|✓ Rakish look||☓ More luxurious than sporty|
|✓ More standard safety tech||☓ Restrictive rear seat space|
|✓ Spacious, substantial trunk|
After two years on sale in Europe, Volkswagen’s latest Arteon arrived last year to replace the aging, sleek-but-snug CC. VW’s longer, lower, and wider model looks much racier, and it’s certainly more practical than before. For 2020, Volkswagen only made minimal changes to the Arteon.
Most who just glanced at this car’s more aggressive shape with its fast sloping rear roofline and low, wide stance didn’t figure it was a Volkswagen. It’s no SUV or crossover, but Volkswagen decided to double down on the Arteon to draw more people toward the VW brand.
I drove the $44,945 2019 Arteon 2.0T SEL Premium with 4Motion (all-wheel drive). To gain more American customers, VW has made the Arteon better suited to American driving tastes despite its European GT shape. However, it’s still a German luxury car — albeit without German luxury car prices.
Comfort and Convenience
This fastback sedan has a softer-but-supple suspension, very roomy interior and easily used touchscreen, backed up by a bunch of manual dashboard and console controls—even a few in back. Luxury comforts include a heated adjustable steering wheel and heated/ventilated power front and rear seats.
The front seats are supportive in curves, and tall occupants can stretch out in the 191.4-inch long car’s supportive rear seat, although a large center driveline hump makes it comfortable for only two back there. However, the middle area has a large fold-down armrest with two cupholders.
The trunk has a wide opening and is large enough to swallow plenty of cargo. Moreover, the split rear setbacks easily flip forward to allow a larger cargo area. To keep hands clean, there’s a hands-free open and close rear hatch.
The upscale interior has attractive stitching, soft surfaces and easily read gauges and controls, Nappa leather seating surfaces and three-zone climate controls. The adjustable steering wheel is heated, there’s a pushbutton starter and a Dynaudio 12-speaker premium audio digital sound system provides music. Also added are such items as a power tilt-and-sliding panoramic sunroof.
While front-drive 2020 Volkswagen Arteon models start at $35,845, this higher-line $44,945 Arteon 2.0T SEL Premium 4Motion model I drove shares the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It generates 268 horsepower at 5,000 r.p.m. and 255 pounds/feet of torque at 1,950 r.p.m. Power flows through a smooth 8-speed automatic with a lightning quick manual shift feature.
The 3,665-pound Arteon has good power for merging and passing. The occasional slight hesitation when moving fast off the line is probably not worth mentioning because there are no other hesitations. Drivers can choose from several driving modes, including Eco and Sport. Although, as ever, the default Normal mode is best for general daily driving. Sport stiffens the ride and such for more aggressive driving, it really doesn’t cause occupants to be uncomfortable.
Estimated fuel economy with all-wheel drive is 20 mpg in the city and 27 on highways. Stick with the front-wheel drive model, and the city and highway numbers are 22 mpg and 31 mpg respectively. For better fuel economy, an automatic engine start/stop feature works deftly if the car is made to wait for, say, a long train.The fuel tank has a 17.4 gallon capacity.
The rather firm electro-mechanical power steering with variable assistance is reasonably precise and provides decent road feel. One selling point for the 2020 Volkswagen Arteon if you prefer comfort, however, is its supple ride in all drive modes. Handling is surefooted with such features as 19-inch wheels, all-wheel drive, an all-independent suspension, electronic stability control and adaptive chassis control. There’s only slight body lean when sweeping quickly through curves.
Safety items in the 2020 Volkswagen Arteon include power-folding heated adjustable side mirrors, rearview camera system, overhead view camera, park distance control, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring. There’s also active blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, hill hold control and rain-sensing variable intermittent front wipers. There’s also an advanced air bag protection system with eight air bags.
To be clear, the 2020 Volkswagen Arteon isn’t a pure sports sedan. Rather, it’s a luxury Volkswagen model with an alluring exterior and inviting interior. It’s not as much fun to drive as a genuine sports sedan but provides an enjoyable driving experience.