2021 Volkswagen Arteon review: Star without a spotlight

Nancy J. Delong

A amount of styling tweaks make the Arteon even a lot more appealing. 

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Volkswagen Arteon is a really good auto that nobody’s purchasing. Alright, no one is a bit harsh, but with much less than 3,000 units offered in the US by September of this 12 months, the Arteon is a person of the slowest-offering cars and trucks from a mainstream automaker. And that is a damn shame.


  • Plenty of regular infotainment tech
  • Clean driving dynamics
  • Good design and style, within and out

Really don’t Like

  • Lacks the punch of some rivals
  • Sloping roof usually means bad rear headroom

“It can be surely far better than four hundred units a thirty day period,” a Volkswagen government explained of the Arteon for the duration of an job interview previously this 12 months. But truthfully, at this level, even four hundred units a thirty day period would be an advancement. So in the hopes of placing the battling Arteon on a far better study course, Volkswagen is offering it a amount of considerate updates for 2021, every solitary a person of which tends to make this solid sedan even much easier to like.

Visually, the Arteon’s sleek silhouette would not improve (that is a very good matter). The frameless home windows are cool and the hatchback condition tends to make this sedan tremendous practical. Section of the 2021 redesign, described air intakes flank possibly facet of the entrance bumper, and the R-Line products 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 offered (in addition to a set of 19s that carry above from the past Arteon), and a pair additional paint hues are on the docket, also.

The major updates are basically discovered within the Arteon, where by the cabin will get a complete zhushing-up. The dashboard design and style is a minimal a lot more upscale and there is a redesigned (and Arteon-particular) steering wheel with haptic contact controls. New air vents line the prime of the dash, and 30 ambient lights hues span the width of the cabin, flowing into the electronic gauge cluster and alongside the doorways, the two entrance and rear. Lastly, Volkswagen’s old, frumpy-searching local weather controls are gone and in their location you can come across a swanky new electronic/contact set up, while oddly, not like the steering wheel, these buttons never have any haptic feed-back. Weird, ideal?

In addition to the regular electronic gauges, every Arteon arrives with Volkswagen’s MIB3 infotainment method, housed on an eight-inch touchscreen. MIB3 has embedded navigation, as effectively as wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and VW’s App Link smartphone integration. The MIB3 method is relatively quick to use, with menu buttons that immediately present on their own when the method detects your grubby fingers approaching. 

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

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Normally talking, the Arteon has a quality aura that is been missing from a ton of Volkswagen’s the latest merchandise. It has the significant-good quality match and end I try to remember from the company’s more mature cars and trucks — an attribute that definitely set VWs aside from other mainstream producers. The seats are supportive and snug, and they are heated and cooled on my totally loaded SEL High quality R-Line tester. The sloping roofline kind of impedes rear headroom, but there is a surprising volume of legroom, so just slouch, I guess. Plus, never forget about, you can fold the back seats flat, revealing fifty six.2 cubic feet of cargo place. That’s enormous.

There usually are not any notable mechanical changes for the 2021 Arteon, but I often appreciated the way the old a person drove, so I’m not complaining. A 2.-liter turbocharged I4 is the only motor offered, with 268 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque and an eight-velocity automatic transmission. The foundation Arteon SE is only offered with entrance-wheel push, but 4Motion all-wheel push is optional on the SEL and regular on the SEL High quality.

The Arteon just isn’t necessarily speedy, but the turbo punch is plenty of to get this 4-door up and out of its very own way. The transmission does have a inclination to hold gears ensuing in a bit of drone for the duration of acceleration — to the level where by a person passenger basically asked if the auto had a CVT — but equipment-changes are even so speedy and smooth when they do lastly take place. Picking Sport mode sharpens the throttle, transmission and steering calibration, and there is a Personalized placing where by you can set a whole bunch of driving parameters to your liking. Me? I prefer to just go away it in Regular or even head above to Comfort. The silent, refined mother nature of the Arteon is greatest knowledgeable in these settings, with properly tuned steering, smooth lower-conclusion torque, very good cornering characteristics and a compliant trip thanks to the adaptive dampers — even on the SEL Premium’s twenty-inch wheels.

A comprehensive-width LED mild strip is built-in into the grille bars on loaded SEL High quality products.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Modest reward: The 2021 Arteon is a little a lot more gas-efficient than its predecessor, at minimum on the freeway cycle. Comparing 2020 and 2021 product 12 months Arteons, entrance-push variations are the two EPA-approximated to return 22 mpg city, but when the old auto was rated at 29 mpg freeway, the new model will get 32 mpg. Stepping up to all-wheel push lessens individuals figures a little, to twenty city and 31 freeway. Even so, following a 7 days of blended driving, I’m viewing an regular effectively previously mentioned the EPA’s 24-mpg put together rating.

The foundation Arteon arrives geared up with ahead-collision aid, blind-spot checking, rear cross-targeted traffic inform, rain-sensing wipers and a couple other niceties, but if you want points like comprehensive-velocity adaptive cruise control or LED headlights, you have to pony up for the SEL. The only bits of driver-support tech the SEL High quality provides are entrance and rear park distance control, as effectively as automatic parking aid.

Pricing for the 2021 Arteon commences at $38,one hundred ninety like $one,195 for vacation spot, and you can’t get into an all-wheel-push model for a lot less than $44,590. Go for the gold and you’re searching at $forty eight,one hundred ninety out the door for an SEL High quality R-Line.

This shapely sedan also has a hatchback for included flexibility.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Arteon is kind of a unusual tweener in the sedan place Volkswagen suggests it targets the Acura TLX and Nissan Maxima as rivals, as effectively as entry-amount luxurious sedans. The most apparent rival is the excellent Kia Stinger, which fees a lot less on the foundation conclusion and can be had with a 365-hp twin-turbo V6 on larger trims. In point, the Stinger is currently outselling the Arteon a lot more than three to a person so much in 2020. And, effectively, good as the Arteon is, the Stinger GT is a lot more entertaining to push and is every bit as practical, so it is really probably the way I would go. On the other hand, if it is really comfort and ease and tech you’re following, the Arteon possible tends to make a lot more feeling. But at that level, so do a ton of entry-amount luxurious sedans, not to mention a whole bunch of compact crossovers.

It can be a peculiar issue to have: Remaining so likable and practical, nevertheless becoming pigeonholed into niche standing simply because you’re battling with so a lot of auto segments all at once. The Arteon is a lot more appealing and a lot more refined than ahead of, and it is really a auto I would be speedy to suggest. But right until Volkswagen throws some a lot more promoting bucks its way — or right until consumers’ tastes start out to change — I’m concerned this a person will often be a lower-volume participant, even if it deserves a whole ton a lot more interest.

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