2021 Volkswagen Arteon review: Star without a spotlight

Maria J. Danford

A amount of styling tweaks make the Arteon even more beautiful. 

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Volkswagen Arteon is a very pleasant car or truck that nobody’s acquiring. Ok, no person is a little bit harsh, but with fewer than 3,000 units offered in the US through September of this year, the Arteon is one of the slowest-offering cars and trucks from a mainstream automaker. And that’s a damn shame.


  • Lots of common infotainment tech
  • Clean driving dynamics
  • Excellent model, inside and out

Do not Like

  • Lacks the punch of some competitors
  • Sloping roof indicates inadequate rear headroom

“It truly is certainly greater than 400 units a month,” a Volkswagen government said of the Arteon for the duration of an job interview before this year. But actually, at this stage, even 400 units a month would be an improvement. So in the hopes of location the struggling Arteon on a greater training course, Volkswagen is giving it a amount of considerate updates for 2021, each and every single one of which makes this reliable sedan even simpler to like.

Visually, the Arteon’s sleek silhouette doesn’t modify (that’s a superior factor). The frameless home windows are amazing and the hatchback condition makes this sedan super useful. Element of the 2021 redesign, described air intakes flank either side of the front bumper, and the R-Line versions have an LED gentle strip that spans the width of the fascia, cleanly integrated into the grille bars. Restyled 18- and 20-inch wheels are offered (in addition to a set of 19s that have around from the past Arteon), and a couple more paint colors are on the docket, far too.

The most important updates are basically located inside the Arteon, where by the cabin gets a thorough zhushing-up. The dashboard style and design is a little more upscale and there is certainly a redesigned (and Arteon-precise) steering wheel with haptic contact controls. New air vents line the major of the dash, and thirty ambient lights colors span the width of the cabin, flowing into the electronic gauge cluster and together the doors, both front and rear. Eventually, Volkswagen’s old, frumpy-seeking weather controls are long gone and in their place you can expect to locate a swanky new electronic/contact set up, though oddly, contrary to the steering wheel, these buttons you should not have any haptic responses. Strange, ideal?

In addition to the common electronic gauges, each and every Arteon comes with Volkswagen’s MIB3 infotainment technique, housed on an 8-inch touchscreen. MIB3 has embedded navigation, as very well as wi-fi Apple CarPlay, Android Vehicle and VW’s App Connect smartphone integration. The MIB3 technique is rather straightforward to use, with menu buttons that instantly present them selves when the technique detects your grubby fingers approaching. 

The 2021 Arteon’s interior is way greater than in advance of.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Commonly talking, the Arteon has a quality aura that’s been missing from a ton of Volkswagen’s the latest solutions. It has the large-high quality in good shape and finish I try to remember from the company’s older cars and trucks — an attribute that genuinely set VWs apart from other mainstream producers. The seats are supportive and comfy, and they are heated and cooled on my totally loaded SEL High quality R-Line tester. The sloping roofline type of impedes rear headroom, but there is certainly a surprising amount of money of legroom, so just slouch, I guess. Additionally, you should not forget, you can fold the again seats flat, revealing fifty six.two cubic ft of cargo space. That is massive.

There are not any noteworthy mechanical changes for the 2021 Arteon, but I always liked the way the old one drove, so I am not complaining. A two.-liter turbocharged I4 is the only engine offered, with 268 horsepower, 258 pound-ft of torque and an 8-velocity computerized transmission. The foundation Arteon SE is only offered with front-wheel travel, but 4Motion all-wheel travel is optional on the SEL and common on the SEL High quality.

The Arteon isn’t really always rapid, but the turbo punch is sufficient to get this 4-doorway up and out of its personal way. The transmission does have a inclination to hold gears resulting in a little bit of drone for the duration of acceleration — to the stage where by one passenger basically questioned if the car or truck had a CVT — but equipment-changes are nonetheless rapid and easy when they do at last transpire. Deciding upon Activity manner sharpens the throttle, transmission and steering calibration, and there is certainly a Custom made location where by you can set a total bunch of driving parameters to your liking. Me? I want to just leave it in Standard or even head around to Ease and comfort. The tranquil, refined character of the Arteon is very best professional in these settings, with properly tuned steering, easy lower-end torque, superior cornering traits and a compliant trip thanks to the adaptive dampers — even on the SEL Premium’s 20-inch wheels.

A complete-width LED gentle strip is integrated into the grille bars on loaded SEL High quality versions.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Tiny reward: The 2021 Arteon is slightly more fuel-productive than its predecessor, at least on the highway cycle. Comparing 2020 and 2021 product year Arteons, front-travel variations are both EPA-approximated to return 22 mpg town, but though the old car or truck was rated at 29 mpg highway, the new variation gets 32 mpg. Stepping up to all-wheel travel minimizes those people figures slightly, to 20 town and 31 highway. Even so, just after a week of combined driving, I am looking at an ordinary very well above the EPA’s 24-mpg put together score.

The foundation Arteon comes equipped with forward-collision guide, blind-place monitoring, rear cross-visitors inform, rain-sensing wipers and a couple of other niceties, but if you want points like complete-velocity adaptive cruise manage or LED headlights, you have to pony up for the SEL. The only bits of driver-help tech the SEL High quality provides are front and rear park distance manage, as very well as computerized parking guide.

Pricing for the 2021 Arteon commences at $38,190 together with $1,195 for location, and you can’t get into an all-wheel-travel variation for fewer than $44,590. Go for the gold and you might be seeking at $forty eight,190 out the doorway for an SEL High quality R-Line.

This shapely sedan also has a hatchback for added flexibility.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Arteon is type of a unusual tweener in the sedan space Volkswagen states it targets the Acura TLX and Nissan Maxima as competitors, as very well as entry-stage luxurious sedans. The most clear rival is the outstanding Kia Stinger, which expenses fewer on the foundation end and can be had with a 365-hp twin-turbo V6 on bigger trims. In simple fact, the Stinger is now outselling the Arteon more than 3 to one so considerably in 2020. And, very well, pleasant as the Arteon is, the Stinger GT is more entertaining to travel and is each and every little bit as useful, so it is really almost certainly the way I might go. On the other hand, if it is really comfort and ease and tech you might be just after, the Arteon possible makes more perception. But at that stage, so do a ton of entry-stage luxurious sedans, not to mention a total bunch of compact crossovers.

It truly is a odd issue to have: Currently being so likable and useful, still remaining pigeonholed into specialized niche position for the reason that you might be fighting with so many car segments all at after. The Arteon is more beautiful and more refined than in advance of, and it is really a car or truck I might be rapid to recommend. But until Volkswagen throws some more advertising and marketing dollars its way — or until consumers’ preferences get started to change — I am scared this one will always be a lower-volume participant, even if it deserves a total ton more attention.

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