For a few years after its 2008 launch, the Volkswagen Passat CC enjoyed a respectable level of sales success in the U.S. that peaked at 29,502 in 2011, when it accounted for 9 percent of the brand’s volume. Despite a facelift and a name change to just CC, its momentum receded rapidly; in 2016, the aging “four-door coupe” was VW’s slowest-selling model in the U.S. Despite the negative trend, the automaker is staying in the segment and is getting ready to replace the CC with the bigger, better-named, MQB platform-based 2019 Volkswagen Arteon.
Where the CC is about the same size as the smaller European-market Passat, the Arteon is almost the same size as the Tennessee-built Passat sold in the U.S. andthe Nissan Maxima. Ahalf-inch shorter in length than its conventionally styled sibling, the Arteon rides on a 1.4-inch longer wheelbase, and is 1.5-inches wider and 2.3-inches shorter in height. Compared to the CC, the Arteon is 2.4-inches longer and rides on a 5.2-inch-longer wheelbase; the stretch in wheelbase is entirely in the rear and allows the Arteon to provide rear passengers with an extra 0.6-inch of headroom (now totaling 37.2 inches).
The Arteon’s design is a big win. Its seamless, wide-banded front grille rounds out into high shoulders and a low roofline before shooting rearward to provide a sharp profile. Big, turbine-style wheels fill the four corners, offered in 19-inches for the U.S. and 20-inches for the rest of the world.
When it arrives, the Arteon should start at around $35,000, much like the outgoing CC. That’s competitive with the likes of the Toyota Avalon and aforementioned Maxima, which don’t offer the Arteon’s stylish design or flexible hatchback body. While the Arteon feels and looks more premium than those two, making for a short debate, it’s also up against the likes of the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, which start at around the same price.
The Arteon’s shapely body is its main asset against those luxury opponents as well. To get a similar profile from Ingolstadt or Munich, you need to step up to an A5 Sportback or 4 Series Gran Coupe, a roughly $43,000 proposition. For those more tempted by substance rather than badge, the Volkswagen Arteon, which can be outfitted with enough kit and caboodle to challenge those luxury alternatives, is sure to be a strong alternative when it arrives the U.S. in 2018.