2019 Volkswagen Arteon

By September 11, 2019

With its coupe-like profile, the new 2019 Volkswagen Arteon mid-size sedan blends enticing style with welcome hatchback practicality. A replacement for the former CC sedan, the 2019 Arteon hatchback straddles the line between mainstream sensibility and straight-up luxury.

Three trim levels are offered: SE, SEL, and lineup-topping SEL Premium.

Like nearly every Volkswagen on sale, the four-door Arteon contains a 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine, rated at 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Sending that energy to the wheels is a slick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard on SE and SEL versions, with all-wheel drive optional. SEL Premium trim comes only with all-wheel drive.

R-Line editions are strictly appearance-focused, including black bumpers and spoiler, contrasting steering-wheel stitching, stainless steel door sills, and paddle shifters. Upgrading to 20-inch tires costs $500 more, but standard wheels fill out wheelwells nicely. Their taller sidewalls absorb bumps better, too.

Highly capable and competent, though short on sporty flair, the mid-size Arteon drives like a Volkswagen should: comfortably, capably, predictably. Front seats have plenty of space; rear passengers must tuck in under a low roofline to reach the Arteon’s low seats. As is the case with most hatchbacks, cargo space is much better than in a similarly sized sedan.

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash-tested the Arteon.

As expected in a flagship sedan that starts near $36,000, several active-safety features are standard. Each trim level is equipped with automatic emergency braking that incorporates pedestrian detection, along with blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alerts. The Arteon SEL adds adaptive cruise control and adaptive headlights. SEL Premium cars step up another safety notch, adding active lane control, parking assistance, automatic high-beam headlights, and a surround-view camera system.

Model Lineup

Prices do not include $995 destination charge.

The 2019 VW Arteon SE ($35,845 with front-drive, $37,645 with all-wheel drive) comes with synthetic leather upholstery, heated power front seats, keyless ignition, adaptive dampers, LED headlights, and 18-inch alloy wheels. The 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Forward-collision warnings, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts also are standard.

SE R-Line ($37,110 with FWD, $38,910 with AWD) adds R-Line interior/exterior appearance elements.

SE R-Line w/20-inch wheels ($37,610 with FWD, $39,410 with AWD) substitutes 20-inch wheels.

SEL ($39,995 with FWD, $41,795 with AWD) adds nappa leather upholstery, a panoramic moonroof, navigation, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, adaptive cruise control, and remote start.

SEL R-Line ($41,260 with FWD, $43,060 with AWD) adds R-Line appearance equipment to SEL trim.

SEL R-Line w/20-inch wheels ($41,760 with FWD, $43,560 with AWD) substitutes 20-inch tires.

SEL Premium 4Motion AWD ($44,945) comes with all-wheel drive, cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, massaging driver’s seat, parking sensors, active lane control, and a surround-view camera system.

SEL Premium R-Line 4Motion AWD ($46,210) adds R-Line equipment to SEL Premium, including 19-inch wheels.

SEL Premium R-Line with 4Motion AWD and 20-inch wheels ($46,710) substitutes 20-inch tires.

Exterior

Led by a wide, gaping grille, the stylish Arteon boasts a slippery-looking shape and dashing sloping roofline, all of which camouflage its impressive utility. The saucy tail and evocative fastback profile suggest – accurately – that it’s a hatchback, not a sedan with a trunk.

The Arteon stands apart for cohesive styling, as well as fine detail work. Chromed grille bars create an illusion of width, integrated into LED running lights. The grille reaches deep into the front bumper. Diving deeply into front fenders is a large clamshell hood. Pinched, wide taillights wrap from rear fenders into the hatchback lid, which contains an integrated spoiler.

Unlike the now-departed Volkswagen CC sedan, with its cramped back seat, the Arteon’s elongated body suggests inviting accommodations for rear passengers.

Interior

Cleanly functional as well as plush, the comfortable cabin is more straightforward than the Arteon’s exterior. Leather and woodgraining, standard in SEL versions, improve the look.

Though it’s exceptionally roomy for four passengers, the low roofline does limit interior room. Front passengers can expect ample space on 12-way power-adjustable seats. Rear occupants lose only a little head clearance, while benefiting from 40.2 inches of legroom.

Door openings are small, often requiring a bit of head-ducking. Short side windows restrict outward vision for back-seat passengers.

The Arteon’s dashboard is ordinary, but controls are arranged conveniently around, and beneath, the 8.0-inch touchscreen. Base SE models have plain gauges and a small LCD screen. The digital instrument cluster that’s included with SEL trim level looks far richer. Touchscreen images are crisp.

Since the Arteon is a hatchback, expansive cargo room is expected. With rear seatbacks upright, cargo volume totals almost 23 cubic feet. Folding those seatbacks boosts capacity to a helpful 55 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

The new Arteon has a calm and settled quality to its performance, ruled by refinement and capability. Excelling on the road, an Arteon easily settles into its role as a quiet, comfortable cruiser, thanks to standard adaptive dampers.

In most suspension modes, the ride is soft, but a slider within the touchscreen offers a broad selection of possibilities. In “soft” setting, the sedan overcomes big bumps without fuss. “Firm” can make it practically sports-car stiff – unlikely to be chosen by most drivers.

All Arteons handle adeptly. Bending its way along twisty roads, the hatchback feels wholly confident and entertaining. Not only is acceleration brisk, helped by quick transmission reflexes, it’s practically silent. Paddle shifters are limited to SEL Premium and R-Line models.

Fuel economy is EPA-rated with all-wheel drive at 20/27 mpg City/Highway, 23 Combined. Front-drive versions are better, at 22/31/25 mpg.

Final Word

The 2019 Volkswagen Arteon looks more evocative and performs better than the CC it replaces. Ride quality and passenger comfort are matched with an attractive design. The best value may be the Arteon SEL, with its standard luxury and safety touches.

 

Driving impressions by Andrew Ganz, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.