2019 Volkwagen Arteon 2.0T SEL Premium 4Motion
Pros-Rakish look. Roomy. Fast. Supple ride. Solid handling. Luxurious. Available AWD. Virtually unchanged from 2020 model.
Cons-More sporty American than sporty foreign feel. Center-rear drive hump restricts seating.
Bottom Line-Racy looking new luxury sedan aims for for wider VW appeal.
The Arteon replaces Volkswagen's last sexy sedan-its sleek-but-snug CC. VW's longer, lower, wider, roomier 2019 Arteon luxury hatchback sedan looks much racier. Only minimal changes have been made to the 2020 model.
Most who glanced at my test Arteon's aggressive shape with its fast sloping rear roofline and low, wide stance didn't guess it is a Volkswagen. Although no SUV or crossover, the Arteon is clearly meant to draw more people to 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-without German luxury car prices.
This hatchback 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 Arteon models start at $35,845, the higher-line $44,945 Arteon 2.0T SEL Premium 4Motion (all-wheel-drive) Arteon I drove had the sophisticated 2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that's in all Arteon models. 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. One can choose several driving modes from Economical to Sporty, although the Normal mode is best for general daily driving. "Sporty" stiffens the ride and such for more aggressive driving, it really doesn't cause occupants to be uncomfortable.
Estimated fuel economy with AWD is 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 on highways and 22 and 31 with front-drive. 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 quick and precise and provides decent road feel. The ride is supple in all drive modes. And handling is sure 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 include power folding heated adjustable side mirrors, rear view 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.
The Arteon isn't a 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.