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Refreshed 2021 Volkswagen Arteon gets sleeker body lines, redesigned cockpit

Volkswagen has given the Arteon a signficant refresh for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen's flagship car has gotten a refresh, and it's more than just your typical facelift. The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon has gotten a fresh body design, redesigned interior, and new high-tech comfort systems. There's also a second body style, but the U.S. isn't getting it.

For 2021, the U.S. market Volkswagen Arteon features a simplified trim lineup—SE, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line. The Arteon Shooting Brake, a wagon (or estate, depending on where you're reading this right now), is designated for sale outside of North America. So too is the new plug-in hybrid powertrain version of the model.

2021 Volkswagen ArteonThe car's side profile features a character linen that wraps from front to rear.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

At the front, there are sharpened design elements. A long, wide hood stretches bringing the eye up and then out toward the wheel arches. The grille sees the front end encroaching further into its territory, which emphasizes the model's wideness. Mid-grade models come with LED daytime running lights that connect across the grille.

Lower, the front apron has been modified to feature three chrome bars instead of four. The outer and bottom of the apron now match the vehicle's body color (except the lateral air intake grilles).

Some features vary by trim level. The Arteon SE gets two additional air intakes in the front and a chrome bar integrated above the front spoiler. The Arteon R-Linen features one larger, continuous, bottom air intake above the front spoiler that is surrounded by a C-shaped section on the outside in front of the front wheels, which has been painted in the main vehicle color.

A character line runs around the entire car, visually connecting front to rear. VW badging throughout the model features the company's new design, the Arteon lettering has been redesigned, and the "R" badge is in the new design.

2021 Volkswagen Arteonnew VW badging is apparent throughout the car.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen is adding three new paint jobs to the mix for 2021: Oryx White, Kings Red Metallic, and Lapiz Blue.

For the U.S. market, the Arteon continues to be powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available on select models.

The Arteon cabin's cockpit has been completely redesigned, as has the entire dashboard. There are fresh surfaces, air vents, and finishers. The center console, infotainment area, climate controls, and top sections of the door interiors also have been given a thorough once-over. Fabrics and materials inside the model have been upgraded.

2021 Volkswagen ArteonVolkswagen has upgraded the interior, previously a low point for the car.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Gone are the hard plastics and rubberized materials that made up the previous edition's dashboard. New leatherette surfaces with decorative seams match the design of the ones in the Volkswagen Touareg, which is no longer sold in the U.S. Midrange and up models get translucent aluminum décor with 30-color ambient lighting.

The fresh Volkswagen multifunction steering wheels features digital touch surfaces. In combination with the Travel Assist system, the steering wheel rim additionally features touch-sensitive surfaces which, once Travel Assist has been activated, detect whether the driver has at least one hand on the steering wheel for safety reasons.

Tri-zone automatic climate control is now available and controlled via a touchslider. Seat heating, windscreen and window defrosting functions, as well as other air conditioner regulations are also controlled using new touch-sensitive surfaces in the center console.

2021 Volkswagen ArteonVW has put its next-gen steering wheel in the model.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Arteon is equipped with the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, which allows the driver to configure the 10,25-inch instrument display. Three visual layouts are available for the driver to choose from. The system uses its parent company's MIB3 infotainment system. An 8.0-inch touch screen is standard. Wireless charging is available.

2021 Volkswagen ArteonNew interior finishes allow for unique style lines.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Buyers can opt for a premium Harman Kardon sound system that uses a 700-watt, 16-channel Ethernet amplifier to power a total of twelve high-performance loudspeakers. One loudspeaker acts as the center speaker in the newly designed dash panel while another operates as a subwoofer in the trunk. The remaining treble, mid-range, and bass loudspeakers have been arranged in the doors. A variety of sound system settings such as Pure, Chill out, Live, and Energy, are available to be chosen.

The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon goes on sale later this year.

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VW purchased the rights to the iconic Scout name and plans to make new EVs under the brand.

Volkswagen

Automakers bring back names and brands from the past all the time, but it's not every day that a major company purchases a brand name specifically for the purpose of reviving it. That's exactly what Volkswagen just did with Scout, the name of an ultra-popular off-road SUV that was built by International Harvester in the 1960s and 1970s.

As for the types of vehicles we'll see from the brand, we currently only have the renders to go on. The pickup truck and SUV both feature throwback styling that is reminiscent of the original Scout shapes. Beefy off-road tires and lifted suspension are the only other clues available in the drawings.

Volkswagen has its own EVs, and its other brands like Audi and Porsche have made significant progress with electric vehicles as well. That said, VW doesn't really have a solid off-road option from any of its brands at the moment, so the Scout purchase opens doors for the automaker in that arena.

The announcement sounds exciting, but we've still got plenty of time to wait before there's a Scout-branded EV on the roads. Volkswagen said the plan is to release vehicles by 2026, but it won't be sitting idle between now and then. The VW ID.4 is still very fresh and the automaker says it will launch a total of 25 new EVs in the U.S. by 2030.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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