It isn’t too often that we get to introduce a totally new car on these pages, but welcome to our first Arteon. The Arteon is the follow-up to the unusually successful Passat CC; essentially, a Passat that Volkswagen attempted to make look like a cross between a Chrysler LHS and a Mercedes-Benz CLS. They were always a bit oddly proportioned in my eyes, though they had some pretty exciting features – you could, for example, get an all-wheel-drive one hooked to the VR6. Still, the design was dated by the end of the twentyteens, and in 2019 they apparently sold just 59 CCs in the US.
The replacement arrived just in time for COVID, but it was a lot more appealing. The Arteon ditched the trunk and went for a budget-Audi A7 look, with a hatch, fresh styling, and a decidedly upscale interior. Unfortunately, that also meant an upscale pricetag. The Arteon starts today at just over $40,000 – which doesn’t sound horrible until you see the broadly similar Passat retailing in the low 20s – or it did, at least, until the Passat died an untimely death in the US market this year, which leaves us with just the Arteon.
It’s available in three configurations, ranging from the front-drive SE R-Line to what we see here – the range-topping SEL Premium R-Line, which is all-wheel drive and with a spec sheet rivaling the best cars out there. Run to a dealer and you’re looking at $50,000 for one. But if you accept a few miles, you can knock a bunch off that price: