2019 VW Arteon SEL Premium Goes Upscale in Down Sedan Market

The 2019 VW Arteon SEL Premium is a new car offering from VW with upscale design, interior and moderate performance.


The 2019 Volkswagen Arteon is a new sedan offering replacing the outgoing CC sedan. It arrives with a striking exterior design, upscale interior styling and filled with new technology wrapped in a decidedly German fashion. While this flagship vehicle seems destined for success, it enters a tough U.S. market for sedans with nearly all the competitors struggling to post sales gains. 


Opening the wide doors and getting into the sedan, it offers a considerable amount of styling well beyond the basic VW models of years past. This is nearly a luxury car interior with styling lines not really seen before from VW sedans. The cabin is roomy and spacious for nearly every body type and it can seat four passengers comfortably with a fifth passenger squeezing in the rear middle seat.

The seating surfaces are wrapped in a Nappa letter with the driver seat offering a 12-way adjustments, heat, cooling, 4-way power lumbar support and a power massage feature. For the other passengers, the rear outer seats offer heat as well as the passenger seat.

There is even a rear seat climate control panel as well as dual-zone climate control for the front seats.

The steering wheel is heated, leather-wrapped, 3-spoke with shift paddles and along with the stainless steel pedals and footrest, the Arteon seems much more sporty than one would assume. 

Under the Hood

The hood opens like a supercar, revealing a 2.0L inline four turbocharged and direct injected engine producing 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and is mated to an Aisin eight-speed automatic transmission. This engine is tuned for refinement rather than smoking the tires off the line and is the only engine choice available.

It goes 0-60 in 6 seconds and, when not racing to speed, returns 20/27/23 city/highway/combined fuel economy.

On the Road

Once on the open road, the VW Arteon is a tad bit sluggish to get going at wide open throttle with the turbos needing to spool up. However, if you decide to not drive like a racing legend, the Arteon provides a smooth acceleration off the line and feels plenty powerful for everyday driving.

The car is equipped with adaptive dampers which react to the changing road surfaces returning a ride quality that is usually reserved for more luxurious vehicles.

Certain models come equipped with VW’s well regarded 4Motion all-wheel drive system and it should behave admirably in wet, snowy conditions.

The driving position is quite good and there is ample visibility through the windshield to see the road ahead.


The 2019 VW Arteon comes in three flavors: SE, SEL and Premium. The base front-wheel drive SE starts at $36,840 while the top-tier SEL Premium begins at $45,950. Adding the 4Motion all-wheel drive system will boost the price by an extra $1800 on lower trim models.

For the base model, its primary competition is a Honda Accord Touring or a Mazda 6 Grand Touring, both of which are loaded up versions of their respective cars.

At the higher end, it is really a luxury car competitor and it should be cross shopped against an Acura TLX or Volvo S60.

Strong Points

The VW Arteon wins on styling, interior features and overall driving feel on the top tier level. It is worthy offering from VW and really helps raise the brands appeal among U.S. shoppers.


The simple truth is the top tier model really stretches the pricing to a tough place for shoppers since it fits in between a luxury and non-luxury car while not retaining the resale value of a luxury car. On the base model, it again hits a weird place in the market for most consumers looking for a base sedan with a starting price well into the mid-30ks.


After a week behind the wheel, the 2019 VW Arteon in the SEL Premium trim is a wonderful car and it is not only fun to drive, it is great to look at as well. However, we couldn’t help feeling like it is simply the right car at the wrong time. It is hard to think about buying a $45k car when you can purchase a similar sized and feature laden SUV for nearly the same money and fuel economy.

Tim Esterdahl
Tim is an automotive journalist and contributor to many sites. He mainly covers the full-size truck market because according to him "that's where its at. Hello?" A native of Michigan who ran to Colorado as soon as he could, he enjoys writing, sports, golf and spending time with his wife and three kids.