2019 Volkswagen Arteon
When we normally think of Volkswagen, we often think of the “people’s car.” In some cases, it’s true – Volkswagen does offer a great lineup of cars and SUVs that match up well with mainstream rivals.
There are some moments when Volkswagen would create something special for upwardly mobile customers. There had been arguments that some Golf models attracted consumers who want that combination of performance and quality in a compact car. Then, there was the Touareg SUV, Phaeton luxury sedan, and the CC 4-door coupe – all efforts to bring luxury car customers to the place where everyone else bought their Jetta or Golf GTI.
The 2019 Arteon 4-door hatchback is the latest Volkswagen to attract the upwardly mobile to its showroom. We were curious whether this latest Volkswagen is the right halo car for the brand and attractive enough for the customers they want to attract.
The new Arteon wears the latest in Volkswagen design with even sharper lines, shapes and creases. The front end is an exercise in horizontal lines and shapes, which may or may not attract customers. We happen to like it, as it shows off a different face to Volkswagen customers. The Arteon is lower and sleeker than the Jetta and Passat it is sold alongside of. That gives it a sportier look that is visually superior than the CC it replaces.
This sleek and lower profile culminates at the rear with a long slope that frames the hatchback. The hatch opens right at the bumper for excellent cargo access and is opened by flipping the Volkswagen badge up. We love the frameless windows on the four doors that provide great access to its five seats inside. Our SEL tester wore 18-inch alloy wheels that fit the image of the Arteon’s intentions.
It is inside the Arteon that will surprise a lot of people. The dashboard design is clean and modern with great controls all around. The Digital Cockpit in our SEL tester is superb with several screens that can be customized for the information you need. The navigation screen shrinks the two main dials with an expanded map in the middle of your view. The center console has just a small number of essential controls that are equally clean, while offering plenty of storage and cupholders for the two front seats.
Front seat occupants will love the leather-upholstered chairs, with plenty of bolstering for support. The driver will be surprised by the amount of space up front, and the multitude of adjustments to find the right driving position. Rear seat is a huge surprise. Tall passengers have plenty of head and leg room with a comfortable and supportive seat by the doors. The middle passenger will have to negotiate the driveshaft tunnel to find foot room and comfort.
The best part of the Arteon’s cabin is it cargo space. The 27.2 cubic foot space is deep and can hold plenty of luggage for a road trip. The rear seats fold down, but there is a bit of a load lip to negotiate for loading and unloading.
Powering the Arteon is a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 268 horsepower on tap. The engine offers great acceleration and quiet operation. Our tester had the eight-speed automatic transmission with the 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system. The transmission works quite well with this engine and gearchange performance can be changed through the DCC adaptive chassis control system on the infotainment screen.
For fuel economy, we observed an average of 29.8 MPG in our care.
What truly makes the Arteon stand out is its driving dynamics, in particular the quality of the ride. The 111.9-inch wheelbase helps to create a luxury feeling for all inside the cabin as it smooths out the road beneath it. It handles extremely well in any of the DCC modes, with flat cornering and sharp reflexes. The steering system offers tight turns and solid on-center control. Brake pedal feel is superb with great stopping power in any situation.
The Arteon lineup starts from $35,845. Our SEL with 4MOTION tester came with a sticker price of $42,790. There are five trim levels available, although three of them are readily available at your local Volkswagen dealer. The trim level of our tester is available in limited numbers.
The mid-sized hatchback is something that Europeans love a lot. They offer adult space and greater practicality. Yet, they never caught on in America. There are now a few of these longer, sleeker hatchbacks in our market with the Arteon joining in on this resurrected body style. This Volkswagen now competes with the Audi A5 Sportback, BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe, Kia Stinger, and Buick Regal Sportback.
For Volkswagen customers looking to move upmarket with a stylish car that will seat four-to-five people comfortably and carry their luggage, the Arteon is an absolutely wonderful choice.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors