Sunday Drive: VW Arteon turns heads, now with abundant luxury
Now in its third year of production, the Volkswagen Arteon has become a mainstay in the VW line. We think of it as the flagship of the line, positioned above the Passat as it comes with a luxurious feel, especially in the Premium R-Line edition.
Whenever we have a car that is different or relatively new to the market, we get questions as to what we are driving and if we like it. The frequency of these kinds of questions helps us understand if the vehicle stands out to the general public or not. With the new Arteon, the questions and inquiries kept coming all week long, no matter where we were in the sedan.
In fact, one of the first questions we received (while attending the Springville City Farmers Market) was if we were driving a new Audi A6. This was definitely a testament to the design and build of this new vehicle. It is built using what VW calls its new MQB platform.
It’s a strange name and a huge investment for Volkswagen — into the billions of dollars — that allows the company to build any of its 11 different models in any plant. This system is a great way to move production from one model to another with little notice. For example, if more Arteons are needed, any production facility can make that switch quickly, producing the quantity and trims needed.
In the long run, it seems this type of setup will allow manufacturers to produce vehicles faster and cheaper, pulling many of the parts from the same place. Automotive technology gets better every day, not only inside the vehicle but also at the plants where they are being produced, reshaping an industry that was seeing production costs spiral out of control.
The Arteon replaced the CC in the VW line and, as we mentioned, it will now be the flagship model and the most luxurious that the manufacturer has produced to date. The new model is somewhat larger with the wheelbase increased by 5 inches and the length increased by 2.3 inches. In effect, this doubled the amount of cargo space in the new Arteon from 13.2 cubic feet to a whopping 27.2 cubes. Some of this space is garnered from the fact that it is now a fastback with a hatchback-style trunk.
The trunk is huge — we are talking a three-body trunk that will have plenty of space for everyday driving for even the busiest of families and, more importantly, for the family road trip. It acts almost like a mid-sized SUV with all that space. Mom and Dad will fall in love with the space immediately; and with the hatchback, it is very easy to reach inside and move things around. Did we mention that the hatch is powered to lift up and down? This was super convenient; with the kick of a foot under the bumper, it would lift into the air!
We loved the fact that we could get up close and personal with everything we would put into it. Going golfing? No problem. A trip to Costco? Again, no problem at all. The look the designers have captured by adding the fastback to the vehicle gives it an almost coupe-like appearance, again something that will resonate with consumers as we found out during the week.
Our favorite feature that came with the SEL trim level is Volkswagen’s new 12.3-inch digital dashboard. That’s right, the entire dash in front of the steering wheel is a huge LED screen that can be changed and configured to the driver’s desires. This is coming from a company that just a few short years ago seemed as if it was still in the Stone Age when it came to technology inside its vehicles.
We are even more impressed with VW as it continues to add all kinds of technology to each vehicle in its line while making them more and more affordable. This new digital dash is very impressive; we loved the way we could put the navigation map right in the middle of the speedometer and tachometer, allowing us to quickly glance down and get directions to our destination.
Other great interior features were the 8-inch infotainment screen that controlled most other functions in the vehicle and a three-zone climate control that would keep both Mom and Dad happy along with any kiddos in the rear seat.
The front seats were both heated and cooled while the rear seats and the steering wheel were heated, which made the cold October days this year even more bearable. The seats were made of Nappa leather and were oh so comfortable.
For those who might be worried about performance from the largest sedan in the VW fleet and its four-cylinder engine, forget about it. The turbocharger pushes the horsepower to 268 with 258 foot-pounds of torque to go along with it. There was never any doubt that we would quickly get to the speed we wanted, no matter what situation we were faced with during our test week.
On the safety side, there were plenty of included systems ranging from adaptive cruise control to blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, parking assist and forward collision warning and intervention. It seems VW has checked all the boxes in that category for their flagship model, making it an even better family hauler.
The new Arteon should really be assigned to a luxury category as it was loaded with looks and style points. It should really resonate with many consumers. We loved our week in the new model and look forward to it being around in the VW line for years to come.
Base price: $46,995
Destination charge: $1,195
Price as driven: $48,585