How the two swoopy VW four-doors compare on paper
After a slight delay, the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon has finally arrived in the North America to serve as the brand’s flagship. As the spiritual successor to the CC, the Arteon evolves the low, coupe-like roofline into a cleaner, more sophisticated look. But are the changes more than skin-deep? Let’s take a look at how Volkswagen’s sultry new sedan compares to the last one.
Put the 2019 Arteon next to the CC that it replaces and you might think they’re pretty close size-wise. However, when you look closer, the Arteon’s wheelbase is 5.0 inches longer than the CC. Height and width also increase by 0.7 inch each, and overall length grows by 2.3 inches. The Arteon, which comes with more standard equipment than the CC, also weighs 3,655 pounds (1,658 kg) in front-wheel-drive trim, or 286 pounds (130 kg) more than a four-cylinder CC. All-wheel drive increases the Arteon’s weight to 3,854 pounds (1,748 kg), which is 14 pounds (6 kg) heavier than the 2015 CC VR6 4Motion we last tested.
As the flagship model, we expected the Arteon to punch above others in its niche class, and that seems to be the case. A long list of standard features includes full LED headlights 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 flagship sedan the moment you got inside.
One look at the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon and you’ll immediately think it’s just a swoopy sedan like the CC it replaces. Well, there’s more to this German automotive supermodel 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 it’s 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 down 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 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque or a 3.6-liter V-6 with 280 hp 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 hp and 258 lb-ft. An Aisin-sourced eight-speed automatic replaces the two 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 cycle, 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 all models along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Navigation and the Digital Cockpit system are now available on the top two trims instead of solely on the highest one, and there’s 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 it. In the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert all come standard. Adaptive cruise control is only offered on the SEL and SEL Premium trims 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 with its nice balance of comfort and agility. The Arteon takes things up a notch over the CC with features like adaptive dampers and a custom drive mode setting, 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 like.
By the end of its life cycle, the Volkswagen CC was ancient. It had gone through a refresh but that wasn’t enough to revive interest. In its final year of production, only 1,355 units sold. Since going on sale a few weeks ago Volkswagen has sold 78 Arteons, which could indicate that it, too, will be a low-volume niche product. Just how low? That remains to be seen.