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2020 Volkswagen Arteon Review

The 2020 Volkswagen Arteon has a spacious interior, composed driving dynamics, and intuitive tech features, but its so-so engine performance and mediocre interior materials land it in the middle of our luxury small car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy seating and cargo space
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Composed ride and handling
  • Mediocre acceleration and fuel economy
  • Rivals have nicer cabin materials

Rankings & Research

The 2020 Volkswagen Arteon's #9 ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Small Cars category. Currently the Volkswagen Arteon has a score of 7.7 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 20 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.7

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.7
Performance: 6.7
Interior: 7.5
Safety: 9.7
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Volkswagen Arteon?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Volkswagen Arteon a Good Car?   

Yes, the 2020 Arteon is a pretty good car. The Arteon has eye-catching styling, surefooted handling, and a cushioned ride. It sports a user-friendly touch screen, as well as lots of standard tech and safety features. The Arteon is also quite practical. It seats five comfortably, and its hatchback layout provides SUV-like cargo space.

Ultimately, the Arteon’s biggest drawback is that it doesn’t feel as polished as its luxury small car rivals. Many competitors offer stronger acceleration, better fuel economy, and richer cabins than this VW.

Should I Buy the Volkswagen Arteon?

The Arteon is definitely worth consideration, especially given its sub-$36,000 starting price. You get a lot of car for your money. That said, it’s not the only value choice in this competitive segment. The Kia Stinger is another posh hatchback with confident handling and an airy cabin, and it undercuts the Arteon’s starting price by a couple thousand dollars. Spend a bit more, and you’re in Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class territory. Both have ritzier interiors and better fuel economy estimates than the Arteon. Check out each of these highly rated models to see which you prefer.

Compare the Arteon, A4, and C-Class »

Should I Buy a New or Used Volkswagen Arteon?

Volkswagen launched the Arteon as an all-new vehicle for the 2019 model year, and it effectively replaces the Volkswagen CC in the brand’s car lineup. The only significant difference between the 2019 and 2020 Arteon is the warranty. Volkswagen covers the 2019 model with a six-year/72,000-mile warranty, whereas 2020 models come with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty. Because of that, we recommend starting your search with a 2019 model, which will also likely cost less than a new Arteon.

Be sure to read our 2019 Arteon review to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2019 and 2020 Arteon »

We Did the Research for You: 20 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 20 Volkswagen Arteon reviews, as well as hard data points like fuel economy estimates and reliability ratings, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

This 2020 Arteon review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which debuted for 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Does the Volkswagen Arteon Cost?

The Arteon has a $35,845 starting price, which is at the lower end of the luxury small car class, along with value-oriented rivals like the Genesis G70 and Volvo S60. Upgrading to all-wheel drive raises the price to $37,645. The highest trim level tops out at around $46,200.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volkswagen dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volkswagen deals page.

Volkswagen Arteon Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Volkswagen Arteon or Audi A5?

The Audi A5 is more expensive than its corporate cousin, with prices starting just north of $42,000. If that’s a deal breaker for you, stick with the VW. Otherwise, the A5 is the better luxury small car. It’s offered in three body styles - coupe, convertible, and hatchback - and its cabin boasts sleeker styling and nicer materials than the Arteon. The A5’s standard four-cylinder engine is punchier and offers better fuel economy than the Arteon’s, and this Audi’s S5 and RS 5 variants boast considerably more horsepower and sportier handling.

Which Is Better: Volkswagen Arteon or Kia Stinger?

The Kia Stinger is a sleek hatchback, much like the Arteon. It has a premium interior, a user-friendly infotainment system, and many standard tech and safety features. The Stinger doesn’t offer quite as much seating space and cargo room as the Arteon, so stick with the VW if that’s your top concern. Otherwise, the Kia is the better car. It offers sharper handling, stronger engine power, and a much longer warranty than the VW. Its starting price is lower than the Arteon’s by about $2,700 as well.

Which Is Better: Volkswagen Arteon or Passat?

The Volkswagen Passat sedan is the middle sibling in the brand’s car lineup, fitting between the Jetta and Arteon. The Passat costs nearly $13,000 less than the Arteon while still providing roomy passenger accommodations and a poised ride. On the other hand, its interior styling and tech features are rather outdated, and its materials aren’t as upscale as those in the Arteon. The Passat also doesn’t have as much cargo space. Choosing between these VWs may come down to price or personal preference.

Compare the Arteon, A5, and Stinger »

Arteon Interior

How Many People Does the Arteon Seat?

The Volkswagen Arteon is a sleek five-seat hatchback. There’s generous seating space up front, and these seats are nicely padded and supportive for long-haul comfort. The rear seats are comfy as well, and they provide lots of legroom. The sloping roofline makes rear headroom a bit snug for anyone taller than 6 feet.

Synthetic leather upholstery and heated front seats are standard. Available upgrades include genuine leather upholstery, a massaging driver’s seat, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel.

Arteon and Child Car Seats

The Arteon has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats, as well as an upper tether anchor for the rear middle seat.

Arteon Interior Quality

Critics are split on the Arteon’s interior quality. The cabin is elegantly styled, and most of the materials have a quality look and feel. On the other hand, there are a few hard plastics here and there, giving the interior a less luxurious appearance than some rivals. All in all, it feels like a fair trade-off given the Arteon’s lower price point.

Arteon Cargo Space

The Arteon has 27.2 cubic feet of cargo space with its rear seats upright. Fold down these seats, and this area expands to 55 cubic feet. That’s very spacious for a luxury small car, and it tops other hatchbacks in this class like the Kia Stinger, Audi A5 Sportback, and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.

Arteon Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Arteon is well-equipped with standard tech features. These include an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, two USB ports, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker stereo, HD Radio, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and tri-zone automatic climate control. A number of upgrades are available, including a 12-speaker stereo, navigation, and the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit.

The touch screen has a user-friendly layout, as well as crisp graphics and snappy responses. The screen is flanked by physical buttons and knobs, making it easy to adjust the audio and climate controls while driving.

The Digital Cockpit system is a neat upgrade. It replaces the standard instrument cluster with a 12.3-inch screen, which can display the navigation map in between the tachometer and speedometer gauges. It’s similar to the system found in newer Audi vehicles, but the graphics aren’t as slick.

Read more about interior »

Arteon Performance

Arteon Engine: Passing Grade

The Volkswagen Arteon has a 268-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. An eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. All-wheel drive is available.

The Arteon’s acceleration feels a bit light initially when pulling away from a stop, and the engine sounds rather coarse under heavy throttle. But once underway, the turbo-four zips the car around town just fine and provides sufficient passing power at highway speeds. The eight-speed automatic transmission delivers smooth and fairly prompt shifts.

Arteon Gas Mileage: Just OK

The Arteon gets an EPA-rated 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Adding all-wheel drive drops this rating to 20/29 mpg city/highway. These ratings aren’t bad, but they are below average compared to other four-cylinder cars in this segment like the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

Arteon Ride and Handling: Sporty Cruiser

The Arteon is outfitted with an adaptive suspension, which comes standard. It adjusts quickly and takes the sting out of bumps and dips in the pavement while keeping the car stable and composed around tight turns. You can still feel the changes in the road surface, particularly in models with the 20-inch wheels, but the sensation remains comfortable.

Read more about performance »

Arteon Reliability

Is the Volkswagen Arteon Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2020 Arteon a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Volkswagen Arteon Warranty

Volkswagen covers the 2020 Arteon with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty. Notably, this is shorter coverage than Volkswagen offered for the 2019 Arteon, which was backed by a six-year/72,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Arteon Safety

Arteon Crash Test Results

At the time of writing, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2020 Arteon. That said, the IIHS gave the very similar 2019 Arteon a top rating of Good in all six tests performed.

Arteon Safety Features

The entry-level Arteon comes standard with a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection. Available safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, front and rear parking sensors, hands-free parallel park assist, a surround-view parking camera system, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive pivoting headlights.

Read more about safety »

Arteon Dimensions and Weight

The VW Arteon is 16 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,655 to 3,854 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Volkswagen Arteon Built?

Volkswagen builds the 2020 Arteon in Germany.

Which Volkswagen Arteon Model Is Right for Me?

The 2020 Arteon is offered in four trim levels: SE, SEL, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line. Stick with the base SE model if you’re looking for value. It offers a lot of standard features for its sub-$36,000 starting price. On the other hand, you’ll want to upgrade to the SEL Premium if you’re looking for luxuries like ventilated seats and hands-free parking assist. These items are limited to this top trim level.

Volkswagen Arteon SE

The base model Arteon SE starts at $35,845. It comes with a 268-horsepower turbocharged engine, an automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. The brand’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is optional for $1,800.

Standard features include an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, two USB ports, HD Radio, satellite radio, an eight-speaker stereo, a Wi-Fi hot spot, keyless entry, and push-button start. Other standard amenities include tri-zone automatic climate control, V-Tex synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED headlights, an adaptive suspension, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

A number of safety features come standard, including a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Volkswagen Arteon SEL

The Arteon SEL trim has a starting MSRP of $41,795. It offers all-wheel drive as a standard feature, along with 19-inch wheels, adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, remote start, a digital gauge cluster, navigation, leather upholstery, and a panoramic sunroof.

Volkswagen Arteon SEL R-Line

The Arteon SEL R-Line trim retails for $43,560, and it adds shift paddles and a front bumper with more aggressive styling.

Volkswagen Arteon SEL Premium R-Line

The posh Arteon SEL Premium R-Line trim costs $46,210. It adds ventilated front seats, a massaging driver’s seat, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a power trunk lid, and a 12-speaker Dynaudio sound system. Parking sensors, a surround-view parking camera system, hands-free parallel park assist, lane keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and 20-inch wheels also come standard.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volkswagen dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volkswagen deals page.

See 2020 Volkswagen Arteon specs and trims »

The Final Call

The VW Arteon succeeds at providing a taste of Audi ownership but at a more affordable price. The Arteon is spacious, well-equipped, and comfortable to drive, though it isn’t all that quick, fuel-efficient, or lavishly appointed. The luxury small car segment is packed with great options, from the BMW 3 Series and Genesis G70 to Audis like the A4 and A5. Still, we think the Arteon deserves consideration.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Although it bears a passing resemblance to the Passat, the 2020 Volkswagen Arteon is a longer, wider car with a more modern design underneath its sleek, four-door-coupe body. If you stroll around back, you'll see that it's actually a useful hatchback rather than a sedan. A powerful turbocharged engine and generous standard features justify the Arteon's place at the top of Volkswagen's car lineup." -- Car and Driver
  • "In this age where SUVs and crossovers rule the Earth, it’s good to know that some companies still believe in sedans. This one is actually a liftback/hatchback, with 60/40 fold-down rear seats, making it almost as convenient as a crossover anyway, without the sometimes ungainly proportions of a crossover SUV. In that regard, you can argue that an Arteon is the best of both worlds." -- Autoweek (2019)
  • "It's not the biggest or most expensive model in Volkswagen's lineup -- those accolades belong to the Atlas. But as the brand's chosen flagship, the 2019 Arteon puts its best foot forward both as its own vehicle and as a balanced representation of VW's design and performance ideals and most premium features." -- CNET (2019)
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