The automobile halted forward of me on the stoplight was a Toyota Camry, which isn’t uncommon. However what was uncommon was that I used to be peering into the Camry’s rear deck lid, as if I used to be driving some kind of low-slung sports activities automobile.

Besides I wasn’t in a sports activities automobile. I used to be in a four-door sedan that dimensionally is nearly the identical because the Camry, although this 2021 Volkswagen Arteon, while you toggle the shift lever into Sport mode, drives extra like a type of low-slung coupes or convertibles than like a roomy sedan.

A part of the trick, I’m guessing, is that the hood is so low, because of the compact and light-weight engine. One other half could also be that the seats within the Arteon are positioned nearer to the pavement than within the typical 4-door sedan. I say that as a result of after I seemed on the technical specs for the Camry and Arteon, I used to be stunned to see that the roofs of each automobiles are listed at 56.9 inches.

By the way in which, it’s pronounced R-Tee-on, in response to VW of America.

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We took the brand new Arteon on a drive to and throughout Hoover Dam

This most up-to-date drive was my second go-round with the Arteon. I’d beforehand pushed a 2020 mannequin, however Volkswagen notes that the Arteon “is refreshed and considerably upgraded for 2021. A sharper exterior design and premium inside upgrades lead the adjustments, whereas a complement of state-of-the-art expertise is newly accessible or now provided as normal tools alongside hallmark Volkswagen driving dynamics.”

As common, this press-fleet automobile is a close to top-of-the-line instance. It’s a 2021 Arteon 2.0 T SEL Premium R-Line, extra geared up than the usual and 2-wheel pushed SE mannequin or the SEL R-Line, which is on the market with both 2-wheel or all-wheel drive. The Premium R-Line has 4Motion as its normal drivetrain.

Base value on the SE is $36,995. The SEL R-Line is $41,595 with 2-wheel drive and $43,395 with 4Motion. The SEL Premium R-Line is $46,995.

The 2021 refresh of the mannequin features a refined front-end design, upgraded inside with Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, in addition to three new colours, together with the Oryx White Pearl on the instance we drove.

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Arteon will get up to date infotainment expertise for 2021 mannequin yr | VW inside pictures
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The large adjustments are within the cockpit, with its new MIB3 infotainment system with upgraded navigation and wi-fi App-Join. R-Line automobiles additionally get 30-color ambient inside lighting, wi-fi smartphone charging and enhanced driver help expertise.

The MIB3 setup brings tablet-style expertise with swiping and pinch-zoom in addition to conventional contact controls for the 8-inch display on the middle of the dashboard. Decide to increase the 3-month Sirius 360L all-access trial bundle and also you get satellite tv for pc and streaming content material with personalised suggestions. 

There’s additionally a 10-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit show in entrance of the motive force with 21 viewing choices, from navigation to picture information. 

Launched in 2014, Volkswagen Automotive-Internet has been expanded for model-year 2021 and affords distant entry for things like locking or unlocking the automobile’s doorways, distant begin, last-parked location, even for checking how a lot gas is left within the tank. CarNet additionally connects with Amazon Alexa, must you need to ask that gadget to honk your horn, and so forth.. and with Parkopedia, that can assist you discover off-street parking places.

Upgrades on the Premium mannequin embody 20-inch wheels, second-row local weather controls and extra USB port, heated steering wheel, ventilated entrance seats, massaging driver’s seat, power-opening and shutting trunk lid, 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, parking steering help, and overhead-view digital camera. 

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I notice I’m old style, however I discover all this digital progress tough to cope with when driving. Simply getting the nav map to point out up took a number of swipes and as an alternative of push-button telephone controls on the steering wheel, I lastly found that they present up on the middle display.

Alternatively, my grandchildren love these items,in addition to the spaciousness of the Arteon inside. I do should admit that I just like the 30-color selectable inside lighting.

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Depart the shift lever in ‘D’ and the powertrain shifts at round 2,000 rpm, however go to sport mode and use the paddle shifters and the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4 eagerly revs to six grand and past

However my major curiosity is in driving, and the 2021 VW Arteon is enjoyable to drive, at the very least while you toggle the shifter into Sport mode so you’ll be able to choose your gear. 

Left in normal “Drive” mode, the 8-speed transmission is less-than-sporty off the road, however use the paddle shifters and you’ll drive this automobile as if it had an actual three-pedal handbook, shifting up by way of paddle on the steering wheel when needed and likewise downshifting for managed descent on mountain roads reasonably than utilizing — or over utilizing — the brakes.

Left in normal “D,” the gearbox desires to shift gears at 2,000 rpm. However use the “Sport” mode and the two.0-liter turbo 4 eagerly revs to greater than 6 grand earlier than you’re feeling the necessity to elevate to the subsequent gear. Shifting for your self brings with it the complete use of the engine’s 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

The automobile’s steering is correctly weighted and instantly responsive, dare I say sports activities car-like? The low middle of gravity and adaptive suspension setup instill confidence that the automobile will go the place you level it, and the low-profile Continental ProContact tires (245/35 R 20) present nice grip.

I even have to notice that the lane-keeping expertise is far much less intrusive than in different new automobiles I’ve pushed currently. Perhaps the automobile additionally likes hitting the apex in a curve?

2021 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SEL Premium R-Line

Car kind: 5-passenger sedan, all-wheel (4Motion) drive

Base value: $46,995 Value as examined: $48,585

Engine: turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, 268 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm, 258 pound-feet of torque @ 1,950 rpm Transmission: 8-speed automated

Wheelbase: 111.9 inches General size/width: 191.6 inches / 56.9 inches

Curb weight: 3,955 kilos

EPA mileage estimates: 20 metropolis / 31 freeway / 24 mixed

Assembled in: Emden, Germany

For extra data, go to the Volkswagen web site.

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Larry Edsall

A former each day newspaper sports activities editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek journal earlier than making the transition to writing for the online and turning into the writer of greater than 15 automotive books. Along with being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Instances and The Detroit Information and was an adjunct honors professor on the Walter Cronkite College of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State College.