For the past 3 months, I struggled with how to draft this article but finally decided to split it into two parts: 1) an account of my ownership experience and 2) a narrative of my road trip (relocation) from the West Coast to the Midwest in the US. While both threads can be read independently, I highly recommend that the members also read the other thread https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...d-trip-us.html (An Epic Road Trip in the US)
My relationship with the VW Passat limited edition became short-lived when it met with an accident. Though the accident was a minor one with no structural damage, the insurance company declared it as a total loss as the labor costs alone have come to around >10000 USD. I planned to relocate from the West Coast to the Midwest before the accident and was in a dilemma about whether to buy a new car in the current state or in the new state, where the sales tax was cheaper. But I realized that I could not move without a car as I must carry many household items with me and it is a lot cheaper if I drive myself (along with my wife and kid). Most importantly, I do not want to miss a chance to drive close to 2600 miles on the US freeways and some of the most scenic mountain passes. So, I considered buying a car. Being a VW fan and having familiarity with the engines, gearboxes, and maintenance aspects, I did not look for any other brand besides VW and Audi. I also wanted to experience cars not found in India during my brief US stay.
Since I got everything I invested in Passat from my insurance provider because of a total loss, I kept a similar budget for this buy. The place I am moving to is a cold region with harsh winters, so I wanted a sedan or a small SUV like an Audi Q3 with AWD. In the VW lineup, only the Arteon offers the AWD option (4 motion®) in the top variants. My first stance with VW Arteon was when I visited a VW showroom to buy the Passat in the US. VW discontinued the Arteon in the North American market in 2023 because of its poor sales. It was never in the contest because of its price, where there are many options available from other luxury car manufacturers like Infiniti, Lexus, Audi, Accura, Volvo, etc. The new car prices were beyond my budget and hence I looked at a certified pre-owned (CPO) car. After a week of searching, I found one nice deal for a 2021 VW Arteon SEL R-Line at Winn VW, Newark, California. The price was within my budget, and it ticked every feature I had in my earlier car plus a lot. The color is Lapiz metallic blue, for which VW charges an additional $495. After being used as a lease vehicle for 2 years, it depreciated 35% of its original value after 28000 miles (the mileage is the same as my damaged Passat). Moreover, being a CPO vehicle, I would get 24000 miles or a 2-year additional warranty besides the leftover warranty making it a sweet deal. I took a test drive with a friend and was greatly impressed by its dynamics and power. Returned to the showroom the next day, negotiated the price, and took it home. It's been 7 months now, and I completed close to 6000 miles on it. Since the features are like my earlier VW Passat, which I elaborated on in my previous post, I am highlighting only the key upgrades and my experience with them below. Arteon's full list of features and technical specifications can be found here 2021_Arteon_Pricing_&_Features.pdf and 2021_Arteon_Tech_Specs.pdf
The first wow factor for Arteon is the design and coupe-like styling. A huge grille with chrome bars, 19" dual tone alloys, front to rear creases, frameless doors, and the folding of ORVMs at a specific angle (check the photos), all make the Arteon one of the best-styled cars in the market and perhaps the most handsome car VW ever made. The illuminated light grille at the front makes it distinct from many other cars in the night. I tried my best to capture the styling with some great backgrounds, despite that, it looks better in person than in photos. Please notice that the car looks slightly different between photos due to the overcast, bright sunny conditions on different days I took the photos. I have not done anything other than basic editing.
Mechanical, Exterior, and Safety Upgrades Engine and gearbox: The EA888 engine tuned to 268ps and 350nm torque powers the 2021 Arteon Sel R-Line. The engine is super smooth like any VW engine and accepts only premium gasoline (91 R+M/2 Method or 95 RON). There is a slight turbo lag but once it kicks in, the acceleration is linear until ~5000rpm. However, the gearbox is an 8-speed torque converter, which is a bummer in this segment. I would have enjoyed the slick DSG® dual-clutch transmission. VW offered DSG only in the later year models (2022 and 23). I did not mind mileage considering its appetite for power, but to my surprise, I could get as high as 39.1MPG (16.6kmpl) on a fully loaded vehicle. I am consistently getting above 33-35mpg (14-15kmpl) on highways and 20-22mpg (8.5-9.2kmpl) in the city.
Semi-adaptive suspension: The main selling point of VW Arteon that differentiates it from its competitors is the adaptive chassis control DCC®. All four wheels have an independent suspension mechanism with anti-roll bars. It has four defined driving modes (comfort, normal, sports, and eco mode) that have various shock absorber sensitivity and steering stiffness. There is also a custom adjuster where you can define chassis and steering stiffness, braking, etc according to your liking. I could feel the comfort mode clearly when I first drove it but could not appreciate it after a few drives (habituation). I drove 2500 miles in comfort mode over 7 days while relocating and felt no stress. Freeway driving in the US is not that stressful anyway, but some days were as high as 550 miles (see my other parallel thread) with a lot on mountain roads. Ninety percent of my driving is in comfort mode.
XDS® Cross Differential System: I noticed only a slight difference with this feature while maneuvering at high speeds. I am not doing sharp maneuvers like previously and have heavily toned down my aggressive driving after coming to the US (and I will be continuing the same for the rest of my life). The roads also have good banking, so this could be the reason I did not feel the full effect of XDS.
Steering wheel with paddle shifters: It's a flat-bottomed sporty steering wheel, and this is the first time I used paddle shifters, and they are great. The steering wheel is a little thicker than any other VW steering wheel I experienced except the VW Atlas offered in the US. The steering wheel also has capacitive touch control buttons providing a premium touch experience.
Superior lighting: It has an adaptive front-lighting system (AFS) with both the low and the high beams being projector LEDs. They are curve-adaptive and respond to dynamic changes like cornering and deceleration as well. The lighting is bright but gentle on the eyes and not stressful. Special poor weather lights are also present.
Projector LEDs with full-length light bar
Rear LED cluster
Tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS): It has a direct sensor reading from each wheel and is a huge upgrade over the indirect measurement I had in Passat. Even a single PSI drop in pressure prompts an immediate notification from the TPMS.
All-wheel disc brake: The Arteon borrowed its brakes from the VW Golf R (13.4 x 1.2-in vented front discs and 12.2 x 0.9-in vented rear discs) and is powerful. There is also an electronic parking brake.
R-Line Everywhere: The R-line badging is apparent throughout the car. Badges are on the fender, rear, and steering wheel. The display pops R badging graphics upon startup. R-line models also have a glossy black rear spoiler enhancing the sporty look.
Other features: Arteon has level 2 ADAS features with a dynamic road sign display and an incapacitated driver detection system. The dynamic road sign display works well and can detect school zones. The blind spot alert light is off the mirror but is huge with brightness control options! Cool looking rear VW logo that dual functions as a boot opener and a reverse camera pop-up. Keyless entry (KESSY®) sensor on all door handles. Opening the bonnet is effortless as it is supported by pressurized gas spring struts.
Premium materials were used to create the balanced interiors. Driver and passenger seats are bucket-type with Nappa leather, the smoothest I had ever encountered. The seats also provide exceptional comfort, but they are positioned at a low height, creating a sporty feel. When the ignition is off, the driver's seat moves 6" backward to make egress and ingress easy. In the night, the 30-color ambient lighting orchestrates a great visual display to enhance the mood. LEDs strip for ambient lighting are present on the dashboard, and on the four doors with translucent elements. You have the option to configure the ambient lighting to light only a specific portion of the car if desired. The brightness is not adjustable and is also low so the ambience is better when it's fully dark. Ambient lighting also includes the footwell and cupholder lights with brightness control. It's all LEDs! The 10-inch digital cockpit pro display with map view is great with many styles (21 styles altogether). I was not a fan of fully digital instrument clusters, but all in now. I wish the view had support for a full-fledged Google Maps since I don't use inbuilt maps for navigation. (The digital cockpit pro presents Google Map's directions when using Android Auto, check the top left corner in the previous cockpit image).
The audio system is superb with excellent bass (no sub-woofer). But it is much better than my Passat's premium Fender audio, which also has a sub-woofer! I enjoy listening to music in this car. The same audio system is also available in VW Atlas V6 models. The Arteon has VW Net App support with a remote start option. I liked the app-based remote start option very convenient. In the harsh winters here, I usually turn on the car 15-20mins before I plan to take it out. The VW Net app also displays trip information, mileage, driving scores, etc. Other interior features include the 8-inch MIB3 Discover Media infotainment system with wireless Android auto (drains battery badly) wireless charging facility (takes forever to charge), and a three-zone climate control system. Even the Climatronic control buttons are touch-sensitive.
Ambient interior lighting on the door panels and dashboard
1) Winn VW, Newark forced me to take Lo Jack, a GPS tracking device with app support. It can send location information, speed alerts, etc. The initial price quoted was close to $800 but ultimately provided it for $150 with a 3-year subscription. This is redundant in new cars with internet connectivity, but I found that many showrooms in the US insist customers install this. Some dealers (Niello group) in the Sacramento region were not ready to sell the car without these devices.
2) Took out the dashcam along with its bracket from the damaged Passat and fitted it in the Arteon. It's fully functioning with the same set of plug-and-play cables, although the roof liner is black and out of place.
Things I missed or didn't like
1) The steering wheel and rear seats do not have a heating function (reserved for SEL R-Line Premium) making it uncomfortable during harsh winters in Wisconsin.
2) The ambient lights reflect on the ORVMs and interfere with the views. It's annoying sometimes.
3) No hands-free boot opener like in my previous Passat (reserved for the SEL Premium R-Line version).
4) Rear LED lights are red-lit for turns instead of amber (the front turn indicators are yellow). The Arteon's everywhere in the world get amber-colored dynamic LEDs in the rear. US-sold Areton's are made in Germany, but the feature is omitted. I hate these, although the problem is not specific to this car. Not only do they take out the style quotient, but also an incorrect representation. When you are taking turns, you intend to "warn" the driver behind about your moves, hence these should be in the amber color which represents the same. The red color denotes a complete stop or danger. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) knew from their research that amber turn indicators are better at preventing accidents https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api...ication/811115 but no law mandates the manufacturers to stick with amber color. Even the 4+ decade old VW study also shows Amber color is better than SAE MOBILUS but for some of their US version cars, they are offering red, which is appalling. My initial impression was that this phenotype is specific for the American manufacturers but later found the Germans and the Japanese car manufacturers implementing the same with some of their models.
I'm eager to keep this with me for as long as I can. Looking at the pace of EV sales in the last 2 years, I doubt many of these wonderful cars become endangered if not extinct in a decade. Before closing the thread, check out some other photos I took at various national parks during my road trip.
with Conness glacier backdrop, Tioga Pass, California
at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
at Beartooth Pass, Montana
at Badlands National Park, South Dakota
during last fall season, Wisconsin
Last edited by Rajamass : 12th February 2024 at 07:39.
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Congratulations on getting the opportunity to own such a beautiful automobile
Originally Posted by Rajamass
However, the gearbox is an 8-speed torque converter, which is a bummer in this segment. I would have enjoyed the slick DSG® dual-clutch transmission. VW offered DSG only in the later year models (2022 and 23).
^ Learnt something new here as I wasn't aware a non DSG version was available.
Back in 2019 I had rented a VW Arteon for a few days in Germany and your thread really brought back my memories of the great time I spent in this car, Here are some pics;
YES, it was a DIESEL
^ 2L TDi + DSG.
Had the opportunity to breach the top speed on the Autobahns;
Beautiful Car! and gorgeous pictures. I read your travelogue in the morning. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for reading both the articles
Originally Posted by karan561
^ Learnt something new here as I wasn't aware a non-DSG version was available.
Not sure of the clear reason but VW in North America keeps away from the DSG in most vehicles. DSG is offered only in Jetta GLI and Golf GTI. Only in the last 5 years, more variants with DSG have come into the market. I think it is due to strict lemon laws here.
The torque converter Arteon was also exclusive to the US market. Having run out of options and low sales, they introduced the DSG variant in 2022.
Last edited by Rajamass : 13th February 2024 at 12:07.
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This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful VWs made in recent times, the sheer fluidity of the car is just breathtaking in the right colour. In my opinion this car’s design gives cars 3-4x its price a run for its money.
Thanks for sharing!
The following BHPian Thanks AKSarkar1 for this useful post:
I always loved the big class sedans from VAG stable. I have always loved the stylings of VW and skoda mainly when they design sedans.
Even though phaeton was an older design, but this one is a real looker.
Loved reading through and the pics!