If you’re in the market for a sedan with comfort, expansive cargo capacity, good fuel economy, AWD and top safety ratings, check out Volkswagen’s 2021 Arteon. It exudes classy styling, handsome interior and quality German build with Autobahn-type performance.
Arteon is offered in SE, SEL R-Line and SEL Premium R-Line. We had the privilege of testing the SEL R-Line. The R-Line designation provides leather seating and many safety features, the latest technology and a host of amenities including a trunk that can hold an enormous amount of cargo.
Arteon’s interior has undergone a complete makeover for 2021. The R-Line boasts brushed aluminum trim, a sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel and a huge 12-inch all digital gauge cluster that displays driver information, even a nav map.
Then there’s the 8-inch touchscreen that also serves the navigation system, HarmonKardon audio, rearview camera, mode selection and tire pressure monitoring system showing pressure in each tire along with climate. Included too is Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity and VW’s Car-Net app system whereupon a smartphone can be used to operate several Arteon functions. The ambient interior lighting can also be changed with 30 different colors. There’s also a pad at the bottom of the vertical stack for wireless phone charging.
HVAC controls are touch sensitive and a bit on the small side. However, selections can be displayed on the touchscreen. Temperature and fan controls are also touch sensitive slider type switches.
Arteon SEL came standard with adaptive stop/go cruise control, Lane keeping assist, emergency assist, front assist collision warning and autonomous emergency braking w/pedestrian monitoring and active side assist (blind spot monitoring) and rear traffic alert.
Heated front seats are nicely bolstered with contrasting stitching and extended under thigh support, which is nice to have on long trips.
Back seats can seat three adults for short trips. Ingress/egress into them is easy with wide opening doors.
Although it’s a sedan, Arteon’s trunk lid is hatch-like that allows stowing large, bulky items in a space that measures 45 inches deep, 39.5 wide and 22 high for 27 cubic feet of cargo capacity. Flip the 60/40 seatbacks and cargo space increases to 55 cubic feet for 75 inches of loading depth. If needing to carry skis or long items with a third/fourth passenger in back, the rear seat armrest folds down and has a pass-through into the trunk.
The underfloor of the trunk holds a space saver spare tire around which a couple small items can be hidden. Incidentally, when locking the doors with the keyfob, the outside mirrors power in. Another convenience feature
Arteons’ mode switch offers Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport and Custom driving modes. Sport mode livens performance and increases engine rpm’s by about 500. This offers longer and quicker shift points with the 8-speed automatic transmission.
In addition, VW’s 4MOTION AWD system provides extra traction when the going gets slick in snow and wet road surfaces.
Arteon gets its power from a 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline 4-cylinder that generates 268-hp and 258 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 20 city, 31-highway mpg with auto start/stop engine technology. Acceleration is linear while passing power is instantaneous with no perception of turbo lag.
With the R-Line, the suspension is firmer with more taut steering for increased road feel. Turn the steering wheel an inch either way and Arteon’s nose points 20 degree’s accordingly. It parks ever so easily.
Ride wise on Continental 19-inch tires, is firm and quiet with good road imperfection absorption.
As one of Volkswagen’s top tier sedans, it’s priced accordingly. With an extremely long list of features and functions, Arteon carried a base price of $43,395. And with a long list of standard items, features and sun roof, there was only one extra charge item. King’s Red metallic paint ($395) in addition to a delivery charge of $1,195, took the bottom line to $44,985. For this price you’re essentially getting a premium Audi sedan in upscale sheep’s clothing.
Arteon comes with a 4 year/50K new vehicle (powertrain components) warranty; 7/100K limited corrosion perforation; 2/20K carefree maintenance; and 3/36K 24-hour roadside assistance coverage.
To its credit, Arteon received a top safety pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.