The 2023 Volkswagen Arteon is a surprise in many ways. It’s a very nice all-around family sedan at a time when sedans are out of favor. It’s handsome both outside and inside in an Audi kind of way. It’s big, one of just five full-size mainstream sedans on the market. Its interior is comfortable and spacious with handsome lines, desirable standard features and plenty of cargo room (it’s a hatchback). An available all-wheel drive configuration gives it an advantage over competitors like the Nissan Maxima, and the Arteon’s sleek styling gives it curb appeal the new Toyota Crown could only wish for. The pep of its turbocharged four-cylinder engine matches the Arteon’s overall demeanor and enables the big sedan to easily hold its own against V-6-powered rivals. While it is certainly costly—the Arteon is the priciest vehicle in its class—the expense seems justified given its attributes. Indeed, we rank it at the top of its small segment. Given how many automakers have purged sedans from their lineups, the Arteon may have a questionable future as VW continues to expand its SUV offerings. But for anyone looking for a big sedan oozing European-inspired style and packing a plethora of good qualities, now may be the time to visit your local VW dealer.
What’s New for 2023?
Changes to the Volkswagen Arteon this year include a few new standard features for the base SE R-Line model, such as LED headlights and a heated steering wheel; SEL R-Line models get larger 20-inch wheels and new interior dressings.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Even though the SE R-Line now also comes standard with adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beams, and lane-keeping assist, we think the SEL R-Line strikes the best balance of style and standard features. Compared with the entry-level model, it boasts a snazzier cabin that has cool ambient lights, real leather upholstery, and a panoramic sunroof.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Arteon is motivated by a 300-hp, turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 295 pound-feet of torque; it’s mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The base SE model is front-wheel drive only, but all-wheel drive is standard on the SEL and SEL Premium. Depending on the trim level, the Arteon comes standard with 18-, 19-, or 20-inch wheels. Adaptive suspension dampers are standard and adjust automatically to your driving style or be manually set to Comfort, Normal, or Sport. Regardless of the setting, the ride is smooth and controlled. Precise steering is reminiscent of the 10Best-winning Golf GTI, and the handling is competent, but you won’t confuse this big VW for a sports sedan. The Arteon is quick too, snapping off a 4.6-second run to 60 mph and eclipsing the quarter-mile in just 13.3 seconds at 103 mph at our test track.
More on the Arteon Hatchback
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA has estimated 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway for front-wheel drive Arteon models and 22 mpg city 31 mpg highway for all-wheel drive models. Once we can test one on our 75-mph highway fuel economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, we can evaluate its real-world mpg. For more information about the Arteon’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the VW Arteon is furnished with good-quality materials though the design is admittedly conservative. Nevertheless, VW carved out plenty of interior room from the big five-door’s rakish profile. Two large-framed six-footers can ride upfront without ever rubbing elbows. Rear seating is similarly accommodating, and there’s a noticeable increase in legroom compared with the old, discontinued VW Passat sedan. The Arteon’s hatchback opens to reveal a generous 27 cubic feet of cargo capacity. We managed to fit nine carry-on suitcases behind its rear seat and another 12 (21 total) with the back seat stowed, so it’s a near-SUV in terms of practicality. All Arteons come with heated front seats, and a power liftgate. Opting for the top-of-the-line SEL Premium adds ventilation for the front seats, a massage feature for the driver, heated seats for rear passengers, 30-color ambient lighting, and Black Carbon interior trim.
The Car and Driver Difference
Infotainment and Connectivity
An 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard on every Arteon. It’s primarily controlled through touch inputs, and there’s no longer a volume knob, but there are also touch-sensitive controls on the heated steering wheel. Along with two USB ports, the VW has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Stepping up to the SEL adds built-in navigation, and the SEL Premium features a powerful Harman/Kardon audio system. Additional connected features, such as remote vehicle unlocking and emergency assistance, are available with a Volkswagen Car-Net subscription.
How to Buy and Maintain a Car
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Arteon comes standard with a wide range of driver-assistance technology, including a road sign recognition system, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and front and rear parking sensors. For more information about the Arteon’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Volkswagen provides an above-average limited warranty and two years of complimentary scheduled maintenance. However, most rivals offer a longer powertrain warranty.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for two years or 20,000 miles
2022 Volkswagen Arteon SEL R-Line 4Motion
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
Base/As Tested: $46,845/$51,240
Options: Premium package (20-inch wheels, hands-free liftgate operation, rear HVAC controls massaging driver’s seat, heated front and rear outboard seats, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, 360-degree camera, Harman/Kardon audio system, front and rear park assist), $4000; Lapiz Blue Metallic paint, $395
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, iron block and aluminum head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 121 in3, 1984 cm3
Power: 300 hp @ 5350 rpm
Torque: 295 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 13.4-in vented disc/12.2-in vented disc
Tires: Continental ProContact TX
245/35R-20 95H M+S
Wheelbase: 111.9 in
Length: 191.5 in
Width: 73.7 in
Height: 56.8 in
Passenger Volume: 97 ft3
Cargo Volume: 27 ft3
Curb Weight: 3913 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 4.6 sec
100 mph: 12.4 sec
1/4-Mile: 13.3 sec @ 103 mph
120 mph: 18.5 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 6.1 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.1 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 4.0 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 128 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 176 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.86 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 21 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 25/22/30 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
More Features and Specs