2020 Volkswagen Arteon

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2020 Volkswagen Arteon Review: Easy Business

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 in the USA.

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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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

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2020 Volkswagen Arteon Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
SEL R-Line
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
SEL Premium R-Line
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2020 Volkswagen Arteon Trims and Specs

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.

Verdict: 🏁Is the New VW Arteon a good Sedan?

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.

2020 Volkswagen Arteon Comparisons

Kia Stinger Kia
Audi A5 Sportback Audi

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 in the US, 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

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