Eye-catching design. The 2020 Volkswagen Arteon belongs is a fastback sedan with coupe-like styling. The main draw with cars like the Arteon is their styling, having more presence on the road than traditional sedans without the drawbacks of a coupe.
Compared to the rest of VW's lineup, the Arteon ditches the conservative look for something much more dramatic. While the sloping roofline will certainly be the thing that catches your eye first, the way the LED daytime running lights directly lead into horizontal slats in the grille is a beautiful touch. The clamshell styled hood that falls into the grille, pinched taillights, and stylish wheel designs also help it stand out.
Unfortunately, the Arteon’s interior design doesn’t share the same enthusiastic look as the exterior. Function takes priority over form with the cabin, sharing a look that’s familiar to other VW models. It’s not that the cabin is ugly or has subpar materials – that’s far from the case. It just doesn’t have the same pizzazz as the outside or upscale look to match rivals.
Surprisingly versatile. One of the main reasons why crossovers and SUVs have pushed sedans aside as being the go-to body style is because of their versatility. Fastbacks like the Arteon bridge the gap between the two.
In spite of the Arteon’s sweeping roofline, it can hold 27.2 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seat up, or 55 cubic feet with it folded. This figure tops most other fastbacks and sedans in the class and matches some small crossovers SUVs.
A mix of luxury and mainstream. With the Arteon, Volkswagen sits in an interesting part of the market. It sits above more mainstream options like the Kia Stinger, but below luxury options like the Audi A5. The Arteon’s unique middle ground means it comes with a good mix of upscale features on higher trims.
The range-topping SEL Premium R-Line trim comes with heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, a heated steering wheel, a massaging driver’s seat, a 12-speaker Dynaudio sound system, an automated parking system, three-zone automatic climate control, VW’s Digital Cockpit system, an 8-inch touchscreen, and more.
While the Arteon’s price on higher trim levels make it less of a value option, consumers looking for something nice without a true luxury car price tag will find a lot to like with the Arteon.
Look elsewhere for sportiness. While other fastbacks in the class may offer available high-performance powertrains, VW only offers one engine for the entire Arteon lineup, and it’s not exactly powerful.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 268 horsepower. The Arteon isn’t fast, and it’s well behind competitors, especially when it comes to straight-line performance. VW also tuned the Arteon’s powertrain for efficiency, further dampening any possibility of athleticism. It’s the same story around corners, as the Arteon offers a smooth and controlled ride instead of flat-out cornering capability.
Final thoughts. The 2020 VW Arteon fits into the new age of fastback sedans well, being a great option for drivers that want something with a little more character without having to compromise in terms of versatility. As long as athleticism isn’t on your list of must-haves, the Arteon’s gorgeous looks, spacious cargo area, and good mix of features make it an option worth exploring.
The main area that needs to be improved on with the Arteon is its performance. Other competitors have a performance-oriented trim and the Arteon could greatly benefit from one. When the time comes for a mid-cycle refresh, we’d really like VW to update the cabin to match the vehicle’s striking exterior design.
There aren’t a lot of competitors in the segment. The Kia Stinger is a better overall choice, offering more value, excellent performance, and a more muscular design. Kia also sells the Stinger in a high-performance GT trim that’s both comfortable and incredibly fun to drive.
The Audi A5 is a true luxury option with more upscale features, a more premium interior design, more powerful engines, and better handling capability. The A5 is pricier and has a smaller cargo area, however.
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