2020 Volkswagen Arteon

2020 Volkswagen Arteon Review: Easy Business

by Michael Butler

The executive sedan, a species that's facing imminent extinction, might have found an unlikely ally: the humble hatchback. The answer to saving the executive lies in combining the elegance of the sedan body style, with the practical liftgate featured on the hatchback. Manufacturers have started calling them sportbacks, and we think this amalgam might just be the thing that saves this class. The Volkswagen Arteon is a fine example of the modern sportback - it looks good from every angle, but offers tons of trunk space thanks to the flappy bit on the back. With 268 horsepower under the hood and a relaxed suspension setup, the Arteon is far from being a sports car, but it doesn't have to be; it does relaxed driving so good that you'll forget about hitting the inside line on that next corner. The Arteon goes up against the likes of Korea's Kia Stinger.

2020 Volkswagen Arteon Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Arteon?

While there might not be any major updates for 2020, Volkswagen has made a few tweaks and has added some new tech features as well. As part of the tech upgrades, VW has introduced the next generation of its Car-Net telematics system, which includes in-car Wi-Fi capability when you subscribe. The SEL Premium now comes standard with lane-change assist, a set of 20-inch wheels, and the sporty R-Line appearance package. Volkswagen has also reduced its bumper to bumper warranty from a six-year/72,000-mile plan to four-years and 50,000 miles but has included a two-year complimentary maintenance plan.

Pros and Cons

  • Good looks
  • Tons of interior space
  • Hatchback liftgate adds to the practicality
  • Lots of standard equipment
  • It's pricey
  • Powertrain doesn't impress
  • Conservative interior
  • Not the most exciting thing to drive

2020 Volkswagen Arteon Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SE
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$35,995
SEL
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$39,995
SEL R-Line
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$41,745
SEL Premium R-Line
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$47,695

Arteon Exterior

The liftback body design is becoming more popular by the day: while this body style retains most of the sedan styling we know and love, the rear hatchback-style liftgate provides more practicality and also adds to the overall trunk and cargo space. But enough about practicality. The 2020 Arteon is a good looking car, that's for sure. Its sweeping side profile is undercut by a sharp front and rear fascia that points in a new direction for the VW design team. All 2020 Arteon cars get a set of LED headlights with a cool-looking sliver of daytime running lights running below the main headlights, and base model cars roll on a set of 18-inch alloy wheels. SEL cars include power-adjustable, automatically dimming, heated side mirrors with memory function, as well as a panoramic sunroof. R-Line cars sport larger 20-inch alloy wheels and an R-Line body kit, which includes the R-Line logo on the front grille and front fenders, while the bumpers get the gloss-black treatment.

2020 Volkswagen Arteon Front View Volkswagen
2020 Volkswagen Arteon Rear View Volkswagen
2020 Volkswagen Arteon Front Angle View Volkswagen
See All 2020 Volkswagen Arteon Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The 2020 VW Arteon is a four-door fastback and is built on the Volkswagen MQB platform, which offers varying wheelbase, track, and external dimensions. The 2020 Arteon measures in with a total body length of 191.4, which is 1.2 inches longer than the Kia Stinger. Front and rear track come in at 62.5 inches and 62.1 inches, respectively. The Arteon rolls on a 111.9-inch wheelbase, sits 73.7 inches wide, and is 56.5 inches tall. Ground clearance is 5.4 inches. Front-wheel-drive models weigh in at 3,655 pounds, while all-wheel-drive cars tip the scales at 3,854 pounds.

  • Length 191.4 in
  • Wheelbase 111.9 in
  • Height 56.5 in
  • Max Width 73.7 in
  • Front Width 62.5 in
  • Rear Width 62.1 in

Exterior Colors

The Arteon exudes executive-cool looks and doesn't try to be overly sporty or serious at the same time. Instead, you get a universally handsome exterior that blends smooth lines and a sharp front fascia for a mix that works really well. To accompany these good looks, Volkswagen has opted for a color palette consisting of eight options, ranging from conservative to out there, and we think they suit the Arteon very well. Basics such as Pure White and Deep Black Pearl are on offer, and there are also three choices of gray and silver in the form of Urano Gray, Manganese Gray Metallic, and Pyrite Silver Metallic. We think Chili Red Metallic and Kurkuma Yellow Metallic are two of the stand-out colors. If we had the choice, we'd go with a silver one.

  • Deep Black Pearl
  • Pure White
  • Chili Red Metallic, Build Out: 02/12/2020
  • Urano Gray
  • Manganese Gray Metallic
  • Pyrite Silver Metallic

Arteon Performance

Don't let the R-Line moniker fool you; even in higher trims, the Arteon is no sports car. Instead, this four-door fastback delivers confident performance that should prove to be more than enough for most city-slicking professionals. Under the hood lies a small-capacity turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 268 hp. With a curb weight in the mid-3000-pound range, the Arteon doesn't feel slow and will snap up gaps in traffic with eagerness, but it struggles to impress at higher speeds. Out on the highway, it will comfortably cruise at the speed limit and has enough power for overtaking maneuvers, but don't expect massive pull after 60 mph. Competitors such as the Audi A6 with a similar 2.0-liter turbocharged power plant feel more confident, and offer more in-gear surge thanks to a higher torque output. Accept the Arteon for what it is, and you'll never be disappointed with its middling performance figures.

2020 Volkswagen Arteon Front View Driving Volkswagen
2020 Volkswagen Arteon Rear View Driving Volkswagen
2020 Volkswagen Arteon Engine Volkswagen

Engine and Transmission

From behind the wheel, it is immediately noticeable that the Arteon has not been tuned to deliver a razor-sharp throttle response, and you can expect a mild surge of power when stomping on the accelerator pedal. Under the hood of the 2020 VW Arteon lies a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that offers 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The Kia Stinger has less power but slightly more torque, and the same goes for the Audi A6, yet both these cars feel faster off the line. Part of the reason why, is the fact that the Arteon has purposefully been tuned for efficiency and not outright performance. Clever tricks such as water-cooled exhaust gas routing and advanced thermal management and a short warm-up period also help to reduce gas consumption. Power is sent to the front or all four wheels via an eight-speed transmission with Tiptronic shifting, and this transmission is perfectly suited to the Arteons relaxed driving style.

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

Handling and Driving Impressions

As with the powertrain, the chassis and suspension setup is tuned for comfort rather than for a full-blown sporty experience, and it works well with the relaxed attitude of the rest of the car. VW has combined the MQB platform with a set of adaptive dampers that can automatically adjust to your driving style. We found that this system would stiffen up slightly under hard cornering, but never to the extent that we'd like, so it would be best to manually adjust this system to your choice by selecting comfort, normal or sport mode. Whatever the setting, the driving experience is predictable and feels surefooted overall, especially in AWD configuration. In a way, it reminds us of the Golf GTI, but with a touch less directness. Steering is on the lighter side, and there's minimal feedback through the steering wheel, but the Arteon can be placed with reasonable accuracy through a set of corners.

Arteon Gas Mileage

A relatively low curb weight and an engine tuned for efficiency translate into a car that delivers reasonably good gas mileage. The VW Arteon will, according to the EPA, deliver a best of 22/29/25 mpg city/highway/combined in FWD guise: that is on par with the 2.0-liter Kia Stinger. With power being sent to all four wheels, that number drops to 20/29/23 mpg. The 2020 VW Arteon is fitted with a generously sized 17.4-gallon fuel tank, which gives this German executive a maximum range of between 400 and 435 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    17.4 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/29 mpg
* 2020 Volkswagen Arteon SE FWD

Arteon Interior

If you think that the exterior design of the 2020 Arteon looks like it means business, then wait until you step inside. The interior of the Arteon can best be described as business-chic and has clearly been designed to appease board members and not more creative types. As with Audi's A6, the Arteon features a no-nonsense dashboard design that incorporates simplistic lines for a clean overall look, but we can't help but feel as if it lacks a bit of soul. There's a good sense of space in the front and back, which greatly adds to its executive car persona, and the fit and finish are top-notch, which we've come to expect from VW products in recent years. With features such as standard three-zone climate control, and 12-way power-adjustable front seats, there is a definite air of premium luxury. The Arteon's interior is here to pamper, but in a completely professional and above-board manner.

2020 Volkswagen Arteon Dashboard Volkswagen
2020 Volkswagen Arteon Dashboard 1 Volkswagen
2020 Volkswagen Arteon Front Seats Volkswagen
See All 2020 Volkswagen Arteon Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

A lot of importance is placed on interior space and overall passenger comfort when it comes to cars in this class. Both front and rear passengers are treated as equals, and comfort for all is the ultimate goal. We're glad to report that the VW Arteon does exceptionally well in this department: There's more than enough room for five adults, and thanks to a reasonable ride height, getting in and out of this sportback is a simple task. So on to the measurements: headroom in the front comes in at 37.7 inches, while those in the rear get 37 inches. Shoulder room is 56.5/54.7 inches front to back, and legroom is an impressive 41.2 inches in the front, and a generous 40.2 inches in the rear.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.2 in
  • Front Head Room 37.7 in
  • Rear Leg Room 40.2 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.0 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The VW Arteon impresses with its choice of quality materials, but the range of interior colors are limited to darker hues. You also won't find sporty trimmings such as Alcantara and carbon fiber here, but expect to see lots of leather and soft-touch plastics. The base model Arteon SE gets exclusive rights to leatherette upholstery, while the rest of the line-up gets Nappa leather. All Arteon models also get a standard leather-wrapped shifter and multi-function leather steering wheel. There is a general sense of quality inside the Arteon, and even the plastics have a premium feel to them.

Arteon Trunk and Cargo Space

There's a good reason why so many manufacturers are moving away from the traditional sedan body style and looking towards the sportback design. Firstly, the sportback doesn't give up on the elegant lines of a traditional sedan, they actually look really good, but most importantly is the fact that sportback cars are more practical to live with, and offer a ton more cargo space. Lift the rear lid on the 2020 Arteon, and you'll be greeted by a massive 27.2 cubic feet of space. That is almost double the space you get behind the rear seats than you do in the Audi A6. The Kia Stinger, which shares the sportback design, offers a total of 23.3 cubic feet of trunk space, making the Arteon the clear winner. With the rear seats folded flat, the Arteon offers 55 cubic feet of space. That's enough room for a ton of quarterly profit reports.

2020 Volkswagen Arteon Rear Passenger Seats Volkswagen
2020 Volkswagen Arteon Trunk Space Volkswagen
2020 Volkswagen Arteon Side View Volkswagen

Arteon Infotainment and Features

Features

Yes, it might cost a few dollars more than the competition, but it makes up for that by including a generous list of standard features, even in base form. The base model of the 2020 Arteon range comes fitted with standard keyless access and push-button start, three-zone Climatronic climate control, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, and heated 12-way power-adjustable front seats wrapped in leatherette. SEL models add to that remote start, Nappa leather seats, and a driver's seat memory function as well as a digital cockpit. The SEL R-Line mainly adds cosmetic features such as larger 20-inch wheels and an exterior styling kit, but the interior does feature an R-Line steering wheel with paddle shifters, contrast stitching, as well as stainless steel R-Line door sills. The range-topping SEL Premium R-Line gets all the best goodies, including three-color ambient lighting, rain-sensing window wipers, a massaging driver's seat, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, as well as rear controls for the climate control system, and a power trunk. Standard driver assistance features include forward collision warning with pedestrian monitoring, blind-spot monitor, and rear traffic alert. SEL cars add adaptive cruise control, while SEL Premium R-Line cars also get lane keep assist, park assist with front and rear park distance control, high beam control, and an overhead view camera.

Infotainment

Every 2020 Arteon comes fitted with a standard eight-inch infotainment display that is neatly mounted in the center of the dashboard and gives easy access to both the driver and front passenger. Icons are clearly displayed, and the overall user experience is trouble-free, and the touch function relatively intuitive. Standard infotainment features across all trim levels include HD/SiriusXM satellite radio, two USB ports, an eight-speaker sound system, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth connectivity and Volkswagen's Car-Net service, which allows for services such as emergency assistance and remote engine unlocking. SEL trim cars and upward offer integrated navigation, and a reconfigurable instrument panel for added customizability. Top of the line SEL Premium R-Line cars also get a bump in audio performance thanks to a 12-speaker Dynaudio sound package, which we found performs best when playing Owner Of a Lonely Heart by Yes.

Arteon Problems and Reliability

There's only good news to report here. Since its North American debut last year, there have been no recalls issued. VW might have reduced its basic warranty from a six-year/72,000-mile plan to four-years and 50,000 miles, but they have included a two-year maintenance plan, which will save owners a good chunk of change. The Arteon's warranty also includes a six-year/100,000-mile corrosion warranty, a four-year/50,000-mile drivetrain warranty, as well as a three-year/36,000-mile roadside assistance plan.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    7 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Maintenance:
    2 Years \ 20,000 Miles

Arteon Safety

The VW Arteon isn't exactly a massive seller, so we forgive the NHTSA for not having tested it yet, but thankfully the IIHS has put a 2019 model through its paces, and the results were pleasing. Although the Arteon failed to bag a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS, it did manage to gain a good score across the range, and only disappointed in the headlight category, while its LATCH system scored average. The Arteon doesn't skimp out on safety tech, however, and with a good number of standard driver assistance systems on offer, the Arteon should keep its occupants safe in case of a serious accident.

Key Safety Features

As can be expected from a premium executive, the VW Arteon comes standard with all the fundamental safety equipment and systems, and also features a number of standard driver assistance systems that get more advanced as you go up in trim level. Standard safety gear includes dual front, side and thorax airbags, front and rear curtain airbags, as well as a tire pressure monitoring system, and Volkswagen's intelligent crash response system. Driver assistance systems included on all models include forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic traffic alert. SEL models add adaptive cruise control, and SEL Premium R-Line cars get lane keep assist, park assist with front and rear park distance control, high beam assist, and a surround-view camera system.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Volkswagen Arteon a good car?

Car lovers and car drivers alike are getting used to the thought of luxury compact crossover SUVs and cars that can drive themselves on the highway, but are they ready for luxury hatchback sedans? Audi and Kia have proven that it works exceptionally well, so VW has put its own horse in the race. The 2020 Arteon is a slick-looking executive sportback with a handsome face and a practical behind. We think VW has done an excellent job of shaping the hatch with the rest of the car, and with the R-Line exterior package fitted, it looks downright sporty. The same can't be said for the way it drives: forget about GTI levels of performance here. The Arteon is more of a comfortable cruiser with just enough power to get by. The interior is on the reserved side, but there's tons of space everywhere, and the build quality is up there with the best. Accept it for what it is, and the Arteon will make an excellent driving partner.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Volkswagen Arteon?

With four trim levels to choose from, the 2020 VW Arteon has something for most tastes and budgets. The base model SE starts off with an MSRP of $35,995, excluding tax, registration, and a destination fee of $1,020. Going for the 4Motion AWD version will set you back an additional $1,900. The SEL goes for $39,995, or $41,895 for the 4Motion AWD version, and the R-Line version will cost you $41,745, or $43,645 for the AWD car. The top of the range SEL Premium R-Line goes for $47,695. Since there are no real options on offer, you won't pay much more than what you see here.

2020 Volkswagen Arteon Models

The 2020 Arteon range consists of four trim levels, all of which share the same turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. Power is sent to either the front or all four wheels, depending on the configuration.

SE models sport 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, as well as power-folding mirrors on the outside. The interior comes with three-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry with push-button start, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, and heated 12-way power-adjustable front seats wrapped in leatherette. SE models also include an eight-inch infotainment display with eight-speakers and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

Moving up to SEL models adds LED daytime running lights, a panoramic sunroof remote start, and Nappa leather seats with driver's memory functionality. Additionally, a digital cockpit also features from this model onwards.

The SEL R-Line cars get exclusive rights to an R-Line steering wheel with cross-stitching and paddle shifters, stainless steel sill plates, as well as a black headliner. The exterior gets R-Line badging, and gloss-black front and rear fascia touches.

At the top of the range, the SEL Premium R-Line cars add rear climate control adjustability, ambient interior lighting, rain-sensing window wipers, as well as a massage driver's seat and ventilated front seats, amongst others.

Standard driver assistance features across the range include forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic traffic alert. SEL Premium R-Line models add lane keep assist, park assist with front and rear park distance control, high beam assist, and a surround-view camera system.

See All 2020 Volkswagen Arteon Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

With the 2020 range spread across four broadly specified models, VW has not seen it fit to make any further packages or options available, although there are a few minor add-ons that can be equipped. Only the Premium R-Line has access to a 20-inch wheel bundle (although this will be limited in availability) for $500. All other cars get access to a rear lip spoiler for $345, and various practical items, like a bike holder for $180 or cargo box attachment for $69, - we're just not sure we would utilize this svelte vehicle for such trivial things. Other than this, what you see per trim, is really what you get.

🚗What Volkswagen Arteon Model Should I Buy?

With four trims on offer, it shouldn't take new buyers too long to find the perfect match, but we've got one specific model in mind that offers a good balance between price, features, and looks. If we were the ones buying, we'd go with the SEL R-Line, the middle child of the 2020 Arteon lineup. The SEL R-Line shares its 268 hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine with the rest of the Arteon range and puts its power down on all four wheels. Features carried over from the SEL includes remote start, Nappa leather seats, as well as a driver's seat memory function. The SEL R-Line adds that cool-looking R-Line steering wheel with paddle shifters, the R-Line interior kit with blacked-out headliner and stainless steel door sills, as well as the exterior body kit that adds glossy black front and rear fascias and R-Line badging.

2020 Volkswagen Arteon Comparisons

Kia Stinger Kia
Audi A5 Sportback Audi
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Volkswagen Arteon268 hp22/29 mpg$35,995
Kia Stinger 255 hp22/29 mpg$33,090
Audi A5 Sportback 248 hp24/32 mpg$42,900

2020 Volkswagen Arteon vs Kia Stinger

The Kia Stinger is one of the first executives to introduce the sportback body design, which at the time seemed like a bit of a weird combination, but ask Stinger owners what they think of that rear liftgate, and you won't be able to shut them up. Not only is the Stinger a pretty and practical thing, but it's also quite entertaining to drive, and comes with an impressive range of engine options. For this comparison, we'll only mention the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four motor producing 255 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, which might be less than you get in the Arteon, but feels happier to be pushed. Fuel economy figures are also similar. On the road, the Stinger is a pleasure to drive, and while it might not be as comfortable at cruising speed, it sure is more engaging to pilot. The interior is more emotive, but can't match the Arteon's build quality. Trunk and cargo space is also slightly less. We think it offers great value for money; we just wish more people realized how good it is. Give us the Stinger.

See Kia Stinger Review

2020 Volkswagen Arteon vs Audi A5 Sportback

Audi is one of the bigger ambassadors for the sportback body style, and the A5 Sportback is a perfect example of why this body style just works. Sure, most people won't be able to tell the difference between the A5 and its A4 and A6 siblings, but this sedan/coupe looking thing has its own personality, pros, and cons. Under the hood of the 45 TFSI quattro lies a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that manages a total of 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. The A5 lays down the power more aggressively, and feels like a more sporty car, even when driving at a relaxed pace. The interior of the Audi shares its demure styling with the Arteon, but it comes across as a more premium space. We think the A5 has one of the best infotainment systems in its class. It's a beautiful thing to drive and looks great from any angle. Give us the A5.

See Audi A5 Sportback Review

Volkswagen Arteon Popular Comparisons

2020 Volkswagen Arteon Video Reviews

$35,995 - $47,695
Price Range (MSRP)
Volkswagen Arteon
Popular Tags Cars