Updated Volkswagen Arteon Teased, Wagon Confirmed

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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5 of 24 comments
  • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Jun 03, 2020

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

  • PeriSoft PeriSoft on Jun 04, 2020

    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.

    • See 2 previous
    • PeriSoft PeriSoft on Jun 04, 2020

      @PeriSoft Hm, they're a bit cheaper than I thought. Maybe worth a second look...

  • Lorenzo Subaru had the ideal wagon - in 1995. The Legacy Outback was a straight two-box design with rear quarter and back windows you could see out of, and was available in brown with a 5-speed manual, as God and TTAC commenters intended. It's nice they're not raising prices, but when you've lost the plot, does it matter?
  • Bkojote Remember a month a go when Cleveland wanted to create a more walkable Cleveland and TTAC's 'BIG GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM' dumbest and dullest all collectively crapped their diapers? Here's the thing- look on any American highway and it's littered with people who don't /want/ to be driving or shouldn't be. Look at every Becky on her phone during the morning commute in her Tucson, look at every Brad aggro driving his 84 month loan GMC. Hell look how many drivers nowadays can't even operate a headlight switch. You expect these people to understand a stoplight? In my neighborhood alone 4 people have been rear ended at lights from someone on their phone. Distracted driving over the past 10 years has spiked, and it's only going to get worse unless Becky has an alternative, because no judge is going to pull her license when 'she needs it to get to work!' but heaven forbid she not check fb/tiktok for 40 minutes a day.
  • Scott Shouldn't the The Italian Minister for Business be criticizing The Milano for being too ugly to be Italian?Better use of resources doing that....
  • Steve Biro Frankly, while I can do without Eyesight and automatic start-stop, there is generally less B-S with Subarus in terms of design, utility and off-road chops than with many other brands. I just hope that when they adopt Toyota’s hybrid system, they’ll also use Toyota’s eCVT.
  • The Oracle These are all over the roads in droves here in WNC. Rarely see one on the side of the road, they are wildly popular, capable, and reliable. There is a market for utilitarian vehicles.