By on March 23, 2019

Image: Tim Healey/TTAC

Revealed what seems like ages ago, Volkswagen’s upcoming flagship car will arrive in the U.S. as a 2019 model — halfway through 2019. Bearing the inelegant name Arteon, the new range-topper had its boat trip delayed by a new European test cycle that impacted the certification and release of numerous German vehicles.

It could be argued that, in the 13 months since the Arteon’s big reveal, consumer interest in midsize sedans — even ones with liftbacks — has eroded even further. No matter. VW’s going to give its CC replacement a shot. A sign of the Arteon’s impending arrival comes from just-released EPA fuel economy figures that won’t blow anyone’s minds.

2018 Volkswagen Arteon - Image: Volkswagen

Borrowing the MQB platform used by its Atlas and Compass stablemates, the Arteon dons a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic. Drive wheels are either the front set, or all four.

According to EPA figures spotted by the eagle-eyed Bozi Tatarevic, a front-drive Arteon returns 22 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined. Add all-wheel drive, and those figures fall to 20 mpg city, 27 highway, and 23 combined.

In AWD guise, the Arteon matches the city economy of the hulking (and rare) FWD Atlas, and beats its highway and combined mileage by just 1 mpg.

Image: VW of America

While the Arteon’s persona isn’t well fleshed out — is it a sports sedan? Luxury sedan? Value premium midsizer? All of the above? — the lack of an available engine upgrade or hybrid variant doesn’t exactly make the model a “big tent” for buyers. Then again, the same can be said of other range-topping models.

In terms of fuel economy, the Arteon’s solidly lacklustre figures (which might matter not a whit to buyers), pales in comparison to other German sedans. Take the BMW 530i, for example. That four-cylinder, rear-drive sedan beats the front-drive Arteon by 2 mpg in combined driving and 3 mpg on the highway. In 540i xDrive guise, the midsize,  six-cylinder Bimmer (320 hp, 330 lb-ft) tops the AWD VW by 1 mpg combined and 2 mpg highway.

2018 Volkswagen Arteon cargo - Image: Volkswagen

The same can be said of the Mercedes-Benz E300 4Matic, a four-cylinder midsize sedan with a nine-speed automatic. Compared to the AWD Arteon, a 3.0-liter Audi A6 Quattro delivers an extra 2 miles of combined and highway driving for each gallon it consumes.

Suffice it to say the Arteon’s no gas sipper. And, if that mattered to American consumers, GM’s Lordstown plant would be a beehive of activity today. The Arteon will have to impress in other areas — refinement, value, style — in order to capture the U.S. consumer.

Expect to see pricing closer to the model’s summertime release.

[Images: Tim Healey/TTAC, Volkswagen]

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65 Comments on “Volkswagen Arteon Continues Slow Track to U.S.; EPA Numbers Released...”


  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    So, they don’t bring the 296 hp model. Then they release a 268 hp model with AWD mileage not much better than a Stinger, and it gets delayed forever? I had hoped to at least test drive this car, but.. I can’t wait forever..

  • avatar
    gasser

    Call me back when they start the $1999 down and $199/month leases.

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      +1, gasser,

      The value of this car will drop like a R Kelly song within 6 months. If you live in the South, and gas prices remain below $3, maybe it will be a solid highway cruiser (I think the warranty is transferable). Beyond that, it’s a waste of time.

      In my older age, I’ll just buy a CR-V.

      • 0 avatar
        gasser

        I have been looking at a new CR-V too. I am concerned re all the stories about gas mixing with the engine oil and very early engine failures. Check it out before you buy if you are interested in the 1.5T engine. The old tried-and-true 2.4 NA (LX only) may be a better long term bet.

        • 0 avatar
          civicjohn

          @gasser, thanks for the heads-up. I was thinking about a 2019 model, but it doesn’t appear that they have released the fix yet for the 2017-1018 models!

  • avatar
    jatz

    Building a new battleship in the age of carriers.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    What’s a VW Compass then?

  • avatar
    Rocket

    Typical VW … arriving late and with mediocre hardware. At least it’s likely to be overpriced.

  • avatar
    nvinen

    Have Volkswagen been in contact with Toyota? It looks like they’ve been infected with the same big ugly grille disease.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I saw one of these last Fall near Charlotte, NC. Kinda blends in with the traffic which is unfortunate for a new car. The only reason I noticed is because of the “Arteon” across the rear deck. I thought I had missed VW releasing a new car, upon searching the website I found out it was a future model. I give it a huge “Meh” as I zoomed past in a 6.2L Holden badged car getting – unbeknownst to me – only slightly lower fuel economy.

    VW is no Toyota, if someone is going to put up with a finicky German car it better have something going for it, and I don’t see it.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    The Arteon is part of the scenery here, not too far from Wolfsburg where I live. It doesn’t stand out like a Phaeton, and how could it, but I do like its looks. It has decidedly more visual presence than the Passat it is based on. And as a Citroen driver and fan, I can’t disapprove of low-slung large hatchbacks (or fastback sedans) anyway. (Even if they are called coupés, which the Arteon seemingly isn’t.)

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “Add all-wheel drive, and those figures fall to 20 mpg city, 27 highway, and 23 combined.”

    This is slightly better than my Highlander

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      2010 V6 4wd Highlander owner here 22 combined is pretty common on my highway heavy commute.

      One reason for getting a sedan would be better fuel economy.

      VW is missing the boat…

  • avatar

    Bland and boring VW. Why to buy this when you can buy Audi?

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Sign and drive…0 down, 199 a month maybe? Other than that, I can’t think of a reason.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      A (non-small) Audi shaped like this will set you back seventy-five large, so there’s that.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        I suspect that’s what they’re going for…. a lower priced A5 Sportback with a lot more interior space.

        Trouble is that mileage is horrendous.

        I really like how this car looks and could use the back seat space but it’s such a pig.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          OK, the thing doesn’t get great mileage, and if it were a nicer-looking Passat, I’d say it’s a fatal flaw. But this car is going to come with 20 more horsepower than an A5 Sportback, and that car does 0-60 in 5.3 seconds.

          I don’t think anyone who buys this kind of car is going to confuse it with a Passat, you know?

  • avatar

    BTW 6 y.o. 2.0T AWD Ford Fusion has fuel economy 20/29 mpg – better than brand new Arteon! Even when Fusion was new its fuel economy was considered nothing spectacular behind Japan Inc.

  • avatar
    ajla

    In AWD trim this really should have the 288hp/380Nm engine from the S3.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Dozens of these will fly off the lots!

  • avatar
    Jack Denver

    When I was shopping for a sedan about 2 years ago, I tried to find an AWD CC to test drive. None of the local dealers (Philadelphia) seemed to have one – the closest one was maybe 70 miles away. Nor did the dealers seem particularly interested in having one in stock. It just didn’t seem like a priority for them.

    Even before the sedan market went to hell, VW seemed to be unable to crack the formula for selling larger sedans in the US under the VW label (Audi does OK at the high end).

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The only CC I ever saw in the wild belonged to a local realtor. Weird choice given that the nearest VW dealer was over a 100 miles away.

      But given her frequent vehicle changes I figured it had to be leased.

    • 0 avatar
      blppt

      The CC sold like crap overall, like you said, and based on ones I’ve seen in stock, like 9 out of 10 were the 2.0T model, which were not available with AWD.

      The 3.6AWD model was also much, much pricier than the 2.0 models. At that point, I would assume most eyes were drifting to the “prestige” German brands like Mercedes, Audi, and BMW.

      I had a 2013 CC 2.0T sport, it was a very nice car, leased it for cheaper than a GTI—they were so desperate to move them off the lot. Too bad it was ridiculously terrible in snow—I even got a set of WRG3 Nokians and it was helpless to get up my driveway with even mild snowfall.

      Honestly, the A3 Quattro i’m driving right now feels much cheaper than that CC, and it costs more. Needed the AWD for my driveway though.

      • 0 avatar
        packard

        I have a 2009 CC 3.6 (w-6) all wheel drive which I purchased new. It is a very nice car. I drove the 2.0 litre and found it underpowered- the w-6 has plenty of grunt. The car has a nice exterior and interior design- still looks good. Purchased the car during “Cash for Clunkers”. The 3.6 didn’t qualify for the credit so the dealers were offering deals on the 6 cylinder cars- $10,000 off list.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    So much concern about mileage, I wasn’t aware VW was marketing this as an economy car. Also, all Arteons coming to North America going to be AWD, so why quote FWD figures?

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    VW really botched the launch of this one. I saw it at autoshows 2 years ago and it made an impression. It was noticeable by its absence at Chicago this year and I had to check the VW website that it was still coming. Not sure that it makes much market sense when most would rather drive an A4/A5 with the Audi badge. The B5 Passat was a much of a Q-ship that slotted nicely between the corresponding model year A4 and A6. Too bad as I wanted to like this. Will stick with the GTI, which is still the best product VW offers.

  • avatar
    YaCar

    As someone once wrote on this forum a long time ago VW never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. It’s way too late. Also way too late is the ugly full-frontal grill that the Japanese with their freak show design language have been using for years. Soon they will drop that blight and VW will be left with it. Nice work Krauts.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      But isn’t VW hugely successful in the places on Earth where Nutella is more popular than personal hygiene?

      Their presence in the US has for decades been half-assed which must mean they just don’t care much.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    Not sure what everyone is poo pooing about. My fed Mazda 6 turbo is rated similarly. I’m hitting 32 mpg on the highway and 27mpg suburban city.

    It is a bit late. I would have been interested 3 months ago.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    So the now-defunct Buick LaCrosse that weighs 200 more pounds in AWD guise, has 2 more cylinders, no forced induction, more HP and more torque (and not incremental, a lot more) gets 2 MPG better than the AWD VW Arteon.

    Base Arteon is around $35K while a base LaCrosse (before mountains of cash on the hood was $30K.

    Color we totally underwhelmed.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Slap a Ford, Hyundai, Toyota or almost any other automaker’s badge on it, and no one would look at it twice.
    At least it’s a hatchback. So it’s a little bit unique.
    VW might steal a few Lincoln MKS customers, if only because they are nearsighted and forgot to bring their glasses.

  • avatar

    I see this being cross-shopped against a BMW 430i Gran Coupe (new base model or CPO) more than a 5-series like as mentioned in the article.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Not a bad looking car, but it’s too bad that it’s so thirsty and no one cares about sedans any longer.

    Makes me wonder why they’re even bothering when they’re selling so few Passats currently (2097 in February, wow) It’s not like the Arteon is going to magically sell like a RAV4.

    Oh well, it’ll probably get a decent lease deal at some point so I suppose they’ll sell a few and then drop it before too long.

  • avatar
    JimBot

    I’m sorry but.. people notice 1,2,3 mpg differences when comparing cars? I just don’t see it. It’s literally the last thing I care about. I want a well built car that will last 10 years with minimal trouble, looks good, performs well. MPG is of little consequence, and I think most people feel that way at the end of the day, even if they go in “guns blazing” caring about fuel economy.. it’s a farce.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      Completely agree. Anyone who can afford the humblest of new cars can also afford the damn gas for it.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Generally I agree, but if your selling a car with a 4 cylindder and forcing the consumer to put up with a turbo, it better have impressive MPG to offset that burden.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        What Hummer said. These are abysmal numbers for a forced induction 4.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          It’s a forced-induction four with 268 horsepower that should turn in a 0-60 time of five seconds, give or take. Not all fours are tuned for mpg.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            It’ll be closer to a 6 second run than 5. Those economy numbers don’t make sense, especially in awd guise. How heavy is the 4Motion gear that it would cost 3-4 mpg.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        VW’s own Passat is rated at 36mpg highway with a 2L turbo four. And a Passat I rented actually beat that in high-speed travel. So I don’t quite see why the Arteon will use 30% more gas. Maybe we will have to wait and see what the journalists actually get.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    All this hand-wringing over mpg with this model is silly – VW put a 268-hp version of the 2.0T in it, so it’s a performance sedan, not a Camry. People who buy cars like this aren’t that concerned with mileage.

    How much performance will it have? Well, by comparison, the Audi A5 Sportback (another car with the supposedly awful forced-induction four) has 20 fewer horsepower and turns in a 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds. If the Arteon turns in these kinds of numbers, no one’s going to care that it gets 23 mpg around town.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Funny you mention the Camry. At 35k the Camry is loaded including the good stereo, V6, big back seat, etc. Acceleration will be similar, but the V6 will sound and feel better than the 4 in the Arteon.

      So the Arteon will be the looker and have a longer warranty, but likely cost significantly more. The Camry will be loaded, Toyota reliability and resale value vs VW and will sound and feel better with the bigger engine that is more efficient than the VW turbo 4.

      I’m faaar from being a Toyota fan, but VW isn’t competitive in this space and I don’t see how Arteon will change that.

      I still really like the Arteon looks, though. I’m getting more vain in my old age.

  • avatar
    wellsit

    The overall shape looks like at A7. Except the front end is fugly on this. And that fuel economy is awful as has been mentioned multiple times already.

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    I don’t exactly live in the centre of the universe. I’m in a small city in a small Canadian province but I saw an Arteon at the local VW dealer today. I was there since my GLI is due to arrive soon but three just rolled off the truck so the dealer called me to see one. Yes, I’m buying one sight unseen. As we’re walking back to my car he pointed out that ‘we also got our first Arteon today.’ I really like it. I also like that hatchbacks are a thing again.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Sigh…another new car, another spindle grill with rubber band tires. Is its interior all black as well?

    • 0 avatar
      Whatnext

      Do you know what “spindle grill” refers to? Its the shape of the Lexus grill, pinched in the middle. So the wide Arteon grill is not a “spindle” by any stretch of the imagination.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    They should honestly probably just cancel this car completely in the USA.

  • avatar
    hifi

    Looks good. Make it electric.

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    WV does it again…..cripple sales of the new Arteon with underpowered engine! Sad!

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Wrong car, wrong time.


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