Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them

Sanjay · Aug 21, 2021 10:00 AM

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 01

Fresh off the lot, our WapCar Ratings sees the facelifted 2021 Volkswagen Arteon R-Line go through our instrumented tests. Locally-assembled (CKD) in Pekan, Pahang, the swoopy sedan is a rival to the BMW 3 Series (G20) and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 02

Please keep in mind that scores of the VW Arteon is only relative to its segment and not the entirety of the new-car market.

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VW Arteon R-Line: Driving Performance - 42/50, Good power and control

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 01

VW Arteon R-Line - Facts and Figures
Engine 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cyl
Transmission 7-speed DSG
Total Power 280 PS @ 5,100 - 6,500 rpm
Total Torque 350 Nm @ 1,700 - 5,600 rpm
Weight 1,720 kg (est)
0-100 km/h 5.8 seconds
100-0 km/h 36.9 metres

First things first: this is the quickest car in its segment, a fact aided by its 4Motion all-wheel drive (AWD) system that really smoothens out power delivery to the wheels. 

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 02

And speaking of power delivery, boy is the Arteon smooth. Despite 280 PS and 350 Nm, taking off from a standstill doesn't feel crazy, but rather progressive, like a large-capacity naturally-aspirated engine typically feels.

In-gear however, it's much better than the pre-facelift model - torque is always on tap, all the way until redline. Sluggish or 'out of puff'? This Arteon doesn't know those terms.

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 03

Power's cool and all, but how does it handle? We'll peg it as the good kind of balanced - show it some corners and the Arteon will lap it up as well as it enjoys long-distance trips. But make no mistake, it's no 3 Series when it comes to pure fun-filled dynamism.

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 04

Tyres are 245/40R19 Pirelli P-Zero units

VW's offering has a trump card in the form of the flexibility of its Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) settings. Typical of higher-end VW offerings, there's several modes to choose from - from Comfort to Sport - and each tweaks the car's powertrain and suspension accordingly.

VW Arteon R-Line - Driving Performances Breakdown
Engine Acceleration 4.5 / 5
In-gear Acceleration 4.5 / 5
Throttle Response 3 / 5
Transmission Shift Logic 3 / 3
Smoothness 4 / 5
Sport/Manual Mode 3 / 3
Steering Accuracy 3 / 3
Response 3 / 3
Weight & Feel 2 / 3
Braking Distance 2.5 / 3
Feel 2.5 / 3
Handling Chassis Balance 2 / 3
Grip 2.5 / 3
Load Reaction 2.5 / 3
Total   42 / 50

VW Arteon R-Line: Ride Comfort - 39/50, DCC dynamism helps

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 05

Modes and what they do aside, this is a car that's characterisitically calm and composed. It lacks the relative rear-wheel drive drama and fun-to-drive charm of a 3-er, but conversely you get a heavy surefootedness with the Arteon.

Also read: Personalize your drive with Volkswagen’s Dynamic Chassis Control

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 06

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 07

But what it may lack in driving involvement, it makes up for it with flexibility. The electronically-adjustable dampers offer something for a wide gamut of situations, be it in Comfort, Normal, or in Sport mode.

Whatever your choice, the Arteon offers good cornering ability, thanks to its progressive steering and electronic limited-slip differential (XDS).

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 08

VW Arteon R-Line - Cabin noise
0 km/h (A/C off) 41 dB
0 km/h (A/C on) 46 dB
60 km/h (A/C on) 58 dB
90 km/h (A/C on) 62 dB
110 km/h (A/C on) 67 dB

Cabin noise insulation is better than the C200, and level-pegging with the BMW 320i.

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 09

Comfort gives an exceptionally smooth ride, while Normal tighten things up a bit at the expense of some suppleness. Sport mode is the most glaring improvement over the pre-facelift, as it feels significantly less busy than before.

Irrespective of modes though, we'll say this - it rides better than the BMW 320i.

VW Arteon R-Line - Ride Comfort Breakdown
Sound Proofing 8 / 10
Suspension 8 / 10
Passenger Comfort 8 / 10
Seat Support 4 / 5
Ergonomics 3 / 5
Engine Refinement 8 / 10
Total points 39 / 50 pts

VW Arteon R-Line: Quality and Features – 43/50, Lots of goodies

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 10

This is car that looks best in showy colours, as this Lapiz Blue example shows. If you'd like something more subdued, there's Oryx White, Deep Black, Pyrite Silver, and Manganese Grey.

It's a shame that the pre-facelift's striking Turmeric Yellow has been cut from the colour line-up

VW Arteon R-Line  - Panel Gaps (mm)
Location Driver Side Passenger Side Difference
Bonnet 4 4.5 0
Front Fender 3 3 0
Front to Rear Door 4 4 0
Rear Door to quarter panel 3 3.5 0.5
Tailgate 3.5 3.5 0

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 11

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 12

Besides the colour, highlights that this facelift model brings include LED strips on the grille, retouched front and rear bumpers, as well as dual-tone 19-inch 'Montevideo' wheels.

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 13

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 14

VW Arteon R-Line - Paint Thickness (µm)
Location Driver Side Passenger Side
Front Bonnet 130
Front Fender 112 118
Front Door 116 112
Rear Door 119 123
Rear Quarter Panel 125 124
Tailgate 136
Roof 129
Average paint thickness: 122 µm ±8

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 15

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 16

Despite all-round frameless windows, sound insulation is good
VW Arteon R-Line - Exterior Material Use
Bonnet Soundproofing Material Thick
Struts Gas
Front Fenders Soundproofing Material Yes
Doors Front Windows Single-glaze
Rear Windows Single-glaze
Construction One-piece
Boot Opening Powered

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 17

The interior sees several changes that now further differentiates its from its platform sibling, the VW Passat. Key changes includes stitching on the dashboard and multi-piece air-cond vents instead of a single strip.

VW Arteon R-Line - Cabin Material Use
Seat Seat Cover Leather
Armrest Armrest Cover Leather
Dashboard Upper Section Soft Plastic
  Lower Section Hard Plastic
Front Doors Upper Section Soft Plastic
  Middle Section Leather
  Lower Section Hard Plastic

Nifty features in the interior include 14-way, electronically-adjustable 'Nappa Carbon' leather front seats (with memory feature for the driver's seat), 3-zone automatic climate control, and 30-colour ambient lighting.

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 18

The brand's 'Digital Cockpit' system reads out vitals through a fully-digital instrument cluster. Like most recent VWs, we have no qualms about it here: it's easily configurable to show just what you need, and it's bright and vivid enough to be seen in any time of day.

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 19

The 9.2-inch Discover Pro touchscreen infotainment system

Gone too is the old Dynaudio setup as this facelifted Arteon R-Line now has a 700 Watt, 12-speaker Harman Kardon system. Sound signature is still classic VW, which puts it a class above the BMW 320i's system.

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 20

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 21

A wireless charger would've been great here

Connectivity-wise, the Arteon offers a pair of 12V sockets, two USB-C ports, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. While convenient and smooth, the wireless app connectivity does sap your phone's battery.

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 22

Credit where it's due, at least this time the Arteon gains Side Assist and a rather jumpy Lane Assist system. But that's really not enough, as the lack of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) means we have to dock some points off of it.

VW Arteon R-Line - Quality & Feature Breakdown
Exterior Paint Finish 4 / 4
Panel Gaps 4 / 4
Assembly Quality 2 / 2
Interior Build Quality 4 / 5
Materials Used 4 / 5
Features Safety 9 / 10
ADAS 2 / 5
Luxury 4 / 5
Convenience 5 / 5
Infotainment 5 / 5
Total   40 / 50 pts

In other aspects of safety the Arteon comes with 7 airbags, driver alert system, hill hold control, and a tyre pressure monitoring system. 

VW Arteon R-Line: Interior space – 36/50, Comfortable cruiser

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 23

As for seating comfort, the new R-Line sports bucket-style seats not only look great, they also offer fantastic support. It's 14-way adjustable too, which means there's more than enough adjustment flexibility for all body types to sit comfortably.

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 24

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 25

The cushions (on all seats) are firm, which some may need time getting used to. The rear seats are a comfortable place to be in as well, with decent thigh support. Rear air-cond vents are a boon.

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 26

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 27

There's plenty of legroom at the back (four tennis balls) worth, but the price of style means headroom is almost non-existent.

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 28

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 29

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 30

Spaces for stuff are plenty. There's a little coin box underneath the headlight controls, a reasonably-sized glovebox, and rather big door pockets. It's nice that they're felt-lined, which bumps up the 'premium feeling' in the cabin.

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 31

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 32

EasyOpen and EasyClose are present, so one needs to just kick in order to open or close the tailgate, which opens up to 563 litres of boot space with the rear seats up. Under the boot floor sits a full-size spare tyre and the subwoofer.

VW Arteon R Line - Interior Space Breakdown
Front Row 8 / 10
Middle/Back Row 9 / 10
Boot Space 4 / 5
Practicality 4 / 5
Storage Space 4 / 5
Visibility 4 / 5
Storage Flexibility 3 / 5
Total 36 / 50 pts

VW Arteon R-Line: Fuel consumption – 15/20, Reasonable for its performance

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 33

Between 125.7 km of 60% highway and 40% urban driving, the Arteon used up 11.2 litres of fuel from full. Calculated fuel consumption figure is 8.9-litre/100 km (11.2 km/litre), which is bang-on accurate what the in-car calculator read.

Despite being decent for an all-wheel drive, 280 PS car, these are (expectedly) not stellar figures. The BMW 320i is better, with 8.0-litre/100 km (12.5 km/litre).

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 34

Audi A5 Sportback - Fuel Consumption Test Breakdown
Fuel Consumption 10 / 15
Eco Mode 2 / 2
Indicator Accuracy 3 / 3
Total points 15 / 20 pts

VW Arteon R-Line: Purchase and cost – 23/30, Good value, pricey maintenance

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 35

Starting from RM 248,692 (on-the-road, 50% SST-exempt price valid until 31-Dec 2021) in Malaysia, it's the cheapest among the BMW 320i (RM 252,800) and the Mercedes-Benz C300 AMG Line (RM 291,800).

Note that the C200 has been completely sold out as the W206-generation makes its way here. Even when that happens, it seems that the Arteon will keep its 'cheapest of the trio' tag intact.

Also read: W206 Mercedes C200 to hit RM 300k price tag in Malaysia

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 36

Servicing-wise, VW Arteon does command quite a high fee, but at least there's three years free maintenance. Here's how much it costs to maintain one over a five-year period:

VW Arteon R-Line Maintenance Cost (estimated)
Interval Cost (RM)
12 mths / 15k km 734.50
24 mths / 30k km 1,001.66
36 mths / 45k km 999.17
48 mths / 60k km 2,656.90
60 mths / 75k km 785.38
Total (excl. first three years) RM 3,442.28

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 37

VW Arteon R-Line - Purchase & Cost
Purchase Car Price 13 / 15
Warranty 4 / 5
Cost Maintenance 3 / 5
Fuel Cost 3 / 5
Total   23 / 30 pts

VW Arteon R-Line: Conclusion – 198/250 pts overall

Ratings: 2021 VW Arteon R-Line facelift in Malaysia - Cheapest among rivals, but better than them 38

Writing this reminds us of the Volvo XC60 - a car that does what it sets out to do so well, with nary a blemish (okay, one glaring one for the Arteon) in all aspects.

The blemish in question is the lack of AEB, and it's fair that some might make of it as a deal breaker. For the most part though, everything else you get in the Volkswagen Arteon R Line - big power, comfortable ride, yet no compromises to space and practicality - says you get plenty of car for the Ringgit, which is why this is our highest-scoring car so far.

Full Ratings List: https://www.wapcar.my/car-ranking

Also read: Review: 2021 Volkswagen Arteon R-Line facelift – Forget the compact execs

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Sanjay

Writer

With humble beginnings collecting diecast models and spending hours virtually tuning dream cars on the computer, his love of cars has delightfully transformed into a career. Sanjay enjoys how the same passion for cars transcends boundaries and brings people together.

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