The Arteon Is a Premium VW at a Premium Price

The entry front-drive model starts higher than the Kia Stinger.

After what felt like years of delays, Volkswagen announced earlier this month that the Arteon would finally go on sale in the U.S. by summer. The fastback sedan looks great, but would it really cost $38,000 as early estimates suggested? Not quite. That said, it's still quite a bit more expensive than its closest nominal competitor, which would probably be the Kia Stinger.

Volkswagen reports the Arteon SE will cost $36,840 with front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive available for $1,800 more. Under the hood, you get a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder good for 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, with shifting handled by an eight-speed automatic transmission. An adaptive suspension comes standard, as do 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, power-adjustable heated seats, rain-sensing wipers, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen display with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Choosing the mid-level Arteon SEL brings the price up to $40,940 ($42,790 for AWD) and adds a panoramic sunroof, Napa leather seats, remote start, faux wood trim, a larger 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and adaptive cruise control. For $45,490, the Arteon SEL Premium adds all-wheel drive as standard, as well as 19-inch wheels, a massaging driver's seat, ventilated front and heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel with paddle shifters, rear climate controls, an upgraded sound system, and more advanced driver-assistance systems. For a sportier look, the R-Line appearance package can be added to every trim for $1,265 if you want 19-inch wheels or $1,765 if you want 20s.

For comparison, a base Kia Stinger starts at $33,985, while the AWD version costs $36,185. Its 2.0-liter turbo-four is a little down on power compared to the Arteon, making 255 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, but you do get a sportier rear-drive-based layout. And while Kia requires you to spring for the $46,295 GT1 package in order to get an adaptive suspension, that version also comes with a significantly more powerful 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V-6.

Still, even though the Stinger starts at a lower price, the Arteon offers more technology for your money. The good news is, we shouldn't have to wait long to drive them side by side, as the Arteon will reach dealers next month.

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