As American buyers continue to snap up a veritable deluge of new crossovers, it seems that a car company would have to be either clueless or desperate to introduce an all-new sedan, especially into a niche like the one that the Volkswagen Arteon will occupy. Alas, VW’s U.S. operation is struggling to sell a dated lineup while trying to make everyone forget Dieselgate. The stylish Arteon will do little to address these problems—that’s the job of the Atlas and the Tiguan, VW’s dynamic duo of new crossovers—but at least when the Arteon replaces the CC a year from now, it will give VW customers something to gawk at in the showroom while they wait on the F&I guy.
The Arteon’s best face is quite literally that: a coupelike mug that looks as if it could grace a new Scirocco rather than a largish sedan to sit above the Passat in VW’s lineup. The Arteon’s hood is ridiculously low for such a car, rising to just below the waist for its projected average buyer, a 53-year-old college-educated man, according to VW. And it’s actually a clamshell hood, stretching as it does from one side of the 73.7-inch-wide car to the other. The rest of the Arteon’s four-door “coupe” styling eschews the sleek look of the old CC for a tough, fastback design with fat haunches and a quasi Kamm-tail hatchback.