Volkswagen Arteon: A Rose By Any Other Name

Volkswagen Arteon. The name itself is a heavy hitter. And while some may find it awkward, we say that’s likely due to the psychological effect of seeing the Volkswagen brand as anything other than what its name implies—a “people’s car”. You see, the Arteon is VW’s bold approach to a whole new level of quality. We all know that—despite recent poor press—Volkswagens are great cars, and the VW Group is parent company to some major names in the automotive world. The badge itself, however, isn’t typically associated with a prestigious level of vehicle. VWs have fell more in line with sport compact, economical level cars. But this mid-sized sedan is different. It makes a statement. It’s elegant. And it’s a lot more than just some sports coupe you would expect to find at the local Cars and Coffee.

Age Before Beauty

To truly understand the Volkswagen Arteon’s place in the market, we need to take a look back to the Volkswagen CC. The CC was a mid-size sedan that ran from 2008-2017. The CC was exactly what you’d expect from the company, but it didn’t quite capture the market as VW had hoped. With only 3,900 units sold in 2015, the CC was one of the lowest selling Volkswagen vehicles. Time to throw in the towel, yea? This is Volkswagen, though. Instead of just walking away, they decided to step up their game. The Arteon is the CC’s all-new replacement. And while it’s never fun to watch a familiar face disappear, we sure are happy to see this new one.

The new Volkswagen Arteon is based on the same platform as the CC, but there are some considerable differences. First and foremost: a major facelift. Sure, the CC was a nice car. But it looked like something a cookie-cutter businessman approaching the twilight of his cookie-cutter life would drive. (No offense to any businessmen reading this who loved their CC. We’re sure your life is very fulfilling.) However, the Arteon has a much bolder, aggressive grille with distinctive LED headlights. A fresh young face that lacks its predecessor’s crow’s feet.

Outside Appearances

The profile of both the CC and the Arteon are still nearly identical. And, indeed, if you were to trace the exteriors, you’d be hard pressed to spot the differences. But with a full detailed picture, you can see how subtle adjustments make all the difference. Down along the side, the new Arteon has much sportier details, as well as frameless side windows and a wrap-around hood. The front grille is wider, too—and has more of a punch, while the rear design carries the car’s bold new look from the front all the way to the tail end. And speaking of the rear, the CC featured a standard trunk, whereas the Arteon is a true hatchback.

From the exterior appearance, it’s easy to see that the Volkswagen Arteon is the company’s way of gearing up to take on vehicles such as the Audi A5. In a press release covering the all new car, Volkswagen says: “The exterior design immediately sets Arteon apart from its competitors. A true fastback, it harkens more to luxury models.” They go on to explain how this exterior redesign makes for a more luxurious passenger experience. “Arteon’s wheelbase is more than 5 inches longer than the CC—111.9 inches compared to 106.7 inches—and is paired with shorter overhangs for more dynamic proportions. Arteon is longer and wider as well, translating into more interior space.”

It’s What’s On the Inside that Counts

The interior takes a page straight from the text book of functionality and comfort. In just about every review you’ll find, the Volkswagen Arteon’s interior is directly compared to that of its competitor—the Audi A5. From the premium leather to the aluminum inlays, to the tilting/sliding panoramic sunroof and ambient lighting, both models are very similar inside. And like the A5, the Arteon’s extra space is noticeable the most from the rear seat. (Although the roof line does interfere a bit.) Taller passengers sitting straight up will feel that their headspace is a bit cramped, but the leg room more than makes up for it. This is demonstrated in just about every video review, as the Arteon effectively passes the can-I-slide-down-without-uncomfortably-pressing-my-knees-into-the-back-of-the-driver’s-seat test.

The Total Package

Technically speaking, the Volkswagen Arteon can be factory-equipped with one of three engine options. Although we Americans are deprived of two of them. In the United States, the Arteon comes with a turbocharged 2.0 liter 4 cylinder, capable of producing 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It won’t break any land speed records, but it can travel from 0-60 in 5.6 seconds. Not bad for a mid-size sedan with a funny name, eh?

Ultimately, the Arteon is an enticing package. It’s beautiful, quick, spacious, and it will even pull itself to the side of the road if you happen to fall asleep behind the wheel. With 18- and 19-inch wheel options and three trim levels to choose from, the Arteon is set to start around $35,000. VW certainly jams a lot into a package at this price. The CC may have missed the mark, but VW isn’t playing around in making sure the Arteon hits a bull’s eye.

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