2019 Volkswagen Arteon's mpg numbers underwhelm

VW's upscale hatchback will have to compel buyers on its other merits.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
2 min read
2019 Volkswagen Arteon R-Line

The handsome 2019 Volkswagen Arteon is very late to the party. That's not an oblique reference to North America's waning interest in conventional cars in favor of all things SUV. The swoopy liftback is actually late -- it was supposed to launch in the US last year. Instead, regulatory hurdles pushed back the on-sale date of the premium-feeling five-door hatchback. Now VW's CC replacement is finally almost here. We've known what it'll look like and what it'll be powered by for some time, but now, we also know how efficient it'll be.

According to FuelEconomy.gov, the federal repository of all things mpg, the 2019 Arteon will net out at 22 miles per gallon city, 31 mpg highway or 25 mpg on the combined cycle for the 2.0-liter, turbocharged front-wheel-drive model. Opt for all-wheel drive, and you're looking at 20 mpg city, 27 highway and 23 combined. 

Unfortunately for potential buyers, those numbers are disappointing. The (admittedly slightly smaller) 2019 Audi A5 Sportback, which is a similar shape and is powered by the same-size engine and standard AWD, nets out at 23/34/27. In fact, the nearly 4,300-pound 2019 Audi A6 sedan, which is longer, heavier and has a larger, more powerful engine, also acquits itself better at 22/29/25. 

2019 Volkswagen Arteon R-Line
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2019 Volkswagen Arteon R-Line

VW's Arteon will compete against a diverse group of rivals including the Buick Regal, Kia Stinger and Nissan Maxima.


When asked to comment on the Arteon's EPA ratings, a VW spokesperson told Roadshow, "The front-wheel-drive Arteon has more power its four-cylinder competitors and achieves better EPA numbers than all but one of them."

When it comes to market, the 2019 Arteon will serve as a flagship passenger car for Volkswagen in North America, sitting above today's Passat sedan. The rakish, MQB-architecture-based hatchback has not yet been priced, but it's expected to go on sale later this spring, likely around May. Look for pricing to be in the $35,000-$45,000 range when the Arteon finally hits dealers.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon: Standard adaptive dampers and lots of tech

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Originally published March 25, 6:59 a.m. PST
Update, 1:08 p.m. PST: Adds VW statement.