2021 VW Arteon 4MOTION SE

Precision steering, powerful and pretty
By Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
June 21, 2021 Updated: June 21, 2021

Arteon is one of Volkswagen’s most elegant marques. The tester hatchback sits all sleek and pretty, vibrantly colored in Urban Gray outside and Moonrock Gray with Black Leather inside.

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A sleek hatchback. (Courtesy of Volkswagen)

Arteon is motivated by a peppy 2.0-liter 260-horsepower TSI engine. Power is governed through an eight-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic to the 4MOTION AWD system.

Four-wheel independent suspension, multi-mode Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), and XDS Cross Differential System work in lockstep together for a firm and stable ride.

Engine Start-Stop system improves fuel consumption by automatically shutting off the engine during idle time. Arteon is EPA rated at 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, for a combined 25 mpg average. Quick math translates that to about 4 gallons per 100 miles.

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Inside the Arteon. (Courtesy of Volkswagen)

There are various updates to the interior. However, the SE interior doesn’t radiate a truly luxury quality, although fabulous utility is evident with cargo space that will hold what seems like tons of luggage. The steering wheel is thick, giving a strong and assured grip while appearing to have a more sensitive touch. An attractive gauge cluster add points to usability, while touch-sensitive climate controls and adjustable ambient lighting add to the atmosphere and comfort.

There is 27 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the back seat folded, making sufficient space even when you take your three teenage granddaughters to camp for a week.

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Opening up for luggage. (Courtesy of Volkswagen)

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support extends the infotainment software beyond the 8.0-inch screen. It is primarily controlled through a touch pad, which was challenging for me to operate. I would have preferred some old-fashion large knobs.

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Touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel. (Courtesy of Volkswagen)

Depending on the trim level, Arteon comes standard with 18, 19, or 20-inch wheels. As an entry level trim, the SE had 18-inch alloy wheels with security lock and all season tires.

Updates has been applied to the exterior, such as new front bumpers and new wheel design. LED headlights, taillights, and Daytime Running Lights (DRL) are standard. Dynamic Headlight Range Control ensures the road ahead is well illuminated. Also standard are the adjusted side mirrors with integrated turn signals. Rain-sensing wipers become active at the first drop of rain to keep the windshield surface clear. Together with intermittent front wipers and heated washer nozzles, the Arteon is ready for any climate.

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Center console stack. (Courtesy of Volkswagen)

I would be remiss not to mention just a few of the safety and driver assist features. Front Assist includes Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring, and Side Assist uses radars to keeps track of cars in the blind spots and behind the vehicle. Rear Traffic Alert is also standard.

Anti-theft alarm with engine immobilizer is a wonderful and much needed safety feature, especially with auto theft at an all-time historical high.

The MSRP for the 2021 Volkswagen Arteon starts at $36,995.

4 years/50,000 miles transferable bumper-to-bumper New Vehicle Limited Warranty
7 years/100,000 miles Corrosion Perforation Limited Warranty
2 years/20,000 miles Carefree Maintenance Program
3 years/36,000 miles 24-Hour Roadside Assistance

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or durhlcaussey@gmail.com.

Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey