Car review: 2021 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SE

By Larry Lark, contributor

The mid-size 2021 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SE has been refreshed, giving the German four-door sedan with a rakish hatchback a new lease on life.

Arteon is available in three trims: SE, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line.

Arteon retains its characteristic aggressive stance—low and wide—that immediately sets it apart from the sedan segment at large. Taking inspiration from classic sports cars, the contoured hood lines extend directly into the grille, while the long and wide hood stretches across the entire front profile into the wheel arches.

The Arteon can now be optioned with an unmistakable lighting signature. For the first time, the Arteon SEL R-Line and SEL Premium R-Line feature an illuminated light bar in the grille to complement the LED headlights that are standard across the line. The light bar connects with the daytime running lights (DRLs) and surround the new Volkswagen logo, using light as the new chrome to set off the modern front end design.

Powered by 2.0-liter, turbocharged, DOHC, 16-valve, four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the front-wheel driver delivers 248 horsepower and 32 miles per gallon down the highway.

Arteon’s large interior can accommodate five adults, and the equally large trunk accessed via the hatch can hold four full-size golf bags without problem.

Heated, 12-way power front seats are standard in the Arteon, as are leatherette seating surfaces. The center console is revised, hosting Volkswagen’s latest MIB3 infotainment and an all-new touch-sensitive climate control system. A new generation of multifunction steering wheel also features digital touch surfaces.

Technology and convenience features are highlighted by a touchscreen navigation system with voice recognition, premium Harman Kardan audio system with eight speakers, Bluetooth, auto-dimming rearview mirror, anti-theft alarm system, USB ports and an electronic parking brake.

The advanced Volkswagen Digital Cockpit system, standard on all Arteon models, presents drivers with a fully-digital instrument cluster. Using a 10- inch TFT display, the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit offers a configurable presentation of important vehicle information, with 21 viewing options, including car status, navigation, driving data, phone information, driver assistance features, and more.

Completing the long list of Arteon attributes is a long list of safety and driver assistance features that allow its owners to sleep well at night.

The list includes front collision warning and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, blind spot monitor and rear traffic assist, cruise control, hill hold control, rear view camera system, electronic stability control, advanced airbag protection and an intelligent crash response system. More technology is provided on higher trim levels.

A Start/Stop system is standard on all Arteon models. This technology stops the engine during

idle when the brake pedal is held (such as when waiting at a red light) when proper conditions are met. When the brake pedal is released, the engine restarts.

VW likes to think of Arteon as a “gran tourismo” type car. I wouldn’t go that far, but it was a fun ride to Bellingham and Aslan Brewery. Road noise was noticeable, but the car performed well and was comfortable coming and going on the two-hour journey.

Base Price: $38,190

Price As Driven: $38,190

Destination charge is included in base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.