The 2021 VW Arteon is here, and it looks like Volkswagen is really going through with this big sedan thing. You’d think they would have learned their lesson with other high-end(ish) luxo-sedans from the recent past (the Phaeton), but they’re taking another run at it, this time with the Arteon. The pricing isn’t too bad, but only time will tell if this will end up being another Quixotic tilting at sedan-shaped windmills.
Look, I have nothing against this, per se. It’s not that I don’t like big-ish luxo-sedans, it’s that the auto buying public does not like them. Sedan sales cratered a few years back. Even in Europe, sort of the last bastion of sedans, everyone is moving towards SUV and crossovers. So VW has already chosen a tough path to follow. Add to that our dismal test drive experience earlier this year with the 2020 Arteon, and it’s hard to see how this will work for VW.
Which is sad, because the Arteon hits a rather sweet price point. To cut to the chase, the 2021 VW Arteon will start at $36,995 (without the destination charge). Not exactly cheap, but given that the Arteon is loaded with tech, safety, comfort, and convenience stuff, it’s actually kind of a bargain.
The Arteon is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged TSI engine with direct injection. Yes, a four-banger is kinda cutting corners, but they gotta be cut somewhere, right? Besides, in this case, it’s literally the little engine that could, putting out 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque. Not bad, right?
All that power and grunt go to the front wheels via a standard eight-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic shifting. If you’d like, 4Motion all-wheel drive is available on the mid-level trim and standard on the SEL Premium R-Line at the top of the range. There’s a DCC adaptive damping system standard, as is the XDS cross-differential lock at the front and rear that improves handling.
Exterior Styling & Color Options
The 2021 VW Arteon still goes for the big and wide look. There’s also a new illuminated light bar in the grille and new LED daytime running lights. 2021 also brings three new colors: Kings Red Metallic, Oryx White Pearl, and Lapiz Blue Metallic.
2021 VW Arteon: Interior Treatments
The interior of the Arteon gets a refresh with new décor trim and an available 30-color ambient lighting system to augment the new dash design. There’s new digital touch surfaces with haptic feedback on the multi-function steering wheel and the new Climatronic Touch interface.
Volkswagen Digital Cockpit is standard, and all models are equipped with the MIB3 Discover Media infotainment system, which offers an eight-inch display, navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio with 360L, and wireless App-Connect and wireless charging. All trim levels come standard with VW’s Car-Net telematics system and have in-car Wi-Fi. The top of the line models get an all-new 700-watt, 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
Safety & Security
Drivers’ little helpers are abundant and ready to assist you in the 2021 Arteon. Standard features include Front Assist, Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Traffic Alert. Mid-level trims and up include Automatic Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Lane-Keeping System, Travel Assist, Emergency Assist, High Beam Control, and Park Distance Control. Features exclusive to the top trim include Park Assist and an Overhead View Camera.
2021 VW Arteon Trim Levels
The new Arteon will be available in three trim levels, which break down like this. The MSRP figures below include the destination fee of $1,195.
Standard Interior Features: Auto-dimming rearview mirror; leather-wrapped touch multi-function steering wheel; chrome window switches; stainless steel door sills and pedal caps; 12-way power heated front seats; leatherette seating surfaces; heated front seats; and three-zone automatic climate control.
Standard Tech Features: Volkswagen Digital Cockpit and Discover Media infotainment system with navigation; wireless App-Connect and Bluetooth connectivity for compatible devices; two USB-C ports; Car-Net with Wi-Fi capability; SiriusXM with 360L; and rearview camera.
Starting MSRP: $38,190.
Standard Exterior Features: 19-inch wheels; illuminated light bar in the front grille; LED headlights with an Adaptive Front-lighting System and dynamic cornering lights; and power-folding side mirrors.
Standard Interior Features: Panoramic sunroof; remote start; wireless charging; driver’s seat and side mirror memory; translucent décor with multi-color ambient lighting; and leather seating surfaces.
Special R-Line Treatments: Gloss black spoiler; black headliner and paddle shifters; contrast stitching on the steering wheel and shift knob; and R-Line badging.
Starting MSRP: $42,790.
SEL Premium R-Line
Standard Exterior Features: 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and power trunk with Easy Open & Close feature.
Standard Interior Features: Harman Kardon audio; heated steering wheel with paddle shifters; massaging driver’s seat; ventilated front seats; heated rear seats; rear seat climate controls; and USB-C port (charge only).
Starting MSRP: $48,190.
2021 VW Arteon: Availability & Warranty
The 2021 Arteon will be available at Volkswagen dealers by the end of 2020. Volkswagen’s factory warranty was shortened as of 2020 to four years or 50,000 miles. To help you determine if you need additional coverage, see our comprehensive guide on VW’s warranty.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.