2019 Volkswagen Arteon Review By Larry Nutson
2019 Volkswagen Arteon
Premium looks and style
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
This past summer I had my first opportunity to spend some time behind the wheel of Volkswagen’s flagship sedan, the Arteon. I had been quite impressed by the niceties of this roomy 4-door and was happy to recently again enjoy what it has to offer.
Although it seems that new vehicle buyers these days are only interested in SUVs, there is still a contingent of folks that want a sedan in the family household fleet. As I recall one auto executive’s words, the sedan market is expected to settle at about 25 percent of new vehicle sales.
The Arteon is all-new for 2019 and that makes it a candidate for the North American Car of the Year award. The team of NACTOY jurors identify the group of numerous new cars on the market and then narrow things down with an initial round of voting. The Arteon survived the first round and is now in contention among the other remaining candidates. In late November the field will again be narrowed to three finalists. Watch for that news.
The Arteon is the successor to VW’s CC sedan. Its dramatic coupe-like shape, typically reserved for premium sedans, is very striking. The refined sloping front end features a wide grille and large hood with very low joint lines at the fenders. They flow into the nose-to-tail character line and a high, broad-shouldered rear with prominent LED rear lighting.
The 5-person cabin has loads of legroom. The long 111.7 inch wheelbase, five inches longer than the CC’s, makes 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. In other words, excellent versatility.
All Arteons are powered by VW’s 268 hp 2.0-liter TSI 4-cylinder engine which is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive is available across the model range.
SE, SEL and SEL Premium trims are offered. 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. Standard equipped are 18-inch wheels. Depending on trim there are 19- and 20-inch wheels filling the wheel openings with minimum wheel arch gap.
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), shift paddles, 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.
This most recent drive around my Chicago neighborhood was in a top-line Premium SEL which is offered only with 4Motion AWD. With everyday stop-and-go city driving and a few highway drives on my schedule I had a good chance to again live with the Arteon on a daily basis.
The torquey 2.0-L engine together with the 8-speed transmission does a decent job of moving the Arteon through the streets and byways. On an occasion or two my wife and I had another couple along with us. The Arteon performed well with the added load on the relatively flat roadways of the midwest.
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 the ease of entry and exit that a sedan offers 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. My rear seat passengers enjoyed the spaciousness too. 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. We brought home a small piece of furniture which easily fit in the large trunk under the wide-opening rear hatch.
More details, information and specifications on the entire Arteon model line-up can be found at www.vw.com.
Check the auto industry news coming from the Los Angles Auto Show in late November. The three finalists in each of the car, utility and truck categories for North American Car of the Year will be announced.
Notwithstanding the outcome, the Arteon’s ability to make it into the second round is noteworthy in today’s world of every new car be very good. The premium look of the Arteon along with its roomy interior, large cargo space, and decent performance make it worthy of serious consideration.