By on June 3, 2020

Volkswagen has announced that the 2021 Volkswagen Arteon will make its world debut later this month with some exclusively European company. On June 25th, VW’s four-door fastback will be joined by a “shooting-brake” variant that looks far more interesting. The manufacturer has already explained that the wagon is not intended for North America, so those hoping to own a stretched Golf R will have to warm up a MIG welder and get creative.

The automaker also released a couple of design drawings and some minor details to keep us interested until the big day.  

Don’t be upset with Volkswagen for withholding the shooting brake; Areton sales in the United States absolutely do not support such an investment. Customers haven’t exactly clamored for it since its 2019 launch; VW is lucky to move 300 Arteons per month in the States. Meanwhile, European deliveries averaged around 1,500 per month before the pandemic, with annual volume coming in around 20,000 units.

Big changes for 2021 include an updated interior that embraces VW’s modular infotainment matrix (MIB3), which is all about vehicular connectivity and the latest version of Travel Assist. The manufacturer says the system is now focused on long-distance journeys — with the car able to take over steering, acceleration, and braking up to speeds of 130 mph.

It’s a relatively slick system with favorable comparisons made against Tesla’s Autopilot. However, if you’re ever read anything written by yours truly, you know that my totally unreasonable bias forces me to hate even the finest driver assistance packages. A few seconds of adaptive cruise control is all it takes before I’m ready for a nap and one system glitch sends me into a blind rage. That said, interested parties with lighter eyelids will probably appreciate VW offering the best it has in terms of tech.

The real technological terror lies in how the cockpit is set up, however. When Volkswagen previewed the new Golf, we shuddered at its heavy reliance on touch controls — which never seem to perform as well as the manufacturer hopes. Despite looking quite handsome inside the small hatchback, we’re genuinely worried it’s going to spoil the user experience and turn a stellar little platform into a clumsy-to-operate automotive appliance.

Arteon is rumored to receive a similar treatment for 2021. Still, we can’t say with any certainty that VW has shit the bed until we’ve lived with the new interface for a while. These are just the paranoid musings of someone who still drives for pleasure.

R versions (not to be confused with the tepid R-Line) are coming to Arteon, but we’ve no concept of when. Volkswagen has proven totally unwilling to confirm anything but, if you look closely, you can see that the wagon variant in the drawings is actually an R. Powertrain options remain a secret, though we’ve heard performance models could use the veteran 2.0 TSI or some new unit we’ve yet to encounter. We knew the brand was working on a VR6 motor at some point, but that project may have been scrapped. Hybridization also seem like a possibility on more luxury-focused trims.

We’ll gain a better understanding of the 2021 Arteon on June 25th, and will just have to hope VW feels generous enough to bring the R model along for the debut.

[Image: Volkswagen]


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24 Comments on “Updated Volkswagen Arteon Teased, Wagon Confirmed...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’ve seen exactly 1 Arteon in the wild, and I noticed it only because it was that distinct mustard color always shown in the promotional photos.

    “with the car able to take over steering, acceleration, and braking up to speeds of 130 mph”

    Um, yeah. Forget it.

    • 0 avatar

      A stretched (like pull taffy) and widened Jetta… and it already has the red and blue lights shining on it. That must be from accelerating to 130 MPH on a public road.

      Not enough window, too much wheel, not enough sidewall. The final, real-life version is NOT going to look like this, fortunately.

  • avatar

    The “stretched” Golf R is an actual Golf R Wagon that’s already available in Europe.

  • avatar

    It looks more like caricature (or European version of Batmobile, yeah that one) than real car. It cannot be that low and that long and that wide and that wild.

    • 0 avatar

      Most car ads going back decades overstated the size of the vehicles by reducing the size of the people drawn alongside or behind the wheel. This redering is no different, except it’s computer generated instead of hnd-drawn, and people are no longer shown.

      You cn be sure, though, that it’s low enough to make entry/exit difficult, and the glass is reduced enough to impair side and rear visibility. That’s the result of having to meet fuel economy standards: every fraction of a MPG counts.

    • 0 avatar

      Actual “Concept” vehicles are fictional dramatizations. This is just a creative drawing of one.

      The “production” Tesla Truck will come looking more like an F-150, than the Concept.

      It’s no different than rubber band, 10-series tires these drawings have.

  • avatar

    Red and blue? Common, cannot they come up with some shade of gray?

  • avatar

    And the last. Phosphorescent paint? You are kidding me?! We are trying to shield from cosmic radiation in planetary missions and VW come the bright idea to intentionally radiate us with phosphorescent paint.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe it’ll glow in the dark, so we can find it in the parking lot at night. Ever since they integrated the antenna into the body of the car, I’ve had no place to put my Union-76 ball!

  • avatar

    People will buy wagons if you offer them the right ones at the right price.

    Why is this hard to understand?

    Don’t make the wagon “butch”. Don’t make the wagon the pokey version of the car. Don’t make the wagon cost significantly more than the sedan. Don’t hamstring it with worse choices in terms of options.

    • 0 avatar

      “People will buy wagons if you offer them the right ones at the right price.”

      “Don’t make the wagon “butch”.”

      Best selling wagon is the Outback. Quite “Butch”. Right now it looks like in the not-too-distant future our new wagon choices will be the Outback and the MB E class wagon.

      I follow the wagon market since I’ve bought five wagons since 1986, four of them new. My only non wagon purchase is a Miata, and my current one is the “ultimate”, a turbo awd manual wagon.

      • 0 avatar

        And if I wanted a butch wagon with a pokey engine and a CVT, I would get an Outback.

        Which I did not.

        The car that I primarily drive is only a crossover because it handles amazingly well – the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. I only went with it because it had more storage space than the Giulia with no discernible penalty with regards to delivering smiles during very spirited driving.

        • 0 avatar

          I like plain wagons too, but the Outback, from the time it was introduced, sold better than the Legacy Wagon ever did.

          For whatever unfathomable reason, plain wagons simply Do Not Sell in the US. I mean, sheesh, you drive a CUV yourself; they are better than they used to be, and sell in greater numbers than wagons have for decades.

  • avatar

    Does this new & improved Arteon still have basically the same parts-bin interior of a $18k Jetta? If so – it will continue to fail miserably.

    • 0 avatar

      There’s a whole list of stuff wrong with the Arteon – in fact, I have no idea why VW even bothered to try selling it here – but it’s interior looks and feels NOTHING like a Jetta’s.

      • 0 avatar

        But did “VW even bother to try selling it..”? Anybody ever see an Arteon ad or commercial? VW seems to think they just had to put it in a showroom and lend it out to Youtube reviewers and buyers would come flocking in. Doesn’t work that that way with an aspirational vehicle.

    • 0 avatar

      What? The Arteon interior has very little in common with the Jetta interior. Go to a vw dealer and you’ll see.

      I drove ’em back to back. Arteon is basically a big Audi A5 with a few cost cutting areas. It’s a lux car. The Jetta GLI is badass, fun and quick, but interior feels plasticky. For $30k, it’s a reasonable tradeoff.

      I think Arteon’s problem is that it’s too expensive for a VW. $48k loaded for a VW is too much.

  • avatar


    This feels like zombie Piëch emerging from the grave to make decisions.

  • avatar

    I really, *really* wanted to be excited about the Arteon, and then when it came out and I saw details, it left me colder than the inside of a greyhound’s nostril. I wanted “A7 I can plausibly afford” and got the Lucy-pulling-the-football-away of aspirational vehicles. It’s so bizarre.

    • 0 avatar

      If you’re after an A7 you can afford, try A5 Sportback. I’ve had two as loaners…very, very nice piece.

      • 0 avatar

        The A5 Sportback is a great design, but I’ve rented A4s a few times and have mixed feelings. The powertrain is just great; the driving experience is superb. But I’ve been less impressed with the fit/finish and material quality in the examples I drove. One of them rattled like it was falling apart under the influence of its own sound system. Yeah, they were rentals, but they were all rented by the type of people who spend twice as much so they can drive an A4, so….

        At, say, 40k it would be a no brainier, but at 55 it’s a lot dicier. I drive an up-trim version of the 2015 Hyundai Genesis, and it feels way richer and more solid than the A4. The 2021 will be way nicer than that and probably be price competitive with similarly-specced A5s. Yeah, it’s huge… But there’s also the G70.

        Audi has the edge in drivetrain and tech for sure, but I’m not positive that’s worth the upcharge for me personally. And the new G80 speaks to me even more than the A7 did, which is saying something.

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