2021 Volkswagen Arteon review: Star without a spotlight

Victoria D. Doty

A selection of styling tweaks make the Arteon even more interesting.  Steven Ewing/Roadshow The Volkswagen Arteon is a really good car or truck that nobody’s buying. Alright, no person is a little bit severe, but with fewer than 3,000 models marketed in the US by way of September of this […]

A selection of styling tweaks make the Arteon even more interesting. 

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Volkswagen Arteon is a really good car or truck that nobody’s buying. Alright, no person is a little bit severe, but with fewer than 3,000 models marketed in the US by way of September of this calendar year, the Arteon is 1 of the slowest-advertising cars and trucks from a mainstream automaker. And which is a damn shame.


  • Plenty of common infotainment tech
  • Sleek driving dynamics
  • Fantastic type, within and out

Will not Like

  • Lacks the punch of some opponents
  • Sloping roof signifies inadequate rear headroom

“It is certainly much better than 400 models a thirty day period,” a Volkswagen executive stated of the Arteon all through an interview before this calendar year. But actually, at this level, even 400 models a thirty day period would be an advancement. So in the hopes of location the having difficulties Arteon on a much better course, Volkswagen is supplying it a selection of considerate updates for 2021, each individual single 1 of which can make this good sedan even a lot easier to like.

Visually, the Arteon’s modern silhouette will not adjust (which is a excellent factor). The frameless home windows are amazing and the hatchback shape can make this sedan tremendous functional. Aspect of the 2021 redesign, described air intakes flank either aspect of the front bumper, and the R-Line types have an LED mild strip that spans the width of the fascia, cleanly built-in into the grille bars. Restyled 18- and twenty-inch wheels are out there (in addition to a established of 19s that have in excess of from the last Arteon), and a couple added paint colors are on the docket, as well.

The greatest updates are in fact found within the Arteon, wherever the cabin will get a thorough zhushing-up. The dashboard style and design is a minor more upscale and you will find a redesigned (and Arteon-precise) steering wheel with haptic touch controls. New air vents line the top rated of the sprint, and thirty ambient lighting colors span the width of the cabin, flowing into the electronic gauge cluster and alongside the doors, both front and rear. Eventually, Volkswagen’s outdated, frumpy-searching local weather controls are gone and in their location you can discover a swanky new electronic/touch set up, even though oddly, not like the steering wheel, these buttons will not have any haptic feed-back. Bizarre, proper?

In addition to the common electronic gauges, each individual Arteon arrives with Volkswagen’s MIB3 infotainment technique, housed on an 8-inch touchscreen. MIB3 has embedded navigation, as very well as wi-fi Apple CarPlay, Android Automobile and VW’s Application Join smartphone integration. The MIB3 technique is rather uncomplicated to use, with menu buttons that automatically present them selves when the technique detects your grubby fingers approaching. 

The 2021 Arteon’s inside is way much better than ahead of.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Commonly talking, the Arteon has a premium aura which is been lacking from a large amount of Volkswagen’s latest products. It has the substantial-top quality in shape and finish I remember from the company’s older cars and trucks — an attribute that really established VWs aside from other mainstream suppliers. The seats are supportive and snug, and they’re heated and cooled on my thoroughly loaded SEL Quality R-Line tester. The sloping roofline sort of impedes rear headroom, but you will find a stunning volume of legroom, so just slouch, I guess. Moreover, will not fail to remember, you can fold the back again seats flat, revealing fifty six.2 cubic toes of cargo room. That’s enormous.

There usually are not any noteworthy mechanical modifications for the 2021 Arteon, but I always preferred the way the outdated 1 drove, so I’m not complaining. A 2.-liter turbocharged I4 is the only motor out there, with 268 horsepower, 258 pound-toes of torque and an 8-velocity automated transmission. The base Arteon SE is only out there with front-wheel push, but 4Motion all-wheel push is optional on the SEL and common on the SEL Quality.

The Arteon is not automatically rapid, but the turbo punch is ample to get this four-doorway up and out of its personal way. The transmission does have a inclination to keep gears ensuing in a little bit of drone all through acceleration — to the level wherever 1 passenger in fact asked if the car or truck had a CVT — but gear-modifications are nevertheless rapid and clean when they do eventually happen. Deciding on Activity mode sharpens the throttle, transmission and steering calibration, and you will find a Custom made location wherever you can established a full bunch of driving parameters to your liking. Me? I desire to just go away it in Normal or even head in excess of to Comfort. The silent, refined mother nature of the Arteon is very best knowledgeable in these options, with nicely tuned steering, clean very low-finish torque, excellent cornering features and a compliant journey thanks to the adaptive dampers — even on the SEL Premium’s twenty-inch wheels.

A complete-width LED mild strip is built-in into the grille bars on loaded SEL Quality types.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Small reward: The 2021 Arteon is a bit more fuel-efficient than its predecessor, at minimum on the highway cycle. Comparing 2020 and 2021 model calendar year Arteons, front-push versions are both EPA-believed to return 22 mpg city, but while the outdated car or truck was rated at 29 mpg highway, the new edition will get 32 mpg. Stepping up to all-wheel push lowers people figures a bit, to twenty city and 31 highway. Even so, soon after a week of blended driving, I’m looking at an ordinary very well earlier mentioned the EPA’s 24-mpg mixed score.

The base Arteon arrives outfitted with ahead-collision assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-visitors inform, rain-sensing wipers, LED headlights and a number of other niceties, but if you want adaptive cruise control you have to action up to the SEL. Pricing for the 2021 Arteon starts at $38,a hundred ninety which include $one,195 for spot, and you are not able to get into an all-wheel-push edition for much less than $forty four,590. Go for the gold and you’re searching at $forty eight,a hundred ninety out the doorway for an SEL Quality R-Line.

This shapely sedan also has a hatchback for added versatility.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Arteon is sort of a strange tweener in the sedan room Volkswagen suggests it targets the Acura TLX and Nissan Maxima as opponents, as very well as entry-level luxury sedans. The most obvious rival is the great Kia Stinger, which expenses much less on the base finish and can be had with a 365-hp twin-turbo V6 on greater trims. In truth, the Stinger is presently outselling the Arteon more than 3 to 1 so significantly in 2020. And, very well, good as the Arteon is, the Stinger GT is more entertaining to push and is each individual little bit as functional, so it’s possibly the way I’d go. On the other hand, if it’s convenience and tech you’re soon after, the Arteon probably can make more perception. But at that level, so do a large amount of entry-level luxury sedans, not to point out a full bunch of compact crossovers.

It is a odd issue to have: Staying so likable and functional, yet getting pigeonholed into area of interest status for the reason that you’re preventing with so many car or truck segments all at after. The Arteon is more interesting and more refined than ahead of, and it’s a car or truck I’d be rapid to propose. But until finally Volkswagen throws some more marketing and advertising bucks its way — or until finally consumers’ preferences commence to shift — I’m frightened this 1 will always be a very low-volume participant, even if it warrants a full large amount more focus.

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