After a slight delay, the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon has finally arrived in the U.S. to serve as the brand’s flagship. As the spiritual successor to the CC, the Arteon evolves that car’s low, coupe-like roofline into something a bit more rakish and more sophisticated. But the changes go more than skin deep. Let’s take a look at how Volkswagen’s sultry new sedan compares to its last one.
Put the 2019 Arteon next to the CC that it replaces and you might think they’re pretty close in terms of size. However, the Arteon’s wheelbase is 5.0 inches longer than the CC’s, and its height and width are larger by 0.7 inch each. It’s also 2.3 inches longer overall, and much of the additional space has been given over to the rear seat and trunk area. The Arteon, which comes with more standard equipment than the CC, also weighs 3,655 pounds in front-wheel-drive trim, or 286 pounds more than a four-cylinder CC. All-wheel drive increases the Arteon’s weight to 3,854 pounds, which is 14 pounds heavier than a 2015 CC VR6 4Motion MotorTrend tested.
As VW’s flagship model, we expected the Arteon to pack a punch in the near-luxury sedan class, and that seems to be the case. The long list of standard features includes full LED head- and taillights, three-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, and heated front seats. Move up to higher trims and you’ll get everything from ventilated seats, heated outboard rear seats, Nappa leather upholstery, and a power liftgate. The CC was available with things like leather and heated front seats, but not much else; it was obvious that it was more like a coupe-ified Passat than a true flagship sedan the moment you got inside.
One look at the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon and you’ll immediately think it’s laid out just like the CC. Well, there’s more to this German than meets the eye; the Arteon is actually a hatchback just like the Buick Regal Sportback and Kia Stinger. That gives the Arteon better hauling capability than the CC and its teeny-tiny 13.2-cubic-foot trunk (expandable via the 60/40 split-folding rear seats). With the all seats in place, the 2019 Arteon has 27.2 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold the rear seatbacks and it balloons to a crossover-rivaling 55.0 cubic feet.
Before it was discontinued, the Volkswagen CC was available with either a 2.0-liter turbo-four good for 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque or a 3.6-liter V-6 with 280 horsepower and 265 lb-ft. The 2019 Arteon features the latest iteration of Volkswagen’s EA888 2.0-liter turbo-four and its output splits the difference at 268 horses and 258 lb-ft. An Aisin-sourced eight-speed automatic replaces the CC’s two available six-speed transmissions (a dual-clutch with the four cylinder and a conventional torque converter unit in the V-6).
Early in the CC’s life, Volkswagen forced you to get a more expensive trim in order to get things like navigation and a larger touchscreen. Toward the end of its life, the CC eventually got the 6.3-inch touchscreen standard and it came with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay across the board. By that time, however, the car was a dinosaur by auto-industry standards.
With the 2019 Arteon, Volkswagen has made tech a priority; an 8.0-inch touchscreen comes standard on every example along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Navigation and the customizable Digital Cockpit gauge cluster are now available on the top two trims instead of solely on the highest one, and there are at least two USB ports in the car no matter which model you choose.
If you wanted a CC with automatic emergency braking you would have had to shell out for an Executive trim car, as that was the only model that had the feature. In the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert all come baked in. Adaptive cruise control is only offered on the SEL and SEL Premium trims, though, while lane-keeping assist and automatic high beams are only on the latter.
On the Road
Like the CC it replaces, the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon drives wonderfully and offers a pleasing balance of comfort and agility, and it takes things up a notch over the CC with features like adaptive dampers and custom drive-mode settings, two features you couldn’t get on the CC. That gives you the ability to tailor the Arteon’s driving experience, allowing you to make it as sporty or as comfortable as you prefer, at least within its programming and hardware envelopes.
By the time it was discontinued, the CC was ancient had gone through a refresh but that wasn’t enough to revive interest. In its final year of production, only 1,355 units were sold. While the Arteon won’t be able to survive on such crumbs, Volkswagen admits it doesn’t expect the car to be a volume-seller in America, but rather to simply serve as a halo for the brand.