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2021 Volkswagen Arteon

2021 Volkswagen Arteon

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$36,995 — $46,995 MSRP
11
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Sedan
5 Seats
24-25 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
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2021 Volkswagen Arteon Review

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

By Aaron Bragman

It’s only been on sale in the U.S. for a little more than a year, but the Volkswagen Arteon is getting some updates for 2021. The changes give the Arteon some mild revisions inside and out, which VW hopes will keep the premium sedan-ish hatchback appealing to the increasingly shrinking pool of buyers looking for such an animal. If you’re having trouble spotting the differences VW has made for 2021, don’t feel bad: They’re exceedingly subtle, at least outside. The bigger changes come inside, where a significantly updated cabin brings good and bad elements to the party.

Related: 2019 Volkswagen Arteon: Everything You Need to Know

Exterior

Outside, the new Arteon gets a new lower front bumper with separated outboard air intakes instead of one continuous opening. The R-Line trims get a full-length LED light strip to split the upper and lower grille openings, plus different air intakes below. As before, non-R-Line models get a full-length chrome strip on the lower bumpers. Out back, the new-look VW badge sits on the trunk lid, while twin dual tailpipes are easier to spot thanks to divided finishers. There are also new 18-inch and 20-inch wheels depending on the trim you order.

Powertrain

The powertrain is completely unchanged from the prior model and consists of one possibility: a 268-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. SE trim models will be front-wheel drive only, while the SEL R-Line makes all-wheel drive optio...

It’s only been on sale in the U.S. for a little more than a year, but the Volkswagen Arteon is getting some updates for 2021. The changes give the Arteon some mild revisions inside and out, which VW hopes will keep the premium sedan-ish hatchback appealing to the increasingly shrinking pool of buyers looking for such an animal. If you’re having trouble spotting the differences VW has made for 2021, don’t feel bad: They’re exceedingly subtle, at least outside. The bigger changes come inside, where a significantly updated cabin brings good and bad elements to the party.

Related: 2019 Volkswagen Arteon: Everything You Need to Know

Exterior

Outside, the new Arteon gets a new lower front bumper with separated outboard air intakes instead of one continuous opening. The R-Line trims get a full-length LED light strip to split the upper and lower grille openings, plus different air intakes below. As before, non-R-Line models get a full-length chrome strip on the lower bumpers. Out back, the new-look VW badge sits on the trunk lid, while twin dual tailpipes are easier to spot thanks to divided finishers. There are also new 18-inch and 20-inch wheels depending on the trim you order. 

Powertrain

The powertrain is completely unchanged from the prior model and consists of one possibility: a 268-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. SE trim models will be front-wheel drive only, while the SEL R-Line makes all-wheel drive optional and the SEL Premium R-Line trim makes it standard. An adaptive suspension is still standard, as is the limited-slip differential.

Interior

Inside, the changes are a bit more substantial. The interior receives a serious boost to its premium status with new vinyl-covered surfaces, plus new trim, vents and dashboard design. New ambient lighting with 30 selectable colors reveals itself through translucent panels in the doors and console. Wireless support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard, while the new MIB3 multimedia system also makes its first appearance in the Arteon, along with a new optional Harman Kardon 12-speaker premium stereo; Volkswagen is phasing out the joint branding with Fender in favor of Harman Kardon instead. 

Two areas of disappointment stand out for the updated Arteon. First is a new steering wheel and climate controls that are debuting in other models, too, in which VW opted for touch-sensitive instead of the traditional buttons and knobs. The automaker feels this gives the car a more upscale, Audi-like look, but touch-sensitive controls for steering wheels and climate controls have proven to be massively problematic in brands that already tried this (see: Ford, Lincoln and Cadillac, in particular). At least the radio will keep its buttons and knobs, showing VW has indeed paid attention to the angst that Honda caused over going completely touch-sensitive for some of its audio systems not long ago. (VW’s images of the European-market Arteon have touch-sensitive stereo controls, but the automaker’s U.S. officials confirmed the Yankee-bound car will have physical ones.)

The second disappointment is the announcement of an absolutely beautiful wagon version, or “shooting brake,” as VW calls it, using the traditional British vernacular for the body style. Why is that disappointing? Because it’s not coming to the U.S. market, as y’all don’t want to buy wagons anymore. Enjoy your new Volkswagen Tiguan crossover instead, America. No cool wagon for you.

Price and Release Date

The rest of the Arteon still remains as it was before — a premium sedan meant to go up against the Acura TLX, Infiniti Q50, Kia Stinger and Nissan Maxima. No pricing is available yet, but the car should hit dealers this November, according to VW.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon has not been tested.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Volkswagen

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    7 years/less than 72,000 or 75,000 miles (model-year specific)

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    Model-year 2017 and older, 2 years/24,000 miles; model-year 2018 and forward, 1 year/12,000 miles; TDI models, 2 years/unlimited miles

  • Powertrain

    5 years/60,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    100-plus point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2021 Arteon Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Arteon received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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