As Volkswagen phases out its once-popular Passat, here’s another ride to consider from its stable: the Arteon. Conveying more of a hatchback look than a midsize sedan, this flagship vehicle notches a step or two above the Passat. And for good reason.
Under the hood of the unitary structure sits a 2.0-liter, inline-four cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled engine that develops 268 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 258 pounds-feet of torque at 1,950 rpm while mated to a standard but responsive eight-speed auto gearbox. Suspension is handled competently via a strut type with lower control arms front and multilink rear with coil springs. The rack-and-pinion electric power assist offers a direct and communicative feel.
Up front, an illuminated light bar in the front grille flanking the new VW emblem rises up to connect with the daytime running headlights. Three chrome bars and an air intake also standout along with the car’s long hood and wide stance. Our test drive came with an R-Line, which fetches you a distinct front bumper, stylish air intakes in gloss-black finish and real spoiler too.
The cabin is awash in luxury and conveniences, such as luminous elements with 30-color ambient lights on the dashboard and doors. The center console has been revised with the MIB3 infotainment system and a three-zone auto climate control. R-Line also means Nappa leather upholstery, black headliner and stainless steel door sills and sport pedal covers. The digital instrument cluster is futuristic-looking. Passenger volume is laudable at 96.5 cubic feet of space. Other standard goodies include panoramic sunroof, 60/40 rear seat, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, etc.
Dual front and side airbags, front knee airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel anti-lock brakes with brake assist, electronic stability and traction control, three-point seatbelts for all positions, adaptive cruise control, rearview camera, blind-spot monitor, front collision and lane keep, post-collision and auto emergency braking, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard.
Base-priced at $43,395, the Arteon’s peppy turbo engine will give other midsize sedan stalwarts such as the Acura TLX or the Kia Stinger a run for their money. This fairly new ride boasts strong acceleration, remarkable handling and steering feel. It shows promise, plenty of it, though buyers are heavily opting for SUVs and crossovers nowadays.