The 2021 VW Arteon’s Consumer Reports Road Test Proves It’s a Hidden Gem

Is the 2021 Volkswagen Arteon one of the first models that come to mind when you think of luxury cars? Most people will likely answer no. However, this underrated fastback deserves more attention.

The Arteon is unlike most other Volkswagen models. It’s not all too affordable, and it heavily emphasizes performance and comfort over generating mass appeal. This vehicle is undoubtedly an outlier in the German automaker’s lineup, but that might be a positive thing. 

Consumer Reports praised this model for its versatile fastback design and gave it a healthy overall vehicle score of 81/100. However, the publication surprised many car enthusiasts by awarding the Arteon the highest road test score (91/100) amongst all 2021 compact luxury cars.

Why did the 2021 Volkswagen Arteon perform so well in Consumer Reports’ road test? And does this vehicle have any significant drawbacks shoppers should be concerned about? Let’s take a look at the publication’s data to see if VW’s most unique model is all it’s cracked up to be.

The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon offers luxury at a discount

A red 2021 Volkswagen Arteon driving down a highway road
The 2021 VW Arteon on a highway | Photo via Volkswagen

Volkswagen dressed up the Arteon for the 2021 model year. The car displays new interior and exterior styling. Plus, the manufacturer outfitted it with cutting-edge features like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Notably, these updates came with a huge price hike.

Regardless, the end product may be well worth the high cost for buyers, and Consumer Reports certainly took note. The publication named the 2021 Volkswagen Arteon one of its recommended vehicles, and it sits in fifth place in the luxury compact car rankings.

Noted high points include the VW Arteon’s handling, braking, intuitive controls, and front-seat comfort. Consumer Reports likened the car’s interior to a “budget Audi,” commending some soft-touch surfaces and criticizing other lower-quality materials.

The 2021 Arteon’s luxurious atmosphere easily sets it apart from lower-end Volkswagens like the Passat. Plus, it’s more than $2,000 cheaper than a 2021 Audi A4, making it enticing to savvy shoppers.

Volkswagen tunes this fastback’s performance to 11

The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon’s performance is loud in more ways than one. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine powers every Arteon model. However, buyers can opt for either standard front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. 

This powertrain kicks out 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, and Consumer Reports claims the performance is “virtually free of turbo lag.”

There is one significant downside to the 2021 Volkswagen Arteon’s powerplant. During Consumer Reports’ testing, the publication noticed loud engine noise while accelerating and traveling at low speeds. Whether this drawback is a significant nuisance is down to personal preference, making it something to keep an ear out for during a test drive.

The only other areas where the Arteon didn’t excel where fuel economy and predicted reliability. Consumer Reports recorded 24 MPG city/highway combined, putting it in the middle of the class. Meanwhile, its 48% reliability score falls behind the segment leaders.

Is the 2021 Volkswagen Arteon worth buying?

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This non-traditional luxury vehicle is an excellent option for shoppers who would like to spend under $40,000. The 2021 Arteon delivers satisfying performance and offers a generous assortment of amenities for the money.

The Infiniti Q50 is the only other luxury compact car that’s cheaper and has a higher Consumer Reports overall vehicle score than the Arteon. However, the Q50 is hampered by a low predicted ownership satisfaction rating.