If you’re thinking that it’s a bit early for the Volkswagen Arteon to get a refresh, keep in mind that it’s been in the European market for three years now. While the production model was delayed until summer 2019, we are going to get the benefit of a refresh on a much faster schedule. The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon will go on sale later this year, with some key styling and feature updates for the U.S. market.
Sadly, while Volkswagen also announced a 2021 Volkswagen Arteon R performance model, a “shooting brake” wagon and an Arteon eHybrid model, we’re not getting any of those in the United States. For now, VW’s sticking with the four-door model as its flagship sedan. As for why we’re not getting the Arteon Shooting Brake in particular, company spokespeople in a recent presentation said that the demand was far too small to justify the expense putting it through the gauntlet of regulatory hoops it would take to sell it in North America.
2021 Volkswagen Arteon changes
At first glance, the 2021 Volkswagen Arteon sedan isn’t radically different to the model that just went on sale. R-Line models, like the red one in the photo above, get a light bar integrated into the grille, moving from the daytime running lights toward the updated VW badge. The sporty model also gets a larger, continuous lower air intake, while all Arteons get a restyled front bumper.
The styling changes continue around the back, as well. The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon gets updated LED taillights and new badging. Three new colors are on offer: Kings Red Metallic, Lapiz Blue (shown on the wagon above) and Onyx White. The last two are only available on the R-Line, while all trims are available in red.
Once again, the interior above shows the R-Line trims, the highlight of which is the illuminated accents shown in red. Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit now comes standard across the entire Arteon range, as does Volkswagen’s latest MIB3 infotainment system. With the update, the new Arteon also supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Volkswagen updated the steering wheel with the new logo and capacitive buttons, like in the Atlas Cross Sport, and gave more consideration to the interior materials, to give the Arteon a more Audi-esque feel.
Other major changes from the previous model year include a 12-speaker, 700-watt Harman/Kardon premium audio system. That shifts the Arteon away from Danish firm Dynaudio and Fender as the premium option, as you get in some other Volkswagen models. Wireless smartphone charging comes standard on all but the base SE, as does lane assist and traffic sign recognition technology.
One place the 2021 Volkswagen Arteon hasn’t changed: under the hood
As before, the 2021 Volkswagen Arteon looks like the sort of sports sedan that attacks the road with verve and gusto. The powertrain was one of the few letdowns with the Arteon, mostly due to its turbo lag. According to Volkswagen, the drivetrain hasn’t changed in the U.S. for the 2021 model year. We still get the same 2.0-liter engine as before, with the same 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft torque output. VW’s eight-speed automatic transmission also remains the sole option in the U.S. The European Arteon R is getting a 315 horsepower horsepower engine which should help quite a bit, but we won’t see that here anytime soon.
The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon carries on more or less with the same trims as before. The base SE is now only available with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional on the SEL R-Line, while it’s standard on the SEL Premium R-Line. Volkswagen did simplify the lineup for 2021 by making the R-Line appearance package standard equipment on the SEL models.
Volkswagen hasn’t yet announced pricing, but that should be available in the coming months. Since this is a relatively minor update, we don’t expect the starting price to move much from the current $37,015 figure.