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2019 Volkswagen Arteon First Drive – A Fine Automotive, but for Whom?

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2019 Volkswagen Arteon

The massive-car class is a bizarre place lately. Not precisely a ghost city, but not precisely a hotly contested phase, both.

Rear-drive stays the purview of the Dodge/Chrysler bunch, whereas the remainder of the phase consists of entry-luxurious cruisers (Toyota Avalon, Lexus ES) and semi-sporty automobiles such because the Acura TLX, Nissan Maxima, Buick Regal GS, 4-cylinder Kia Stinger – and now the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon.

Lastly reaching our shores after a delay because of unspecified homologation hangups, the Arteon is positioned because the model’s flagship, and it’s in some methods a successor to the late CC.

Volkswagen gave us a crack at driving the Arteon, providing a chance to determine precisely the place it matches out there.

(Full disclosure: Volkswagen flew me to California, fed me, and put me up in a lodge in order that I might drive the Arteon. The corporate shipped a bottle of wine to every journalist, as nicely.)

The CC comparability is pure, although variations are many. The Arteon has a 5-inch longer wheelbase and stretches a pair inches longer, general, whereas additionally being a bit taller and wider. There’s a bit extra rear headroom and legroom, and considerably extra cargo room. The hatchbacked Arteon rides on the MQB platform that underpins so many VW merchandise today.

These with lengthy-sufficient reminiscences will recall a time when the CC provided a guide transmission. Three-pedal followers gained’t discover that choice right here – whether or not in entrance-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the Arteon has an eight-velocity automated transmission. The only engine is a turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Adaptive damping is standard.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon

The Arteon’s styling is good-looking with out being overly aggressive. It’s not as conservative because the Jetta’s duds, but Volkswagen clearly felt that flowing strains and delicate curvature was preferable to a extra excessive strategy. It really works properly sufficient that a minimum of one SoCal vacationer gave me a thumbs up as I hunted for a photo spot.

On-street, the Arteon feels higher balanced than the GS and presents up much less physique roll than the final GT Stinger I drove, whereas feeling a bit extra nicely-rounded than the Maxima. Understeer makes itself recognized in the event you overcook a nook, and the steering is nicely-weighted if not utterly communicative.

Journey is clean, but properly, California roads aren’t precisely pockmarked. I reserve full judgment till I can get my mitts on an Arteon within the Midwest.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon

The most important letdown is the engine. Whereas there’s sufficient energy for merging or passing, acceleration isn’t even shut to go-snapping. At the least the throttle and transmission are responsive. Nonetheless, a bit extra oomph can be appreciated. Whereas Volkswagen’s new flagship is a reasonably nicely-balanced machine, the expertise can be extra pleasurable if VW provided a tad extra punch.

Inside, the cockpit is par for the VW course – black, practical, and with controls laid out logically and easily. Seats are all day cozy, rear-seat room is satisfactory for taller people, and street/wind noise is properly filtered.

My test vehicle was a prime-trim SEL Premium R-Line with all-wheel drive, which means it had digital gauges that have been clear and straightforward to learn. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, whereas nav and Volkwagen’s Automotive-Internet system (distant unlocking, crash alerts, velocity alerts, and different tech – it’s just like OnStar) require you to step as much as greater trims.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon

Talking of, right here’s how the trim ranges break down. You possibly can select between SE, SEL, and SEL Premium. SE and SEL trims are priced at $35,845 and $39,995, respectively, with every including $1,800 for all-wheel drive. The AWD-solely SEL Premium checks in at $forty four,945.

Commonplace features embrace 18-inch wheels, adaptive damping, twin exhaust, LED headlamps and taillights, heated entrance seats, leatherette seating, tri-zone local weather management, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite tv for pc radio, and keyless entry and beginning.

The SEL trim provides gadgets corresponding to adaptive entrance lights, panoramic sunroof, cease/begin, leather-based seats, nav, digital gauges, distant begin, and probably the most basic degree of Automotive-Internet.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon

Decide SEL Premium and choose features embrace AWD, 19-inch wheels, energy trunk, rear-seat local weather management, heated steering wheel, paddle shifters, massaging driver’s seat, cooled entrance seats, heated rear seats, premium audio, a extra in-depth model of Automotive-Internet, lane help, park distance management, and area view.

The obtainable R-Line package deal consists of distinctive black bumper trim and spoilers, paddle shifters, totally different interior décor, R-line badging in and out, a stainless-steel kickplate with R-Line emblem, a black headliner, and both 19- or 20-inch wheels. With 19s, the price tag is $1,265 for the package deal, whereas with the 20s the tab is $1,765. Vacation spot charge is $995 throughout the board.

All informed, the SEL Premium AWD/4Motion car I drove with the R-Line trim and 19-inch tires clocked in at $forty seven,205 with vacation spot. Gasoline financial system is listed at 22 mpg metropolis/31 mpg freeway/25 mpg mixed for entrance-drivers and 20/27/23 for all-wheel drive automobiles.

Volkswagen has cooked up a wonderfully properly-rounded sporty giant hatchback that basically solely lacks in a single area – acceleration. And even that flaw is comparatively minor. As famous earlier than, punch is plentiful for most maneuvers; it’s simply not gonna push you again in your seat. Drawback is, who’s the Arteon purchaser?

2019 Volkswagen Arteon

Is it somebody wanting for luxurious on a budget? Somebody who sees the Arteon as a discount Audi A7? Is it the Maxima purchaser who needs only a bit extra driving enjoyable? The 4-cylinder Stinger intender who nonetheless can’t wrap their head round a grand tourer from Kia? The ES 350 purchaser who doesn’t discover the (fairly good) F Sport satisfying? The Avalon purchaser who doesn’t need to be stereotyped as somebody who eats dinner at four p.m.?

One other drawback the Arteon faces is that the Honda Accord and Mazda 6 are about the identical size and could be had for so much much less cash, absolutely loaded. Positive, VW will place the Arteon as providing extra luxurious content material and having some great benefits of being a hatchback – size and price and efficiency aren’t all that issues – but for the customer who doesn’t care a few car loaded with content material, and simply needs a sporty, giant-ish car, this poses an issue for Volkswagen.

Nonetheless, do you have to discover the content material combine interesting, you gained’t be disillusioned. I don’t know who the Arteon purchaser is, but she or he can be getting right into a balanced sports activities/luxurious vehicle that gives up loads of entry-luxurious features, notably when you’re prepared to shell out further funds.

The Arteon wouldn’t be the primary car, and even the primary Volkswagen, to be a wonderfully wonderful vehicle seeking a market. Constructing a strong product is one factor; discovering the appropriate purchaser is one other. If VW can do the latter in addition to it’s achieved the previous, maybe the Arteon can be higher remembered than what has gone earlier than.

[Images © 2019 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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