Roomy 2021 Arteon delivers a new level of upscale for Volkswagen Featured

Posted On Friday, 26 November 2021 01:16 Written by
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The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon is VW's flagship vehicle and its most upscale offering The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon is VW's flagship vehicle and its most upscale offering Photo courtesy of Volkswagen

Many new vehicles that are introduced are direct successors to an outgoing vehicle in the same class, but in some cases, it’s a whole new animal being introduced.

The second option is what applies to the Volkswagen Arteon, a large four-door hatchback with sedan-like styling which was introduced a few years back as VW’s stab at a near-luxury vehicle. That’s right, VW, which has never been known for its flash, is courting buyers who like their brand but want something a bit more upscale.

It’s their flagship ride, and competes with vehicles such as the Audi A5 Sportback, Genesis G80 and Acura TLX.

I recently spent some time in an Arteon, which gets a solid refresh for the 2021 model, and I’m back with a full report on how it holds up vs. this lofty competition.


Volkswagen is mostly known for being unassuming with its rides, so the Arteon is a step out of their comfort zone. They have designed an attractive, eye-catching exterior, and a more comfortable and upscale interior in the Arteon.

The Arteon is a long, sleek and elegant vehicle that people probably won’t initially associate with the VW brand upon seeing it. My test vehicle featured a sharp King’s Red Metallic paint scheme, 18" alloy wheels, and LED headlights and tail lights, as well as heated, foldable, power adjustable side mirrors with integrated turn signals; plus rain-sensing front wipers with heated washer nozzles. 

Inside the vehicle is a design you won’t recognize from other VW offerings. They’ve gone all out with V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated front seats. On higher trim levels, you can even get massaging seats, a feature typically reserved for true luxury rides. To put this simply, this is the most upscale experience you’ll get in a VW vehicle. This level of upscale is, however, lower than what you’ll get in the luxury competition, so keep your expectations realistic.

The other key feature about the interior that jumps out is just how roomy the Arteon is. It’s one of a dwindling number of larger sedan or hatchback vehicles still available for sale, and seats five people very comfortably with tons of leg room and head room, making it great for families or folks who regularly have lots of passengers.

On top of the massive amount of interior room for passengers, the hatchback setup allows for a massive amount of storage in the trunk once you open the hatch. You get 27.2 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up, and 56.2 cubic feet if the seats are folded down. That’s quite impressive.


I took the VW Arteon on some extended drives and was pleasantly surprised at the overall driving enjoyment it offers. It’s really a great car for the highway driver, and you even have to be careful because you won't realize how fast you're going, due to how smooth it drives. 

The engine is a little bit noisy at higher speeds, but nothing too outrageous or annoying. For those looking for some get-up-and-go from a stop, the 0-to-60 time is decent at roughly 6 seconds.

Power in the Arteon comes courtesy of a single power plant option: A 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine offering 268 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. FWD is standard, but AWD is offered as an option. The vehicle also features a four-wheel independent suspension.

If we were doing head-to-head comparisons, some of the true luxury rides that are competing with the Arteon will offer a better overall driving experience, but they’re also going to be more expensive to purchase or lease.


Overall, the technology setup is decent in the Arteon, and its safety features are ample.

At the center of the tech setup is a Discover Media infotainment system featuring an 8-inch touchscreen, Navigation, AM/FM/HD Radio, and voice controls.

The tech setup is decent, but not best in class, as some other upscale competitors have VW's system beat. It doesn't respond as well to voice commands as I would have liked, but the touch commands are quite easy to sort out. Navigation was also a bit wonky at times.

The Arteon features auto-dimming rearview mirror & driver's side auto-dimming exterior mirror, keyless access to all doors & the hatch/trunk, push-button start, plus an anti-theft alarm system w/ engine immobilizer.

Three months of satellite radio are included, Bluetooth allows for streaming music and phone calls to the vehicle, and the App-Connect feature allows for smartphone integration for compatible devices.

The 2021 Arteon is a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, and offers a bevy of strong features to keep you safe. These include:

— Forward Collision Warning & Autonomous Emergency Braking w/ Pedestrian Monitoring)
— Blind Spot Monitor
— Rear Traffic Alert
— Hill Hold Control
— Rear View Camera System
— Advanced Airbag Protection System with 8 airbags
— Electronic Stability Control
— Automatic Post-Collision Braking System
— Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPM)


The listed fuel mileage on the 2021 Arteon is 22 city/32 highway/25 combined. In my real-world experience, these numbers held up, with an impressive final total of 30 mpg.

When you’re talking about a larger car like this, that is a very impressive number and holds up well in the class.


The Volkswagen Arteon comes in three trim levels: SE, SEL R-Line and SEL Premium R-Line. The SE trim, which I tested, starts around $38,000. Moving up to the SEL R-Line bumps the starting price to around $42K, and the SEL Premium R-Line is closer to $48K.

These prices are more affordable than its key rivals from Audi, Genesis and Acura.

In terms of warranties, Volkswagen offers a new vehicle limited warranty for 4 years/50,000 miles, a limited warranty against corrosion for 7 years/100,000 miles, scheduled maintenance for 2 years/20,000 miles, and 24-hour Roadside Assistance for 3 years/36,000 miles.


Roomy and fun to drive, the 2021 Arteon is Volkswagen’s version of an upscale hatchback — less fancy than what you would get from Audi, Genesis or other luxury brands but still quite impressive and at a decent price point. For the VW fans who don’t want to leave the brand but want something a bit nicer, this will fit the bill.

----- can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2021 Volkswagen Arteon
  • Price as tested: $38,585 
  • Best feature: Styling, roomy interior and cargo space, smooth ride  
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars  
  • Who will want this vehicle?: VW fans looking for a ride that’s attractive, upscale, safe and fun to drive
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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