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  • Quick Drive: 2018 Mazda6 Signature

    • The turbo makes the difference

    The Mazda6 is a prime example of how making various improvements throughout the lifecycle can make a vehicle. Since the first model I drove back in 2014, Mazda has been messing around with various aspects such as the interior and NVH levels. Last year saw Mazda make some key changes to 6 with the big news being the introduction of a turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder from the CX-9 crossover. This was to address one of the major shortcomings of the sedan, lackluster performance when it comes to making a pass or merging onto a freeway. There are some other minor changes to go with the updated engine that help make the Mazda6 feel a bit more rounded.

    • The turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder produces 227 horsepower (250 on premium fuel) and 310 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic to the front wheels. 
    • I praised this engine in the CX-9 I drove back in the summer with a linear flow of power and no hint of turbo lag. Those carry over to the 6, along with the feeling of confidence that you’ll be able to pass or merge onto a freeway without any issue. It was quite startling how quick the 6 accelerated from 45 to 70 on a freeway on-ramp, only taking a few seconds. The six-speed automatic works seamlessly with the turbo engine, providing snappy up and downshifts.
    • One other trait of the turbo engine I was impressed with was NVH levels. There was barely any engine noise or the whoosh of the turbo when accelerating.
    • Mazda hasn’t messed with the 6’s chassis with the addition of the turbo engine. It still has the planted feeling and minimal body roll that imparts a lot of confidence to a driver. Steering is quick and provides the right balance of weight and feel.
    • One surprise is how the 2018 model rides slightly better than the 2017 model as bumps are better isolated. This might be 
    • Exterior enhancements are small with a new grille design, LED headlights, and the 19-inch wheels. But they do a surprising job of keeping of the 6’s exterior looking fresh.
    • The enhancements for the interior really help Mazda’s ambition to become more premium. The dash has been slightly restyled and now comes with stitched upholstery and natural wood trim. The climate control system has been redesigned that makes it slightly easier to use.
    • Mazda has started rolling out Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility on the 6 for 2018 via an update. My test car had had the update, but I was unable to try it out as I could not pick the option in the system. I’m not sure of the issue, but I hope to try it once again in a future Mazda product.
    • The turbo engine is only available on the Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve, and Signature. My test 6 was the top-line Signature that carries a base price of $34,750. With destination and some options, the as-tested price came to $36,140. If I was to buy one, I would drop down to the Grand Touring Reserve which begins at $31,750. I would lose out on the 360-degree camera system, Nappa leather upholstery, and digital gauge cluster. But I would keep a number of desirable features such as the ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, heads-up display, and power front seats.
    • Every Mazda6 review has seen me come to the same conclusion; the sedan is so close to being considered one of the best, but it is missing a certain thing. But this conclusion is different. Mazda has been able to fix the various issues I have complained about over the past few years and now have a very compelling midsize sedan. It's a shame that the 6 along with other midsize sedans are being overshadowed by the likes of crossovers. But for those who still have their heart set on a sedan, then I have no issue in recommending the 6 as an option worthy of consideration.

    Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the 6, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    2018 Mazda6 Signature Gallery

    Year: 2018
    Make: Mazda
    Model: 6
    Trim: Signature
    Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium)
    Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/31/26
    Curb Weight: 3,560 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Hofu, Japan
    Base Price: $34,750
    As Tested Price: $36,140 (Includes $890.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Machine Gray Paint - $300.00
    Scuff Plates - $125.00
    Cargo Mat - $75.00

    Edited by William Maley




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    @William Maley How is the interior space for big people? I grew up with my parents having a 626, my moms car and later my oldest sister got a Mazda 6 in 2007 which if I was in the front no one could sit behind me. 

    So how is the interior space and rear headroom with that coupe sedan design?

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    2 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    @William Maley How is the interior space for big people? I grew up with my parents having a 626, my moms car and later my oldest sister got a Mazda 6 in 2007 which if I was in the front no one could sit behind me. 

    So how is the interior space and rear headroom with that coupe sedan design?

    @dfelt I happen to be 5'8" or 5'9" and I fit ok behind the front seat with a decent amount of head and legroom. Legroom will become tight if a tall person is up front.

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    16 minutes ago, William Maley said:

    @dfelt I happen to be 5'8" or 5'9" and I fit ok behind the front seat with a decent amount of head and legroom. Legroom will become tight if a tall person is up front.

    Awesome, much appreciated, thank you.

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    If Chevrolet put the 2.0 into a lower level of Malibu it would be an obvious choice over this...but given the extra power...I think I would take the Mazda over the Malibu.

    Nice looking car and I wish them well with it.

    Chris

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    DFelt how is this a relevant question for gods sakes you can’t fit yourself either headroom or legroom wise behind the driver seat adjusted for yourself in any midsize sedan currently available for sale.

     

    😛

     

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    2 minutes ago, Suaviloquent said:

    DFelt how is this a relevant question for gods sakes you can’t fit yourself either headroom or legroom wise behind the driver seat adjusted for yourself in any midsize sedan currently available for sale.

     

    😛

     

    ALWAYS RELEVANT!!!

    The biggest missed place in ALL AUTO REVIEWS is to clearly talk about how people sitting in the front will affect those sitting in the back. There is NEVER a perfect front seat sitting and back seat sitting that fits a perfect 4 or 5 adult placement. This is the LIE that the auto industry has not owned up to. You and your coworkers decide to go out to lunch and your the one who offered to drive. You and one coworker are US average size of 5'8" another is 5'6" tall but very large size and the other is 6'2" tall and you drive a Camry. Who sits where and why. 

    IMHO, ALL Auto Reviews should cover sizing and how it fits for the AVERAGE American but also if you have Large size people or tall people or even very short. 

    Just like many other areas in life that people either try to fit everyone into or ignor it totally, the interior space of sizing for a single person is a lie when you will always have a variety of sized people. They should clearly state a 4 adult person space seating in every car or SUV on how people will fit. Fine if 5'8" tall is the standard they want, but then clearly state how much head room, hip room, leg room, etc. is left or if there is not enough.

    We have discussed many times on how tight the compact to mid size 4 door sedan market is and how even when multiple OEMs state the same or near same seat size, one fits more comfy than another.

    The reviews are heavily biased on just the driver and not taking into account passengers.

    I could go on but I hope you get my point.

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    Back seats are usually for children or pets.     How many car buyers actually care if large adults fit in the back seat of a car?  It seems like an edge case, not a common use case. The driver space is the most important measurement.    However, I could see back seat space for adult passengers being a concern if you are a taxi, Uber or Lyft driver. 

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    9 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Back seats are usually for children or pets.     How many car buyers actually care if large adults fit in the back seat of a car?  It seems like an edge case, not a common use case. The driver space is the most important measurement.    However, I could see back seat space for adult passengers being a concern if you are a taxi, Uber or Lyft driver. 

    Exactly.  These cars are family cars and usually back seat reserved for kids or pets.  Especially, in mid size sedan category.   You want to fit 5 full size adults in a car, you need to buy a full size sedan or CUV.

    My dad has 2016 Mazda 6 and one time I was driving  it with three 8 to 11 year old kids in the back, and they fit perfectly fine there,  

    Edited by ykX
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    2 hours ago, ykX said:

    Exactly.  These cars are family cars and usually back seat reserved for kids or pets.  Especially, in mid size sedan category.   You want to fit 5 full size adults in a car, you need to buy a full size sedan or CUV.

    My dad has 2016 Mazda 6 and one time I was driving  it with three 8 to 11 year old kids in the back, and they fit perfectly fine there,  

    That was the beauty of the Chrysler cab forward cars like the Intrepid and Concorde. They had loads of interior space in the back. We loved the one that we owned. 

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    5 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Back seats are usually for children or pets.     How many car buyers actually care if large adults fit in the back seat of a car?  It seems like an edge case, not a common use case. The driver space is the most important measurement.    However, I could see back seat space for adult passengers being a concern if you are a taxi, Uber or Lyft driver. 

    Sorry Cubical, I have to down vote this. Even when I was 12 I was already 6' tall and my sisters were almost as tall as I even being older. Many people do not want a minivan  or full size van to carry adults. 

    Adult carrying is VERY IMPORTANT and I think many are to focused just on themselves the driver when you also need to think about others you carry. This is not a corner case but a much more common use case. I see it daily coworkers cramming into tiny cars, corpool in cars or SUVs and everyone is cramped it looks like. More common than many realize.

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    2 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    That was the beauty of the Chrysler cab forward cars like the Intrepid and Concorde. They had loads of interior space in the back. We loved the one that we owned. 

    Those weren't mid-size thought the Intrepid could sell as low as a mid-size in poverty spec.  When those were out, the mid-size at Chrysler/Dodge would have been the Cirrus/Sebring and Stratus/Avenger respectively.   That would have been the equivalent of the Malibu or Contour.

    The LH cars overlapped with a bit of Taurus/Sable and Crown Vic, and Lumina/Impala/Grand Prix/Bonneville/Regal/LeSabre/Park Ave/Cutlass Supreme/Intrigue/88/98 

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    8 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Sorry Cubical, I have to down vote this. Even when I was 12 I was already 6' tall and my sisters were almost as tall as I even being older. Many people do not want a minivan  or full size van to carry adults. 

    Adult carrying is VERY IMPORTANT and I think many are to focused just on themselves the driver when you also need to think about others you carry. This is not a corner case but a much more common use case. I see it daily coworkers cramming into tiny cars, corpool in cars or SUVs and everyone is cramped it looks like. More common than many realize.

    I'm not an Uber driver and would never carpool, so I really don't care.  I've driven before w/ coworkers going to lunch, etc.  Never had anyone complain about backseat space in my Jeeps.    I do recall cramming a couple tall coworkers in the back of my Mustang years ago, was a bit of chore for them getting in and out of the back.  Likewise when I rode in the back of a '15 Mustang and a '76 Porsche 911--tight.  But for a 10 minute ride to lunch, no big deal.

    For people w/ children, that's what minivans and SUVs are for...

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    15 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Those weren't mid-size thought the Intrepid could sell as low as a mid-size in poverty spec.  When those were out, the mid-size at Chrysler/Dodge would have been the Cirrus/Sebring and Stratus/Avenger respectively.   That would have been the equivalent of the Malibu or Contour.

    The LH cars overlapped with a bit of Taurus/Sable and Crown Vic, and Lumina/Impala/Grand Prix/Bonneville/Regal/LeSabre/Park Ave/Cutlass Supreme/Intrigue/88/98 

    You are very correct in that...but they were not really full sized either.

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    2 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    You are very correct in that...but they were not really full sized either.

    They were as big as the FWD LeSabres, etc of the time IIRC..pretty big.  I liked them, had several '99-04 Intrepid rentals, a couple 300Ms, a Concorde and an LHS as rentals back in the day..really liked the design inside and out, and they drove quite nicely.. 

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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    1 minute ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    They were as big as the FWD LeSabres, etc of the time IIRC..

    Really...hmmmm.....Never really thought of the Intrepid/Concorde as that much larger than a Mazda 6.

    Passat also has decent interior room for a lot terribly large car.

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    2 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    Really...hmmmm.....Never really thought of the Intrepid/Concorde as that much larger than a Mazda 6. 

    Actually longer than the Impala or LeSabre....the LHS was DTS sized.  The 300M was a bit shorter w/ it's cropped rear. 

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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    6 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    You are very correct in that...but they were not really full sized either.

    Well I disagree on that... particularly the last LHS/Concord.... that thing was a titanic and that's coming from a guy who loves big cars. 

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    2 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Well I disagree on that... particularly the last LHS/Concord.... that thing was a titanic and that's coming from a guy who loves big cars. 

    Hmmm....Okay. The last of the Interbreeds and Concordes fell to rust and transmission failure seemingly years ago here in Central Ohio.  My memory (like much of the rest of my so called thinking...) is probably flawed.

    Thankfully, youngest kid goes away to college next year...so Beetle can be trade in fodder for a BRZ or Miata.

    Back into a fun car....could not convince the wife we needed a V8 Camaro.

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    1 minute ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    Hmmm....Okay. The last of the Interbreeds and Concordes fell to rust and transmission failure seemingly years ago here in Central Ohio.  My memory (like much of the rest of my so called thinking...) is probably flawed.

    Thankfully, youngest kid goes away to college next year...so Beetle can be trade in fodder for a BRZ or Miata.

    Back into a fun car....could not convince the wife we needed a V8 Camaro.

    I just had a V6 Camaro Convertible and that thing was way more fun than it should have been in that config.  Felt light-weight, fun to toss around, and the V6 had plenty of scoot without being excessive. 

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    Just now, Drew Dowdell said:

    I just had a V6 Camaro Convertible and that thing was way more fun than it should have been in that config.  Felt light-weight, fun to toss around, and the V6 had plenty of scoot without being excessive. 

    I am working on that with the wife. I actually really like the 6th gen Camaro, Also  GM has a fantastic Blue BTW. Interior is an upgrade over 5th gen also.

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    38 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Sorry Cubical, I have to down vote this. Even when I was 12 I was already 6' tall and my sisters were almost as tall as I even being older. Many people do not want a minivan  or full size van to carry adults. 

    Adult carrying is VERY IMPORTANT and I think many are to focused just on themselves the driver when you also need to think about others you carry. This is not a corner case but a much more common use case. I see it daily coworkers cramming into tiny cars, corpool in cars or SUVs and everyone is cramped it looks like. More common than many realize.

    Sorry, you are not a typical case. According to the latest statistical data average US male is 5 feet 9 inches tall and female is 5 feet 4 inches.  This car can perfectly accommodate two average males according to dimensions and @William Maley .

    Edit: two average adults in the back with four average adults total.

    Edited by ykX
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    1 minute ago, ykX said:

    Sorry, you are not a typical case. According to the latest statistical data average US male is 5 feet 9 inches tall and female is 5 feet 4 inches.  This car can perfectly accommodate two average males according to dimensions and @William Maley .

    As a sumo wrestler (or at least Sumo/Shrek sized) you would think he would support Japanese products...

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    1 minute ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    ^ This....

    @dfelt is doomed to a life of Suburbans and Escalades. 

    Yes, like NBA and NFL players..doomed to having to buy full size SUVs to haul around their posse of hangers-on...

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      Engine: 3.5L Twin-Turbo 24-Valve DOHC V6
      Driveline: 10-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 416 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 442 @1600 - 4800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 
      Curb Weight: 5,027 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $84,420
      As Tested Price: $88,605 (Includes $1,025 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Mark Levinson Audio System with 23 Speakers - $1,940.00
      24-Inch Heads-Up Display - $1,220.00
    • By Drew Dowdell
      The Volkswagen Arteon is the vehicle that effectively replaces the Volkswagen CC in VW’s lineup, however, it comes at the segment with a noticeably different approach. The Arteon is much more interesting looking than the old CC and comes as a hatchback rather than a sedan.
      I would hesitate to use the word “bold” about the Arteon’s looks, as feels rather conservative to me, but it still has a gravitas that lets passers-by know that this is not an ordinary Volkswagen. The front end has a lot of detailing with multiple creases in the hood and a deep, wide grille. Thick wheel arches give the car a muscular look. Around back, the hatch area fits between a set of thick thighs and a set of tail lights that almost look Benz-like. Down below there is a chrome strip that runs around the entire perimeter of the car.
       
      As handsome as the exterior is, the interior is a bit of a letdown. In the SEL version I drove, the interior materials were not up to snuff for a car with a $42,795 sticker price and the design is fairly sterile. There is a wide strip that traverses the dash and mimics the look of the grille and below that, another wood (plood?) strip runs parallel. The center stack is neatly organized with all knobs and buttons within easy reach.  If you are a bit of a neat freak like me about your car, keep a microfiber duster in the glovebox to wipe down the piano black surfaces.  The seats are flat and firm but without much lateral support. As a hatchback, rear passengers get cut out of a bit of headroom, but there is plenty of legroom back there for them to stretch out.  Cargo room for this size of a car can only be described as cavernous. The hatch lifts up high and out of the way giving you easy access to anything you can rear. Fold the rear seats down and you may even say “Crossover, what?”, there is 55 cubic feet of cargo room back there.
      The Arteon comes with an 8-inch touch screen display that includes Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Android Auto is easy to set up and I stayed in that mode during my entire drive.
      Driving the Arteon is probably the best part about it. My tester came equipped with 4motion, Volkswagen’s all-wheel-drive system. It works well and the car feels glued to the road during the twisties.  No matter which level of Arteon you buy, you have a single choice of engine. Standard is a 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 268 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft of torque connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission. It is this engine that delayed the Arteon’s entry into the U.S. due to a backlog of certification testing. This setup is merely adequate. It neither thrills you nor lets you down.  I do wish a V6 were available, but small-displacement turbo-4s are where the market is going these days.  Unfortunately, even with the small displacement 4-cylinder, you still get V6-like fuel economy.  The Arteon is rated for 20 city / 27 highway / 23 combined. For reference, that’s about the same as an AWD Buick Lacrosse with a big V6 and 310 horsepower, in fact, the Buick does a little better on the highway and so do most other V6 sedans. In normal mode the transmission is a bit lazy, upshifting early and reluctant to downshift. In sport mode, it wakes up a little but there is still a lag when downshifting.
      The ride and drive of the Arteon is definitely dialed towards comfort over sport. It comes equipped with a DCC adaptive ride system, but I notice almost no difference between the Sport and Comfort modes. Cruising along in the Arteon is serene with very little noise from the outside entering the cabin. It is certainly a car that can get you into trouble with the leasing company for mileage.
      Is the Arteon a car I can recommend?  Yes and no.  If you’re a die-hard VW fan, then the Arteon is an easy choice to make. Otherwise, there are more powerful and more upscale options out there for the price, but you wouldn’t be wrong to choose this one.
      Year: 2019
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Arteon
      Trim: SEL w/4Motion
      Engine: 2.0L DOHC Turbocharged Direct Injected 4-cylinder
      Driveline: 8-Speed automatic with all-wheel-drive
      Horsepower: 268
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 0 - 3,600
      Curb Weight: 3,655 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Emden, Germany
      Base Price: $35,845
      As Tested Price: $42,790 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

      View full article
    • By Drew Dowdell
      The Volkswagen Arteon is the vehicle that effectively replaces the Volkswagen CC in VW’s lineup, however, it comes at the segment with a noticeably different approach. The Arteon is much more interesting looking than the old CC and comes as a hatchback rather than a sedan.
      I would hesitate to use the word “bold” about the Arteon’s looks, as feels rather conservative to me, but it still has a gravitas that lets passers-by know that this is not an ordinary Volkswagen. The front end has a lot of detailing with multiple creases in the hood and a deep, wide grille. Thick wheel arches give the car a muscular look. Around back, the hatch area fits between a set of thick thighs and a set of tail lights that almost look Benz-like. Down below there is a chrome strip that runs around the entire perimeter of the car.
       
      As handsome as the exterior is, the interior is a bit of a letdown. In the SEL version I drove, the interior materials were not up to snuff for a car with a $42,795 sticker price and the design is fairly sterile. There is a wide strip that traverses the dash and mimics the look of the grille and below that, another wood (plood?) strip runs parallel. The center stack is neatly organized with all knobs and buttons within easy reach.  If you are a bit of a neat freak like me about your car, keep a microfiber duster in the glovebox to wipe down the piano black surfaces.  The seats are flat and firm but without much lateral support. As a hatchback, rear passengers get cut out of a bit of headroom, but there is plenty of legroom back there for them to stretch out.  Cargo room for this size of a car can only be described as cavernous. The hatch lifts up high and out of the way giving you easy access to anything you can rear. Fold the rear seats down and you may even say “Crossover, what?”, there is 55 cubic feet of cargo room back there.
      The Arteon comes with an 8-inch touch screen display that includes Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Android Auto is easy to set up and I stayed in that mode during my entire drive.
      Driving the Arteon is probably the best part about it. My tester came equipped with 4motion, Volkswagen’s all-wheel-drive system. It works well and the car feels glued to the road during the twisties.  No matter which level of Arteon you buy, you have a single choice of engine. Standard is a 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 268 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft of torque connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission. It is this engine that delayed the Arteon’s entry into the U.S. due to a backlog of certification testing. This setup is merely adequate. It neither thrills you nor lets you down.  I do wish a V6 were available, but small-displacement turbo-4s are where the market is going these days.  Unfortunately, even with the small displacement 4-cylinder, you still get V6-like fuel economy.  The Arteon is rated for 20 city / 27 highway / 23 combined. For reference, that’s about the same as an AWD Buick Lacrosse with a big V6 and 310 horsepower, in fact, the Buick does a little better on the highway and so do most other V6 sedans. In normal mode the transmission is a bit lazy, upshifting early and reluctant to downshift. In sport mode, it wakes up a little but there is still a lag when downshifting.
      The ride and drive of the Arteon is definitely dialed towards comfort over sport. It comes equipped with a DCC adaptive ride system, but I notice almost no difference between the Sport and Comfort modes. Cruising along in the Arteon is serene with very little noise from the outside entering the cabin. It is certainly a car that can get you into trouble with the leasing company for mileage.
      Is the Arteon a car I can recommend?  Yes and no.  If you’re a die-hard VW fan, then the Arteon is an easy choice to make. Otherwise, there are more powerful and more upscale options out there for the price, but you wouldn’t be wrong to choose this one.
      Year: 2019
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Arteon
      Trim: SEL w/4Motion
      Engine: 2.0L DOHC Turbocharged Direct Injected 4-cylinder
      Driveline: 8-Speed automatic with all-wheel-drive
      Horsepower: 268
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 0 - 3,600
      Curb Weight: 3,655 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Emden, Germany
      Base Price: $35,845
      As Tested Price: $42,790 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
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