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2019 Volkswagen Arteon

$35,845 - $46,210
Price Range (MSRP)
Volkswagen Arteon

2019 Volkswagen Arteon Review: An Eyecatching Flagship

by Gabe Beita Kiser

The 2019 Arteon heralds Volkswagen's return to the premium midsize sedan segment and is pitched as a flagship for the brand. However, unlike competitors such as the Audi A5 and BMW 4 Series, only one engine and one gearbox is available. The Arteon is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot that generates a respectable 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. In base SE trim, this power is sent to the front wheels, with it being distributed to all four via their usual 4Motion system on all other models. Gear changes are courtesy of an eight-speed automatic. What most people will note about the Arteon, though, are its svelte curves and "un-VW-like" design, which are truly eye-catching for all the right reasons.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Arteon?

A brand-new model for 2019, the Volkswagen Arteon is a fresh entry into the market. However, comparisons can be drawn between it and the CC (formerly Passat CC), which was killed off in 2017. The Arteon is a similarly-sized, sensually-styled four-door sedan with luxury ambitions. That said, the Arteon is a completely redesigned vehicle and is therefore considerably different in almost every technical aspect to the CC of two years ago.

Pros and Cons

  • Gorgeous design
  • Massive cargo volume and hatch opening
  • Plenty of standard and available features
  • Competitive pricing
  • Phenomenal ride and decent handling
  • Less magic than in Audi or BMW interiors
  • Sleepy automatic gearbox
  • Rivals offer more driving dynamism

Arteon Exterior

With its sweeping roofline culminating in a stubby trunk that is actually a curved hatch, the Arteon's clamshell hood is well complemented. The front end features LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, while that sculpted rear houses LED taillights. Wheel options start from 18-inches as standard, and can grow to 20-inch items depending on spec and packages.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon Front View Volkswagen
2019 Volkswagen Arteon Rear View Volkswagen
2019 Volkswagen Arteon Front Angle View Volkswagen
See All 2019 Volkswagen Arteon Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Arteon's dimensions measure 111.9 inches at the wheelbase with an overall length of 191.4 inches. Width is 73.7 inches while height measures 56.5 inches. In base SE trim with front-wheel-drive, curb weight is 3,655 lbs, while all other models weigh 3,854 lbs, thanks to the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.

Exterior Colors

The 2019 Arteon is available in eight different colors, any of which can be applied to any trim of the vehicle without any extra charge. Pure White and Urano Gray are the flat color options, with Kurkuma Yellow, Chili Red, Pyrite Silver, Atlantic Blue, Manganese Gray, and Deep Black Pearl being the metallic choices. The Arteon looks great in any shade, but maximum wow factor is certainly achieved with Kurkuma Yellow Metallic.

  • Deep Black Pearl
  • Pure White
  • Chili Red Metallic
  • Atlantic Blue Metallic
  • Urano Gray
  • Manganese Gray Metallic
  • Pyrite Silver Metallic
  • Kurkuma Yellow Metallic

Arteon Performance

In base form, the Arteon's front-wheel-drive setup can be prone to torque steer, the 2.0-liter turbo powerplant providing sufficient grunt to occasionally overwhelm the front tires. The addition of 4Motion all-wheel-drive improves grip on higher trims, but also adds weight. Thus, all models will manage around the mid-six-second mark for the 0-60mph sprint. The 268-hp engine produces 258 lb-ft of torque and will keep clicking through the eight-speed automatic gearbox until it reaches a limited terminal velocity of 149mph. It's no ballistic missile, but the Arteon is quick and capable enough to be entertaining. The engineers realized that the Arteon would be competing with sporty sedans like the A5, and therefore gifted the hatchback sedan with a sporty steering setup and a capable chassis. Thanks to standard adaptive dampers and variable drive modes, the Arteon requires no compromises, offering comfort and stability in the same package. Much pricier rival offerings from Audi and BMW will be more dynamic, but at a cost. The Arteon has found the sweet spot in chassis tuning and still managed to offer good value.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon Front View Driving Volkswagen
2019 Volkswagen Arteon Rear View Driving Volkswagen
2019 Volkswagen Arteon Engine Volkswagen

Engine and Transmission

One engine and gearbox configuration is available throughout the Arteon's range in the U.S. - a 2.0-liter turbo four-pot developing 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is also standard in all guises. The pair work well together, with the turbo offering punchy mid-range torque - great for overtaking on a whim. From a standstill, the Arteon also moves off smartly, although its engine and gearbox are by no means a perfect combination. The auto can sometimes feel a little sluggish and slow to respond, however, this certainly improves if you click it into Sport, which will sharpen throttle response and quicken the gear changes slightly. The Arteon is intended to have some sportiness, but its main focus is clearly comfort and smoothness of power delivery. For long-distance trips and day-to-day commutes, the Arteon's power will be more than enough, but those who have experienced faster German rivals will miss the sharp acceleration and quicker gear changes that they offer.

  • Engine
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Thanks to a smartly designed chassis and swift steering, the Arteon handles exceptionally well for a car of this size. The SE model, the only front-wheel-drive variant, is surprisingly agile, although burying the throttle mid-corner can cause understeer which the stability management systems quickly rein in. In all other variants, 4Motion all-wheel-drive can send power to the rear wheels, aiding in stability and grip. It's never going to blow your hair back, but the Arteon's capabilities in the corners will still impress. Mid-corner undulations and bumps do little to upset the car, even in its most aggressive Sport setting, which still manages to maintain considerable comfort. Steering is direct, if a little devoid of feel, but it is better than that in many rivals. When it comes time to stop, the Arteon's brake pedal feels predictable and free of shudder, bringing the car to a comfortable, but quick, stop. Overall, true driving aficionados will be more tempted by a 4 Series and its rear-drive layout, but this Arteon makes a good case for sticking with a comfort-focused car that can still take a bend at speed. Opting for the available paddle-shifters on the steering column will go a way to increasing engagement, but the high gearing of the 'box and its slightly lackadaisical approach to upshifting and downshifting remains.

Arteon Gas Mileage

Since all models share the same engine and gearbox, the most economical Arteon is the lighter, front-wheel-drive SE variant. This model scores 22/31/25 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. Its 17.4-gallon gas tank will empty itself after approximately 435 miles of combined driving. The heavier 4Motion variants naturally scored a little worse, with 20/27/23 mpg on the same cycles, leading to an estimated range of just over 400 miles per fillup. However, both the A5 Sportback Quattro and the 4 Series Gran Coupe xDrive, also using 2.0-liter turbo engines with four-wheel-drive, are considerably more economical.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    17.4 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/31 mpg
* 2019 Volkswagen Arteon SE FWD

Arteon Interior

Where VW designers spent a lot of time making the exterior unlike anything else on the road, the interior shows a lot less panache. If you had been blindfolded and placed in the driver's seat, your returning vision would show you little more than a slightly wider Golf or Passat cabin. A number of hard plastics that feel premium in cheaper VW products, feel like budget cuts here. It's still a stylish and comfortable place to be, but Audi and BMW interiors are far more upscale. That said, customizable ambient lighting is available, and the driver's view through the steering wheel is dominated by an impressive (albeit optional) 12.3-inch digital display, which can be customized to display the information you want, including the available navigation map.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon Dashboard Volkswagen
2019 Volkswagen Arteon Front Seats Volkswagen
2019 Volkswagen Arteon Rear Passenger Seats Volkswagen
See All 2019 Volkswagen Arteon Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Arteon offers five seats, with the front pair including lumbar support in their adjustability range and heating as standard. The arc of the roofline would lead one to believe that sitting in the back would be a chore for six-footers, but this is not the case. However, the middle seat is for he who draws the shortest straw, as the transmission tunnel intrudes into rear legroom slightly. Also, getting into the back does require a tilt of the head. Up front, the driving position is comfortable and commanding, with a good view all-round. The seats are also well-shaped to eke the most seat-time out of long drives before your backside has had enough. Comfortable and well-thought-out, the basics have been efficiently accomplished here.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

Standard on the base model is a black leatherette interior trimming package, which can be swapped out for a contrasting option with "Moonrock" coloring, depending on your exterior color choice. Moving up to an SEL model will upgrade the interior to leather, with a choice of either plain black, a two-tone gray, or a chocolate brown and black. Elsewhere, soft-touch plastics and aluminum-look trimmings complement glass black fascias and a standard leather-wrapped steering wheel. Additional options are limited to ambient lighting, which can be changed to one of three different colors through the central infotainment system.

Arteon Trunk and Cargo Space

The Arteon really shines in terms of cargo space, offering a massive 27.2 cubic feet of storage, enough for full-size suitcases for each of the five occupants. Thanks to its hatch-style opening, loading is also easy and a center pass-through allows longer items to be stowed with ease. Its rear seats also fold in a 60/40 split to further expand volume, but they do not lie flat, making it a little trickier to fit bigger items. However, storage capacity still bests that offered by rivals.

The cabin is less accommodating, with a shallow center storage bin and trays that are too small for most smartphones. A couple of cup holders and slim door cards further amplify the impression that the cabin could have been packaged better.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon Trunk Space Volkswagen
2019 Volkswagen Arteon Badge Volkswagen
2019 Volkswagen Arteon Side View Volkswagen

Arteon Infotainment and Features

Features

The Arteon's list of standard features is impressive, including a rearview camera, heated mirrors, heated front seats, keyless entry and ignition, adaptive suspension, variable drive modes, three-zone climate control, auto wipers, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Available options include adaptive headlights with cornering, a panoramic sunroof, navigation, adaptive cruise control, ventilated front seats, outboard heated rear seats, and park sensors. Auto parking and a heated steering wheel are also available, as are remote start, lane-keep assist, and a massaging driver's seat. Standard safety amenities include post-collision braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking.

Infotainment

The standard infotainment system in the Arteon features satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, with an optional upgrade on the standard eight speakers to a 12-speaker Dynaudio system. Navigation is also available and can be displayed in the driver's information display fitted to SEL and higher trims. Bluetooth and USB connectivity are also included along with the usual AM/FM/HD Radio options, and can be voice-controlled. All models make use of an eight-inch touchscreen, which is easy to use, although some inputs are managed by touch-sensitive pads alongside the screen, forcing the driver's gaze away from the road.

Arteon Problems and Reliability

The 2019 Arteon has, as of late October 2019, not been subject to any recalls thus far. As a new model, it has also not been rated by J.D. Power for reliability.

In terms of warranty coverage, the Arteon is well taken care of, featuring a six-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty, which is transferable should you sell the vehicle before its expiry.

Arteon Safety

The NHTSA has not yet rated the Arteon for safety, but the IIHS has awarded it with its best possible overall evaluation of Good. Europe's NCAP safety rating agency also awarded it with top marks of five stars.

Key Safety Features

The Arteon features numerous standard safety features, including forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking. Blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert is also included along with post-collision braking. Lane-keep assist is optional, as is adaptive cruise control. Safety belt pre-tensioners and dual front and side airbags are standard, along with side curtain airbags for head protection in the front and rear. LATCH child-seat anchor points are also included.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon a good car?

When VW launched the Phaeton, it was a similar challenger to the luxury car hierarchy and a highly-advanced offering from the maker of "people's cars". It didn't perform well simply because of the badge. They retried the effort on a lower scale with the CC, with moderate success at best. However, these days, Volkswagen is evolving and offering more and more high-quality products, distancing themselves from the budget-car image. The Arteon is a great step in the right direction, offering breathtaking looks with a great chassis and impressive practicality. Unfortunately, the price difference between it and its more premium rivals is not as big as we'd like, considering the fact that a number of switches, buttons, plastics, and upholstery items are clearly borrowed from lesser models. If you don't care about badges and want to squeeze into the luxury car segment, this could be the car for you. But in the competitive luxury segment it is entering, the Arteon leaves too much to be desired: gas mileage is not as good as in rivals, interior quality is great but doesn't feel lavish enough, and the price is still too close to what the established order asks for genuinely upmarket offerings. We love the Arteon, but it needs to get better to be worthy of unseating Audi and BMW.

What's the Price of the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon?

The Arteon SE starts at $35,845 before its $995 destination charge and other fees. Adding four-wheel-drive will push the price up to $37,645. The SEL trim comes standard with 4Motion and starts at $41,795. Moving up to the SEL Premium nets you the regular SEL's optional R-Line package as standard, and starts at a base price of $46,210. Fully loaded, this model would feature 20-inch wheels, a trunk spoiler, and a price tag of $47,045 before taxes and fees.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon Models

The Arteon's range is comprised of four variants: SE, SEL, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line.

The SE features a 2.0-liter turbo sending power through an eight-speed auto to the front wheels or all corners, which are 18 inches in diameter. A faux-leather upholstery trim is included. Heated mirrors and front seats, auto wipers, three-zone automatic climate control, and adaptive suspension are all standard fare.

Moving up to the SEL model equips standard AWD and navigation to the eight-inch touchscreen, as well as a panoramic sunroof, remote start, adaptive radar-guided cruise control, leather upholstery, and ambient lighting. You also get a 12.3-inch configurable driver info display in place of traditional clocks.

The SEL R-Line is fundamentally the same as the SEL but gets the unique styling accents - most notably a restyled front bumper with gloss black inlets and numerous R-Line badges - and 19-inch wheels that are specific to R-Line variants only.

The SEL Premium features the aesthetic upgrades of the optional R-Line styling package as standard, which adds more aggressive bumpers, the abovementioned unique wheels, contrast stitching, and metal scuff plates and pedals. The SEL Premium also gains auto high beams, a hands-free liftgate, massaging driver's seat, front and rear parking sensors, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel. A Dynaudio sound system upgrade is also added. This trim level is essentially fully-loaded, and only gives you access to 20-inch wheels as an option. A spoiler can also be added to the rear deck, but all other options of note are fitted from the factory.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SE
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$35,845
SEL
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$39,995
SEL R-Line
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$41,260
SEL Premium R-Line
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$46,210
See All 2019 Volkswagen Arteon Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The Arteon's trim levels are designed to cater to various wants and needs without the hassle of adding packages. Hence, only one package of add-ons is available as a trim - the R-Line package. This is optional on the SEL version of the Arteon, and adds unique bumpers, badges, wheels, and interior upgrades. Aluminum-look pedals and scuff plates, shift paddles, contrasting interior stitching, and a black headliner are the featured changes. The package adds $1,765 to the SEL's list price. The SEL Premium gets the R-Line package as part of the deal, but on this trim, you can also have 20-inch wheels added for a fee of $500.

What Volkswagen Arteon Model Should I Buy?

The Arteon is still cheaper than its established rivals when fully-specced, coming in below $48,000. It's pretty well-equipped as standard, but for the price, the added amenities included on the SEL Premium are worth the 10-grand jump in cost over the standard SE model. If we were to spend our own money on an Arteon to cherish for the next few years, we'd go the whole hog on an SEL Premium R-Line. It's the best looking of the bunch, particularly with the optional 20s, and thanks to standard nav, a hands-free liftgate, auto parking, a 360-degree camera display, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, lane-keep assist, and a 12-speaker audio upgrade, it's also the safest, most comfortable, and easiest to live with. For the money, only smaller BMWs and Audis are likely to have similar specs.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon Comparisons

2019 Volkswagen Arteon Audi
2019 Volkswagen Arteon Audi

2019 Volkswagen Arteon vs Audi A7 Sportback

Compared mainly because of their similarly sloping rooflines and shared bloodlines, the Audi A7 and Volkswagen Arteon are both hatchback sedans, if such a thing exists. However, the VW does not share any underpinnings or architecture with the more expensive Audi, despite VW owning the Ingolstadt-based luxury carmaker. Instead, the Arteon shares its roots with the Golf and uses the same MQB platform. The benefits to this are a much lower cost of production and a modular system beneath the skin that helps make the Arteon relatively easy to work on. The downside to building a car that shares components with the Golf rather than an Audi is that, despite this being VW's flagship car, the difference in quality between this and the A7 is massive. So, the two are very different. The Audi is supremely luxurious and slightly ostentatious, while the Arteon offers the same stunning looks for a much lower price. Newly redesigned, the A7 starts at almost $70,000, double what a base Arteon goes for. We'll happily stick with the people's car here.

See Audi A7 Sportback Review

2019 Volkswagen Arteon vs Audi A5 Sportback

Comparing prices more similarly will see the Arteon better matched with the Audi A5. Now, the Audi is a bit smaller, and it doesn't have the same striking design of the Arteon. That's not to say it's ugly, but the overall appearance is certainly far more subdued and "safe". Inside, the quality difference puts the Audi back in contention, with premium materials and a more upmarket feel, and on the road, the Audi handles a bit better and is nicer to drive, even in base form. Unfortunately for the A5, the Arteon offers more standard equipment and, despite the badge, its larger presence and head-turning design make it look more premium from the outside. It also carries more cargo and offers more legroom for rear passengers. For the money, the Arteon is certainly more car, and overall, a better car to live with, while still looking spectacular enough to convince people you earn more than you do. Besides total badge snobs, the VW will be the better choice for just about everyone.

See Audi A5 Sportback Review

Volkswagen Arteon Popular Comparisons

2019 Volkswagen Arteon Video Reviews