Auto Channel Exclusive: 2019 Volkswagen Arteon Review By Larry Nutson - It's Downright Gorgeous
2019 Volkswagen Arteon
Art is timeless
By Larry Nutson
Executive Producer and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
Volkswagen’s new flagship halo-car, the successor to the CC sedan, turns heads. It’s downright gorgeous.
With a coupe-like shape often reserved for premium sedans, a refined sloping front with a wide grille and large hood whose low joint line flows into the nose-to-tail character line, LED lighting, and a high, broad-shouldered rear the Arteon makes you stop and step back to take in all its beauty.
The cabin with seating for five has loads of legroom. The Arteon sits on a long, 111.7 inch wheelbase, five inches longer than VW’s CC and making for top-class ride comfort. With its large rear hatch there’s 27.2 cubic feet of trunk storage. Fold the standard 60/40 rear seats and the space increases to 55 cubic feet. Who needs an SUV?
Standard equipped are 18-inch wheels. Depending on trim there are 19- and 20-inch wheels filling the wheel openings with minimum wheelarch gap.
The front-wheel drive Arteon is powered by VW’s 268 hp 2.0-liter TSI 4-cylinder engine and paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. 4Motion all-wheel drive is available on each of the three trims.
The Arteon SE is priced at $35,845, with standard driver-assistance systems, adaptive damping and a host of upscale convenience features. The SEL trim starts at $39,995, adding features such as digital cockpit, Nappa leather seating surfaces, and adaptive cruise control with stop & go. The top-of-the-line SEL Premium starts at $44,945, and adds luxury with ventilated front seats, a massaging driver’s seat, a heated steering wheel, and a suite of driver-assistance systems including Park Assist and overhead view camera.
4Motion all-wheel-drive adds $1,800 to SE and SEL models and comes standard on SEL Premium models.
An R-Line trim package is available on all three trims and adds either 19-inch wheels ($1,265) or 20-inch wheels ($1,765) and paddle shifters, along with unique bumpers and tail spoiler. Inside, R-Line adds contrasting stitching, stainless steel door sills and pedal caps, and a black headliner.
My first opportunity to get behind the wheel of the Arteon was at the Midwest Automotive Media Association Spring Rally held at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. VW brought the SEL 4Motion for folks like me to drive on the two-lane, twisty country roads around Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine.
Equipped with the same torque-vectoring 4Motion all-wheel drive as the Golf R as well as adaptive damping, the Arteon handled all that the roads could throw at it. A Driving Mode selector allows the choice between Comfort, Normal, and Sport to adjust the dampers across a range of settings.
I also drove the very same Chili Red Metallic SEL around my Chicago home. With everyday stop-and-go city driving and a few highway drives on my schedule I had a good chance to live with the Arteon on a daily basis.
The torquey 2.0-L engine together with the 8-speed transmission did a decent but not overwhelming job of moving the Arteon through the streets and byways. I wondered how it would perform with a full load of five people plus some trunk cargo. EPA test cycle ratings are fairly decent with 22 city mpg and 31 highway mpg for front-drive models. AWD models are rated at 20 city mpg and 27 highway mpg. My experience with VWs is that you usually can do better than the EPA ratings in real life. You’ll get better than 500 miles out of a full fuel tank with the Arteon.
I like sedans for ease of entry and exit, and not needing to do the SUV-climb up. Supportive front seats and good sight lines make for ease of driving. The interior is clean and straightforward, and typical VW. The 8-inch touchscreen sits a bit low in the dash, and not at the same eye level as the instrument cluster. An analog clock adds a nice touch.
More information and specifications on the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon can be found at www.vw.com. Of note, the new Arteon is a candidate for the 2020 North American Car of the Year.
The Arteon sits low and wide with a sleek fastback roofline setting itself off from other more-premium sedans. Add to this its tremendous interior space, large cargo room, and decent performance and the Arteon just may become a timeless transport in many a household.
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© 2019 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy