The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon has Debuted With An X6-Style Illuminated Grille and Wagon Body Style

At a time when the whole world is moving from sedans to crossovers and SUVs – much to the dismay of the car lovers – the Volkswagen Arteon comes as a knight in shining armor. The Arteon was launched as a successor of the Volkswagen Passat CC just three years back, and now VW has given it a mid-cycle refresh with a few tweaks on the outside and many changes on the inside. The German automaker is unearthing the R-Line variant, adding a plug-in trim, and also introducing a shooting brake body style.

What’s Different About the 2021 Volkswagen Areton Outside?

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On the outside, the Arteon comes with a sharper and more aggressive face than before.

The car still retains its resting bi*ch face, although it remains one of the very few cars that looks good despite its huge grille. On the standard trims, the grille is reshaped and features a new mesh. The R model receives an illuminated grille – like the BMW X6, although much subtler. This also acts as the daytime running lights. The spoiler lip at the bottom curves upwards and transcends into the fog lamp housing area. Overall, a very sporty and smart face which looks even better with the illuminated grille and the fewer slats. The company says these tweaks have brought the drag coefficient to merely 0.265.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon Exterior
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The side profile remains the same. The wide doors and the sloping roofline at the rear give the Arteon a striking look. The subtle usage of chrome around the window sill and on the doors is acceptable. The top-trim will ride on 20-inch wheels whereas the lower trims will come with 18-inch shoes. Oh, did I mention that Volkswagen has introduced new colors for the 2021 Arteon? The current color palette is now offered with three new colors - Oryx White, Kings Red Metallic, and Lapiz Blue.

Volkswagen has made a few changes to the rear. The Arteon receives LED taillights which add a lot of character to the car’s persona. The R-Line trim receives a new rear bumper with a quad-exhaust pipe setup. The Volkswagen badge and the Arteon lettering are redesigned for the 2021 model.

What’s New On The Inside?

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The 2021 Arteon’s cabin comes as a huge improvement over the outgoing model. Almost everything inside is either new or redesigned. The company has used leatherette for the rejigged dash and the door panels. Even the center console, the upper half of the doors, and air vents are redesigned for a fresh look and feel. The seats are also upholstered in new leather.

The new steering wheel now features touch-sensitive mounted controls while the digital instrument panel – which Volkswagen calls Digital Cockpit – behind it is now standard on all trims.

It is a 10.25-inch screen that can be customized as per your needs. Even the basic layout can be shuffled with a touch of the capacitive button. I have my doubts on how wise or comfortable this will be on a daily basis, but it sure looks fancy.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon Interior
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The 2021 Arteon comes with an eight-inch touchscreen that runs on the all-new MIB3 infotainment system. It offers voice control, multi-phone pairing, and supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Arteon comes with a Harmon-Kardon sound system that makes use of 12 speakers in total, including a 700-watt, 16-channel Ethernet amplifier, a subwoofer in the trunk

Other features include:

  • 30-color Ambient Lighting
  • Travel Assist System
  • Three-zone Automatic Climate Control
  • Touch-sensitive Surfaces For HVAC Controls
  • Wireless Charging

What Powers The 2021 Arteon?

2021 Volkswagen Arteon Exterior
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There is nothing new under the hood, unfortunately. Not even a power boost. The Arteon carries over with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, turbocharged engine that churns out 269 ponies and 258 pound-feet of torque.

Power is sent to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard, but you can also opt for the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system to send power to all the wheels.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon specifications
Engine 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Horsepower 268 HP @ 5,100-6,500 RPM
Torque 258 LB-FT @ 5,600 RPM
Transmission Seven-speed dual-clutch (DSG)
0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) 5.6 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph
Weight 3,783 Lbs

The European market will enjoy a plug-in hybrid drivetrain that makes 215 horses and 295 pound-feet of torque, but we won’t be getting it in the States. This is the same mill that powers the Passat GTE as well. The latter can drive on pure electric mode for 35 miles before it is powered by fuel again. The same applies to the R-badged model that makes 315 ponies. Perhaps, Volkswagen will change its mind if there is a demand for the Arteon here.

Trim Levels And Pricing

2021 Volkswagen Arteon Exterior
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Speaking of the trim lineup, the company mentioned in a statement, “For 2021, the U.S. market Volkswagen Arteon features a simplified trim lineup—SE, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line.” At present, the Arteon lineup includes:

2020 Volkswagen Arteon prices
SE $35,995
SE with 4Motion $37,895
SEL $39,995
SEL R-Line $41,745
SEL 4Motion $41,895
SEL R-Line with 4Motion $43,645
SEL Premium R-Line with 4Motion $47,695.

We speculate a price increase of less than $500 on the base model, but the top-of-the-line trim could touch the $50,000 mark.

Final Thoughts

2021 Volkswagen Arteon Exterior
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Since the Touareg is retired, the Arteon has taken the flagship status for the brand here in the States. So, it made sense for the company to introduce the facelifted version even though the outgoing model didn’t look one bit dated. Wagons don’t enjoy their stay here, but it would’ve been nice to have it in the lineup. Its cousin from a couple of segments above, the Audi RS6, is having a fairly good run. A wagon from the same family could see a lot of buyers lining up to spend their hard-earned money on a practical, non-SUV-non-sedan version of its flagship product. Hopefully, the company will introduce it here in the coming years.

What are your thoughts on the 2021 Volkswagen Arteon? Share them with us in the comments section below.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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