Skip to main content

Have you heard of the Volkswagen Arteon? Do you remember what it looks like? We wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t, because there aren’t many of this VW sedan around. Gorgeous though it is, the Arteon is the best Volkswagen model in the current lineup. So why is nobody buying them? We have some ideas.

The 2017 Volkswagen Arteon
2018 Volkswagen Arteon | Volkswagen

No marketing from Volkswagen

One theory is that the Volkswagen Arteon didn’t sell because Volkswagen didn’t want it to. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the truth is there wasn’t much marketing surrounding the Arteon. This, despite years of development and a cohesive design that set high standards for mid-market fullsize sedans.

Still, while commercials for the Taos, Atlas, and even Jetta ran both on television and online, the German brand drafted scant few campaigns for the Arteon. Even on the brand’s official Youtube channel, there are just four videos that highlight Arteon’s stunning design. The rest are just how-to’s on the car’s various features.

Priced like a luxury car without the badge

2023 Volkswagen Arteon
2023 Volkswagen Arteon | Volkswagen

Sure, the Volkswagen Arteon could be easily described as a luxury car, but the round VW badge up front doesn’t carry the same weight as its four-ringed cousins. With a starting price near or above $40,000 for its entire run, the Arteon was closer to Audi A5 territory than Volkswagen Passat.

For buyers spending that kind of cash on a German car, the Arteon was a tough sell. You’d have to really love this car to want to bring it home, putting the Volkswagen sport sedan in an odd in-between category that not many buyers fall into.

Carmageddon strikes again

If you’re stripping luxury buyers away toward Audi, anyone willing to spend $40,000 at a Volkswagen dealership was probably taking home a top-spec Tiguan or three-row Atlas SUV instead. Sure, there were 27 cubic feet of cargo space in the back of the Arteon, but the liftback design meant your dog wasn’t going to fit back there.

Those who still wanted a car would opt for the efficient and comfortable Jetta for half the price, and anyone interested in a sports car was buying the vaunted VW GTI or Golf R models over the oddball Arteon.

Too expensive to compete with midsize sedans

So if the Arteon didn’t appeal to performance or luxury buyers, where does that leave us? In the space of models like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Hyundai Sonata. Good luck breaking into that club, especially when the cheapest Arteon costs nearly $15,000 than the base versions of those models. The Accord Sport even came with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and a manual transmission for enthusiast buyers. Honda reliability paired with that level of fun put the Arteon on its heels before it ever hit the market.

The Volkswagen Arteon lives on the island of misfit toys

It’s hard to admit this, but as great as the Arteon is, it doesn’t really fit in anywhere. Relatable, sure. But not worth spending nearly $50k after taxes and fees. It really is a beautiful car, fun to drive, and plenty comfortable. But there are several cars that do all of those things better and even more that do it for less cash.

Related 3 Advantages the 2023 Nissan Maxima Has Over the Volkswagen Arteon

3 Advantages the 2023 Nissan Maxima Has Over the Volkswagen Arteon