2022 Volkswagen Arteon

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2022 Volkswagen Arteon Test Drive Review: Affordable Beauty

Volkswagen once tried to enter the top tier of the premium space with a technological marvel called the Phaeton, but it was a sales flop because of the badge. However, with releases like the Tiguan and this, the Volkswagen Arteon, the German marque has finally figured out how to balance an affordable price with tremendous style and substance. As sleek and sexy as it looks, this is not a sports sedan. Instead, it's part of the conglomerate of midsize sedans parading as hatchbacks in the same vein as the Kia Stinger and Audi A5 Sportback, designed for style and comfort. Under the hood of all models is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot producing 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, delivered to your choice of front- or all-wheel drive by a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Competitors may be sportier and some might be more powerful, but VW's commitment to designing and building stylish, luxurious passenger cars deserves to be applauded. Now if only we could get afull-fat R version in the US...

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 10 /10
  • Performance 9 /10
  • Fuel Economy 6 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 9 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 8 /10
  • Safety 8 /10
  • Value For Money 7 /10
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2022 Volkswagen Arteon Changes: What’s the Difference vs the 2021 Volkswagen Arteon?

The Arteon received its mid-life facelift last year and this year, the changes are not as far-reaching. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine's outputs are usefully boosted though, from 268 hp and 258 lb-ft to 300 hp and 295 lb-ft. The old eight-speed automatic transmission is also ditched in favor of a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Still on the mechanical side, the SEL R-Line is now AWD-only and can optionally be specced with a Dark Graphite 20-inch wheel package. As befits its general sense of style, the R-Line appearance package is fitted as standard this year, even on the SE, to go with this trim's new 18-inch alloy wheels. Standard equipment is shored up too, with wireless phone charging and parking sensors front and rear no longer optional but standard.

Pros and Cons

  • Beautiful styling
  • Loads of space
  • Plenty of standard equipment
  • Competitive pricing
  • Comfy ride
  • Only one engine option
  • Some will still look down on the badge
  • Hand-free liftgate should be available to all models

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2022 Volkswagen Arteon Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SE R-Line
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
SEL R-Line
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
SEL Premium R-Line
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2022 Volkswagen Arteon Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

What you want in a big luxury car like this is comfort and composure, and the Arteon delivers both in spades. All models come standard with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), which is Volkswagen-speak for adaptive damping. It shows its worth by effortlessly soaking up bumps and divots with ease, and this is not just the case in Comfort mode. Switch to Sport and things tighten up but remain comfortable enough for you to leave the DCC in this mode every day. Again, this highlights Volkswagen's focus on making this a great alternative to the German big three's offerings, but it's still decent when you decide to drive with a little more vigor. The steering is accurate and light, albeit light on feel as well. Understeer is well-managed thanks to the standard XDS diff unless you drive like a moron, and the whole package feels smooth, balanced, and solid. Forget about road noise and rattles - this car is built to an exceptional standard. Sure, a Mercedes will always be quieter and comfier, but at this price point, the Arteon remains a standout performer, even if its balance lies more on the comfort side of the spectrum.

Verdict: Is the 2022 Volkswagen Arteon A Good Car?

Two years ago, we all but raved about the Arteon and since its 2021 update, a new Volkswagen Arteon is now a better proposition than ever. It's prettier, more elegant inside, still offers a compliant ride, now has more than enough power to feel swift, and loads of space. This area is one in which the Arteon especially outshines its competitors, in terms of both cargo volume and passenger room. There's plenty of standard tech, including a new digital driver cluster and a better infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In addition, the trim structure is simple and straightforward, making it easy for you to choose the ideal model. It's not terribly expensive, even though it looks like it is, and with Volkswagen's attention to detail and ergonomic design shining through alongside excellent build quality, the question isn't if you should buy this particular budget-friendly four-door coupe, but rather, why wouldn't you? Good job VW, this is an outstanding product and we're not sure why we don't see more on the road.

2022 Volkswagen Arteon Comparisons

Kia Stinger CarBuzz
Audi A5 Sportback Audi

2022 Volkswagen Arteon vs Kia Stinger

For 2022, Kia has updated the Stinger with more features, improved trim, and a new 300-hp base engine that matches the 2022 Arteon on power output. Like the Arteon, the Kia remains fantastic to look at, but unlike the VW, this car is much more sporty thanks to its standard rear-wheel drivetrain. It lacks the finesse of the Arteon over bumps but is available with a powerful twin-turbo 3.3-liter engine that would leave the Arteon for dead. It's a little less practical than the VeeDub from both a rear passenger and cargo perspective and hasn't quite got the build quality of the German car. That said, the Stinger is not harsh, not overly aggressive, and not unattainable. It also starts at around $4,000 less than the VW, and a top-spec model with the more potent V6 isn't much more than the Arteon. We love both cars here, so the choice is yours: comfort and practicality with the Arteon, or sportiness and power with the Stinger. Either way, you won't be disappointed.

See Kia Stinger Review

2022 Volkswagen Arteon vs Audi A5 Sportback

This isn't really a fair comparison, you may think, but with the Audi A5 Sportback carrying a base price of $43,500, it's not far off. Sure, the A5 gets to over $60k with all the options ticked, but we want to see if a similarly priced base model can compete with the Arteon. Well, it comes with AWD as standard and is also powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-banger. Here, it only produces 201 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, with a more powerful version making 261 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. The Arteon is more powerful, but the A5 wins a point back for its premium badge. It also has a panoramic sunroof as standard, as well as ambient lighting, but where VW offers blind-spot monitoring, keyless entry, and adaptive dampers as standard, Audi charges you extra. It doesn't stop there, and the Arteon has more passenger space and more cargo space. It might miss out on the available advanced tech and thumping sound systems you'd find on the Audi, but in base form and for the same money, it's actually a better deal. Ultimately, we think most people will choose the Audi for its badge, but if you prefer the features and look of the VW, we urge you to take one for a test drive. You'll likely be blown away by its class and comfort.

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