2023 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SEL R-Line

 After countless SUVs it was so nice to get a sedan. I don't hate SUVs, they just aren't for me, especially the bigger ones.

In some ways the Arteon reminded me of the late VW Phaeton in that it was spacious and comfortable in a Germanic way. It also reminded me of the VW CC, a car I thought was sexy looking. 

Arteon is one of those made-up words that sounds ancient. VW says the Arteon takes its name from "artem" which is art in Latin. I don't know if it is art but I found it pleasing to my eye.

At 191.5" long the Arteon is about the same size as a Honda Accord, in other words not so big that it's difficult to park but big enough so there is room for five adults inside. 

Under the hood is a turbocharged, 2-liter, 4-cylinder that pumps out 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. I found the engine had a dual personality - drive around in Economy mode and it almost felt lazy but get on the gas and oh boy! The almost 2-ton Arteon with 4Motion (AWD) can sprint to 60 mph from a dead stop in 4.6 seconds, and do the 1/4 mile in 13.3 seconds.

The 7-speed automatic was smooth in Economy and positive in Sport mode. I never noticed the AWD; maybe I would have if I drove a FWD and the AWD back-to-back.

I don't know what is going on with white seats - the are everywhere! Do interior designers not live in the real world, the world with spilled coffee, children, and the dirt and grime of every day life? Do auto makers have some secret pact with detailers? Outside of the white parts the seats were fine. I've found that VW seats tend to be on the firm side but I've never had a problem even on long drives.

You can tell by the white on the rear seats that although five people can fit it really is meant for two. One nice feature is that all four doors open really wide, too bad you can't do so in many parking lots.

As you can see from the above photo the Arteon is a hatchback. With an opening that large you should have no trouble loading stuff into the back. There is 27.2 cubic feet of storage behind the back seats and 56.2 cubic feet with the seats folded down. It's almost a station wagon!

I like the instrument cluster, it is rationally laid out and easy to read.

Like so many cars today there are almost a zillion controls. Thankfully I didn't have to get out the owner's manual to figure out what I needed. The cruise control buttons were pretty straight forward.

On the opposite side it was a bit more confusing so mostly I just ignored it. 

The center stack was mostly easy but every now and then when I went to change the SiriusXM channel I ended up changing the radio to AM. And although the temperature control appears easy to use it took a steady hand (my wife's) to smoothly adjust it. Small complaints though. 

I enjoyed driving the Arteon. I mostly left it in Economy because I wasn't in any big rush but the change between Economy and Sport was day and night. Sport really made the Arteon responsive, throttle response was much better, the car became much more fun to drive. 

Brakes are such an important part of a car. The Germans seem to know this, VW knows this. The Arteon had great 4-wheel disc brakes that were easy to modulate and so smooth and powerful. I think the brakes could handle way more power.

The Arteon does okay with fuel economy at 22-mpg city (impressive) and 31-mpg highway (okay) but I could live with it, especially with the power output. 

I don't think the pricing is out of line. A base Arteon starts at $43,010, the R-Line is $47,180, the Kingfisher Blue Metallic paint adds $395, and destination fee is about $1,300. 

In case you were wondering R-Line denotes a sporty model. Is it worth the extra money? That's up to you. I like the looks and I liked the car. 

I can see an Arteon with ski racks heading up to Tahoe for some winter fun.

If the Arteon 2.0T SEL R-line is in your price range you should check it out.


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