Tuesday, September 3, 2019

2019 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SE R-Line AWD: The Brand's New Flagship Car

Highlight: The Arteon is the replacement for the CC that faded away a few years ago.

Test Vehicle's MSRP: $39,905 (SE Model: $36,840)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; a rearview camera; daytime running lights; heated foldable, power adjustable side mirrors; forward collision warning system; autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring; a hill hold control system; an electronic blind spot monitor; an automatic dimming rearview mirror; and a tire pressure monitoring system

Standard Equipment (SE Model): 18-inch wheels; a start/stop engine; LED headlights; automatic headlight range adjustment; leather wrapped steering wheel; a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; power front seats; heated front seats; leather-like seats; keyless entry system; an 8-inch infotainment screen; a 3-zone automatic climate control system; electric parking brake; carpeted cargo area; carpeted floor mats; and rear split bench seats with a center armrest

Standard Equipment (SE R-Line AWD): 19-inch wheels; R-line steering wheel and interior trim with black headliner; a unique front bumper that incorporates stylish air intakes in a gloss black finish; R-line air inlets; stainless steel sport pedals cover; stainless steel door sills with the R-line  and a rear spoiler

Options: None

Other Trim Levels:

SEL Premium
SEL R-Line

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: an 8-speaker AM/FM/HD with satellite

Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard

USB Connectivity: Standard

Apple/Android Connectivity: Standard

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 6 years or 72,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 72,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbo/258-hp

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage: 22-city/31-hwy

What’s New: The all-new Arteon hatchback is the replacement for the discontinued CC.

Why: VW’s newest addition to the lineup, the Arteon, is available in one powertrain. The fuel-efficient 4-cylinder turbo engine, with its quiet smooth shifting automatic transmission, is more than adequate for the new VW. The brand’s new flagship vehicle is available in a front wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration in a variety of trims.

The large hatchback, with its coupe-like styling, frameless windows and athletic exterior bulges, is roomy and rides like a big luxury sedan. With its high level of standard equipment, buyers can expect an array of features one has come to expect in the fullsize segment. Those features range from a sliding height adjustable front center armrest to power front seats to a SiriusXM radio to an automatic ventilation system.

The interior layout follows the theme of a traditional VW, simple and easy to use. From the audio system to the ventilation system, everything is easy to use. While a navigation system wasn’t standard on our base model S
E trim, its available on the higher trims to an electronic dimming rearview mirror.

Also depending on the trim, leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, 20-inch wheels, a digital cockpit, ambient lighting, a massaging driver’s seat, a heated steering wheel, a premium 12-speaker audio system and ventilated front seats are just a few of the features one can add to enhance the driving experience.

Moreover, driver assist features like a 360-degree camera and a radar activated cruise control system are available too. Our review vehicle also had a different profile too with its R-badging and larger 19-inch wheels.

Lastly, VW offers the best new-vehicle warranty in the segment. All VWs come with a 6 year or 72, 000 mile bumper to bumper warranty.

But: The base VW Arteon might be the right vehicle for the brand. However, the timing might be off, as a result of the fullsize sedan fading away and shrinking, as a result of consumers thirst toward crossovers, SUVs and trucks.

Moreover, the brand’s flagship sedan is only available with one powertrain. Some critics believe a vehicle of this size should be powered by a larger 6-cylinder engine that could produce over 300-horsepower just like a number of competitive vehicles in the segment. And for the life us, we can't understand why does VW require premium fuel. We understand its a twin turbo, but regular fuel would help with our pocketbooks.

Also the hatchback trunk is quite heavy and requires an enormous amount of strength to open and close. Depending on the trim, a hands free open trunk is available.

Furthermore, the Arteon is available with a variety of driving modes. Unfortunately, we were unable to distinguish between, economy, normal, comfort and sport modes.

Lastly, an automatic brake hold feature should be standard on the brand’s flagship vehicle. Before VW Americanized their vehicles a few years ago, this feature was used to distinguish VW from the pack. Ironically, due to cost cutting measures, this must-have feature faded away. 

Verdict: It’s been three years, since the Arteon made its world debut. In the midst of the VW diesel debacle and consumers shift toward crossovers, many of us in the industry had assumed the vehicle had faded away just like Chevy’s Impala, Hyundai’s Azera and Ford’s Taurus.

However, with the arrival of this new VW, while the new name when take a moment to establish itself in the marketplace, the exterior design makes the vehicle a segment standout. For those who find the hatchback styling of the Audi A7, which is the luxury sibling to the mainstream VW brand, to be out of their price point, the Arteon could be the perfect alternative. In our opinion, it’s a worthy contender to consider despite the unraveling of the large car segment, especially when optioned out with the R-design and the flashy yellow paint job.

Competition: Chevrolet Impala; Chrysler 300; Kia Cadenza; Kia GT Stinger; Nissan Maxima; and Toyota Avalon

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