2021 Volkswagen Arteon Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Jun 24, 2020
  • Revised styling
  • Improved interior
  • Standard digital instrumentation
  • New driving assistance technologies
  • Next-generation infotainment system
  • Available 12-speaker premium sound system
  • On sale in November 2020

Introduction - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

Post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh was not a commercial success in his time, but today his work is celebrated with critical acclaim. Similarly, the artfully penned Volkswagen Arteon is a terrific automobile hiding in plain sight, lacking the consumer appreciation it deserves while trying to find a sweet spot for success in a shrinking sedan market.

Updates to the 2021 Volkswagen Arteon could help, but not if people don’t know what this vehicle is or why they should consider it.

As you can learn in our expert review of the Arteon, this roomy car delivers plenty of comfort, plenty of utility, and plenty of performance. It even comes with all-wheel drive. Many people who believe an SUV is the only solution to their needs overlook cars like the Arteon, which offer greater value and efficiency with no significant trade-offs in terms of cargo space and ability to get through a snowstorm.

Changes to the 2021 Arteon tighten up the styling, improve interior quality, and add new technology. Volkswagen also simplifies the trim level structure, reducing it to SE, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon SEL Premium R-Line Red Exterior View

Prices for the new Volkswagen Arteon will be set closer to the car’s on-sale date in November 2020. When it arrives, its primary competitor will be the Kia Stinger, which has a similar 5-door sportback body style. However, VW also cites other premium-positioned vehicles like the Acura TLX, Infiniti Q50, and Nissan Maxima

Exterior Features - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

Thanks to new bumper designs, Volkswagen’s new logo and model name lettering on the rear hatch, a revised exhaust outlet treatment, and redesigned 18-inch to 20-inch aluminum wheels, the 2021 Volkswagen Arteon has a cleaner, more upscale look. In particular, the R-Line versions benefit from a new signature LED light strip on the grille as well as a more aggressive bumper design. 

2021 Volkswagen Arteon SEL Premium R-Line Red Rear View

New colors include Kings Red Metallic for all trim levels, and both Oryx White and Lapiz Blue for the R-Line variants.

Interior Features - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

Volkswagen says the 2021 Arteon gets a major upgrade in terms of interior materials, fit, and finish, with a spokesperson likening the new cabin to an Audi.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon SEL Premium R-Line Red Dashboard View

Highlights include a new dashboard with VW’s Digital Cockpit instrumentation, a new steering wheel with touch-sensing controls, a touch-control panel for the triple-zone climate system, and a new infotainment system. Leather and aluminum trim are standard, with simulated leather now covering parts of the cabin. Real wood trim is available, along with variable ambient lighting integrated into the door panels behind a translucent piece of trim.

The Arteon continues to offer outstanding passenger comfort and space, as well as significant trunk and cargo volume. Lift the car’s rear hatch, and you’ll find 27 cubic feet of volume. Fold the back seat down, and the Arteon holds 55 cubic feet of cargo. Not only that, but the cargo floor’s length measures almost 7 feet from the front seatback to the closed hatch.

Optional Features - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

Upgrade from SE trim to the SEL R-Line, and the car includes R-Line design elements such as a new light bar in the grille and larger 19-inch aluminum wheels. The SEL R-Line also includes wireless device charging, a lane keeping assistance system, and a traffic sign recognition system.

The SEL Premium R-Line gets the biggest wheels, a 20-inch design, plus a new 12-speaker 700-watt Harman Kardon premium sound system that Volkswagen says is configured specifically for use in the Arteon. Pre-configured sound settings include Pure, Live, Energy, and Chill-out.

Under the Hood - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

Volkswagen makes no changes to the 2021 Arteon’s powertrain. Therefore, the car continues to offer a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 268 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. 

An 8-speed automatic transmission powers the front wheels with SE and SEL R-Line trim. A 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is available for the SEL R-Line and standard in the SEL Premium R-Line.

While the SEL Premium R-Line has standard 20-inch wheels, Volkswagen says it optimized the Arteon’s standard adaptive damping suspension specifically for this wheel-and-tire combination. The inference is that unlike with some cars, going with the larger wheel size and shorter sidewall tires won’t destroy the ride quality.

Safety - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

In addition to a new road sign recognition system and an improved backup camera with corner-view capability and a wide 170-degree viewing angle, the new Arteon is available with Travel Assist.

Travel Assist is a Level 2 advanced driving assistance system that maintains a safe following distance to vehicles ahead and keeps the Arteon centered in its lane. It includes a new version of adaptive cruise control and works from a standstill up to 130 mph. In addition to stop-and-go capability, new predictive speed control technology accounts for road sign data, upcoming speed limit zones, curves with lower speed limits, and the like in order to automatically adapt to existing and upcoming driving situations.

These improvements join a roster of driving aids that includes forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assistance, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic warning systems.

Technology - Find the best Volkswagen deals!

For 2021, the Arteon gets a big upgrade in terms of infotainment technology thanks to its adoption of VW Group’s MIB 3 infotainment architecture

Volkswagen says the Arteon’s digitalized controls are networked and “always on,” making the system fast to load and respond to input. The Arteon includes natural voice recognition, navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Car-Net connected services. The touchscreen display measures 8 inches across, which is smaller than might be expected in a car like this. Wireless device charging is available in R-Line versions of the car.

Digital Cockpit instrumentation is standard for 2021, shown on a 10.25-inch display. It offers three different layouts, and the driver can easily access them using a “View” button on the car’s steering wheel.

Volkswagen is the source of the information in this article. It was accurate as of June 23, 2020 but may have changed since that date.

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