Volkswagen takes its mid-size aspirations upscale for 2019 with the addition of a new model called the Arteon, which replaces the Passat atop the brand's car range.
Actually, it's a little unfair to call the Arteon a replacement for the dull Passat. It's closer to the truth to say this car takes the place of the more stylish CC, a Passat-based car that disappeared after 2017.
But while the CC draped a swoopy body over a traditional sedan structure, the Arteon sports a liftback that makes this car more of an analog to the Buick Regal Sportback and pricier cars like the Audi A7 and Porsche Panamera. Volkswagen says that compared to the CC, the Arteon boasts more rear-seat space and the kind of generous cargo capacity that comes with a hatchback rear opening.
Power comes from a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder that makes 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, which is funneled to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Among the powertrain's more novel features is a regenerative braking system that captures energy and stores it in the 12-volt battery, which allows the alternator -- normally charged with keeping the battery charged -- to be decoupled during driving to help save fuel.
With the Arteon, VW aims to steal a chunk of sales from entry-level luxury models like the Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS, Acura TLX, Nissan Maxima and Kia Stinger. Among those, the Infiniti and Kia can be had with a lot more power, so we're curious to see whether VW eventually adds a more powerful engine option. Even if it doesn't, expect Arteon's turbo four to punch above its weight, performance-wise.
Arteon starts out in an Execline trim that comes standard with blind spot assist, passive keyless entry, electric tailgate, forward collision detection with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, front and rear park distance control, three-zone automatic climate control, heated seats all around, ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated windshield washer nozzles, 12-way power front seats, 18-inch wheels, power folding side mirrors and VW's active info display digital gauge cluster.
Options include a driver assistance package of lane assist, park assist and area view, a 360-degree exterior camera setup that lets you see everything around the car.
Other safety features include a pedestrian impact system that raises the hood in anticipation of a collision with a person with the goal of reducing the severity of head injury caused by striking the hood.
Also on offer is an R-Line appearance package that brings trim-specific bumpers and badging and 20-inch wheels.
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