I have to admit I have a soft spot for the outgoing VW CC (née Passat CC) – it was a handsome car, especially once the facelift sharpened up its front design and rid of the weird oval graphics in the rear lights, and it seemed like a reasonable step up from the more humdrum Passat (in fact, the nickname the press gave it before it was launched, “Passat Plus”, captured its market placement pretty perfectly). What’s more, it sold pretty well, reaching around 30,000 units in its best years both in Europe and in the US. But now VW has grander ambitions for its indirect replacement, the Arteon, and wants the model to go after Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4-series Gran Coupe. To enable this the carmaker has allowed the Arteon to grow in size, and given it sharper styling which it hopes will imbue the model with a sense of classy sportiness. So far so good, it’s just a pit that in the process the Arteon ended up looking quite a bit like another decidedly non-premium model…
The Chevrolet Malibu. Of course, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as I quite like the latest Malibu, and think it is a huge improvement over the previous dour model. However, there is no avoiding just how similar the window line of the Arteon and the Malibu, right down to the small kink in the upper line of the small window behind the rear doors, and the subtle thickening of the chromed strip right behind it. Again I’ll say that both cars are rather attractive, especially from the back (I have separate issues with how both cars look from the front), but I think between the glasshouse and the similar character line going forward from the rear lights I think the overall shape of the Arteon is probably a bit too close to the Malibu given VW’s ambitions for the model.
Oh, and on a side-note, I find it interesting how the Arteon has a hatch at the back, while despite its fastback looks the Malibu is still a strictly 4-door sedan. Just underlines how the extra cost of engineering a rear hatch is worthwhile for the Arteon, which is meant primarily for Europe, but not at all for the Malibu, which is sold almost exclusively in the hatch-averse US market.
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