Arteon, as folks seemed to have trouble with the name.
The Arteon is new for 2019 and replaces the CC. It looks like a sleek sedan but has a liftback which enhances cargo space.
The five-passenger Arteon is available in SE, SEL and SEL Premium trims. Starting prices range from $35,845 to $46,710, which is about average for a small luxury car. Front-wheel-drive is standard and Volkswagen’s 4motion all-wheel-drive system is available for $1,800 on the SE trim. 4motion is standard on the SEL and SEL Premium models.
Every Arteon has the same engine: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The Arteon isn’t as athletic as some rivals but there’s enough pep for most driving situations. It’s quick off the line as you’d expect with a turbo, there’s enough power for merging and passing at freeway speeds, and it handles well around corners. It’s tuned more for a smooth ride than athletic performance. In fact, the engine can groan when pressed which you don’t expect in this price range. The ride is fairly firm but not jarring. You can select from Comfort, Normal and Sport driving modes. Visibility is good all the way around.
Fuel efficiency isn’t great for the class and the Arteon requires premium fuel. EPA ratings for my tester are 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway with a combined rating of 23. I got 24 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is pleasant but not as nice as some rivals. There’s some hard plastic along with soft-touch materials. Legroom is good in both rows of seating but taller adults may wish for more headroom, especially in back. And while there’s technically room for three passengers in the second row, there’s a good size hump in the center floor.
Standard features include push-button start, proximity keyless entry, rearview camera, tri-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, eight-inch touch screen, satellite radio, HD Radio, USB port, Bluetooth, Mirror Link, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Several driver assistance technologies are standard including blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection.
Available features include remote start, surround-view camera, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, massaging driver’s seat, heated rear outboard seats, heated steering wheel, 12-speaker Dynamo stereo, navigation, and the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit. Optional driver assistance technologies include lane keep assist, rear and front parking sensors, parallel and perpendicular park assist, and automatic high beams.
My tester has the eight-inch touchscreen, which looks dated compared to what you’ll find in other vehicles. At least it responds quickly to touch and voice commands, and there are knobs for volume and tuning.
One headscratcher is the number of blank buttons surrounding the gear shift. Makes it look like VW forgot to add some functions.
The Arteon has lots of cargo space thanks to its liftback. There are 27.2 cubic feet with both rows in place, and a whopping 55 cubes with the second row folded. The rear seats fold 60/40 providing flexibility in hauling cargo and passengers.
The Arteon has Volkswagen’s “People First Warranty,” which provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for six years or 72,000 miles (whichever occurs first), and the warranty can be transferred to subsequent owners throughout the remainder of its duration.
Beautiful, sleek exterior
Lots of cargo space
Many available safety and luxury features
Below average fuel efficiency for the class
Performance not as athletic as some rivals
Engine can groan when pressed
Some low-rent interior materials
My tester starts at $37,645. Destination charge is $995 bringing the grand total to $38,640.
The all-new Volkswagen Arteon looks like a stylish sedan but has the cargo space and practicality of a hatchback, as well as available tech, safety features and all-wheel-drive. While it doesn’t handle as well and the cabin isn’t as nice as some rivals, it’s worth checking out if you want an upscale ride but don’t want to pay a lot more for a luxury brand.