Buyer's Guide

2021 Volkswagen Arteon
Select a Different Model (4 Available): SE Hatchback
Fuel Economy $ 22 / 32 mpg
Horsepower 268@5,500
Torque 258@1,950
See All Specs
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2021 Volkswagen Arteon MODEL OVERVIEW

Pros

  • Great looks made better for 2021
  • Standard digital gauge cluster
  • Useful hatchback cargo area

Cons

  • Feels underpowered
  • Roll-prone handling
  • Wagon version not sold here

Continuing the style statement made by the Passat CC, the larger Volkswagen Arteon also rides the four-door coupe trend and gets a thorough refresh for 2021. The Arteon is positioned as Volkswagen's most premium car, and it is equipped with features and tech to justify its price point. The handy hatchback cargo area distinguishes it from conventional sedans like the Toyota Avalon, while its more mainstream appeal separates it from the sportier Kia Stinger.

What's New

  • Restyled front and rear bumpers
  • Freshened lighting with distinctive LEDs
  • New badging design
  • Sleeker dashboard panel
  • Standard digital gauge display and updated infotainment
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • SEL trim discontinued; SEL R-Line continues

What We Think

More a style statement than anything, the Arteon increases its head-turning potential for 2021. Even though it was introduced in North America for the 2019 model year, it's been on sale in Europe longer. It was due for an update there, and those changes make stateside, too.

The most significant improvements might be to the cabin, which we previously criticized as not feeling special enough to match the car's dramatic exterior. The restyled dashboard panel, air vents, and now-standard digital gauge cluster look to lend a more premium feel.

The drivetrain and chassis remain unchanged, so the Arteon will continue to provide more style than performance. Don't confuse it for a sport sedan—it feels underpowered, and its handling is prone to roll and understeer. On the plus side, the ride is very comfortable. Interior space is great for passengers, while the hatchback cargo area is quite practical.

Be careful before you let the looks woo you—the Arteon is nicer to look at than it is to drive. Other sedans offer better all-around performance, but few stand out like the Arteon.

Performance and Fuel Economy

The Arteon has a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine producing 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission; FWD is standard and AWD is optional. EPA-rated fuel economy for the 2020 Arteon was 22/29 mpg city/highway with FWD, and 20/29 mpg with AWD; the 2021 Arteon should perform similarly.

Safety

When the 2020 Arteon was evaluated by the IIHS, it earned the highest Good score in every crashworthiness test.

Standard active-safety and driver-assist features include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring. The SEL R-Line and SEL Premium trims gain adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist. Automatic high beams are added on the SEL Premium trim.

Cargo Space and Interior Room

Behind the Arteon's second row seats its hatchback cargo area offers 27.2 cubic feet of capacity. With the second-row seats folded, maximum cargo space measures 55.0 cubic feet.

Front-row headroom measures 37.7 inches in the Arteon, which compares to 38.4 inches in the Mazda 6. Second-row headroom is 37.0 inches in the Arteon, just less than 37.1 inches in the Mazda 6. Front-row legroom measures 41.2 inches in the Arteon, an inch less than the Mazda 6's 42.2 inches. Second-row legroom is greater in the Arteon, which has 40.2 inches to the Mazda 6's 38.7 inches.

Technology

For 2021, all Arteon trims get Volkswagen's new MIB3 infotainment system running on an 8.0-inch touchscreen. MIB3 has a more user-friendly interface, built-in navigation, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Several USB-C ports are included.

Also new for the 2021 Arteon, a 10.3-inch digital gauge display becomes standard. An eight-speaker audio system is standard, while a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium setup is available.

Recommended Trim

Style is the Arteon's main selling point. Sleek looks come standard on every trim, but that won't get you adaptive cruise control, interior ambient lighting, or a premium sound system. That's why we think the entry-level SE trim is the one to get.

Indeed, higher-end trims add niceties that improve comfort and capability. But if those are what you're after, there are sedans that offer more standard features at a lower price, albeit without as much style.

It's not like the SE trim is stripped out either. Interior features include heated front seats, a digital gauge display, three-zone climate control, and wireless smartphone connectivity. Outside, it has LED headlights and taillights, 18-inch wheels—and the Arteon's sleek body.

If it's in your budget to upgrade to a higher-end Arteon SEL trim, then go for it. But if style is what's drawing you to the Arteon, you don't gain much more unless you're partial to the sporty-looking R-Line model. We think the SE trim is the best balance of aesthetics and value.

Key Competitors:

2021 VOLKSWAGEN ARTEON SPECIFICATIONS
OVERVIEW
FEATURES
WARRANTY/RECALL
SAFETY
REBATES
Engine Name
Engine: 4-Cyl Turbo 2.0 Liter
Transmission Name
Transmission, Tiptronic 8 Speed Automatic Mode Select with Manual Mode
Trim
SE Hatchback
Class
Premium Passenger Car
Horsepower
268@5,500
Standard MPG
22/32
Body Style
Hatchback
Drivetrain
FWD
Fuel Type
Unleaded Premium
Seating Capacity
5/5
Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
100,000
Maintenance Warranty Months
none
Corrosion Warranty Months
84
Powertrain Warranty Miles
50,000
Full Warranty Miles
50,000
Powertrain Warranty Months
48
Full Warranty Months
48
Roadside Assistance Miles
36,000
Maintenance Warranty Miles
N/R
Roadside Assistance Months
36
IIHS Best Pick
0
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
IIHS Overall Side Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
IIHS Rear Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
IIHS Roof Strength
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
Amount Description Expiry Date
$0 0% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60, 72 Months - Volkswagen announces special APR financing on select models. 03-01-2021
$0 0.5% Financing for a maximum term of 75 Months - Volkswagen announces special APR financing on select models. 03-01-2021
$500 Volkswagen announces a College Graduate program for customers who finance or lease through Volkswagen Credit on select models. 01-03-2022