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2019 Volkswagen Arteon SEL. Photo courtesy of VW

This week I'm driving the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon, a pretty car with a funny name.

Why it matters: VW is trying to revive its brand in the U.S. after its devastating diesel-emissions scandal. Having car names that customers can latch onto certainly helps.

  • The question that VW faces — as do all automakers — is whether there's still a market for 4-door passenger sedans.
  • Volkswagen has a history of assigning strange names to its vehicles — Touareg? Tiguan? EOS? At least they got it right with Atlas, the moniker for their big all-American SUV.

Arteon certainly is a looker, especially in the deep Atlantic Blue paint job on my test model.

  • Based on VW's new modular MQB architecture, it has an aggressive stance, which is low and wide, but with a sleek coupe-like profile that gives it an upscale presence.

Details: The base SE model I drove came with the standard 268 hp 2.0-liter turbo engine paired to an 8-speed transmission.

  • The 4Motion all-wheel-drive system cuts the fuel economy to an average 23 mpg (vs. 25 mpg for front-wheel drive) and raises the sticker price to $37,645.
  • Basic driver-assistance features such as automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring are standard. But more advanced safety tech — adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and automatic high-beam headlamps — are only available on higher trim levels.

The bottom line: Styling alone doesn't cut it, though. As with previous VW flagship sedans — the Phaeton and CC — the Arteon attempts to push into premium territory, but some of its interior materials and technology don't live up to that ambition.

Go deeper: See what else Joann has been driving

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

5 times as many police officers have died from COVID as from guns since pandemic began

Photo: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

COVID-19 is the leading cause of death for police officers even though members of law enforcement were among the first to be eligible to receive the vaccine, CNN reports, citing data from the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Why it matters: Nearly 476 police officers have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, compared to the 93 deaths as a result of gunfire in the same time period, according to ODMP and CNN.

Virginia energy giant quietly boosts McAuliffe

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks during a campaign rally on Oct. 15 in Henrico, Virginia. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe has sworn off money from the Richmond company Dominion Energy. But the utility has found more subtle ways to back McAuliffe's gubernatorial bid, records show.

Driving the news: Dominion's political action committee has donated $200,000 to a murky political group called Accountability Virginia PAC, a group with ties to prominent Democrats that's been running ads attacking Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin from the right.

5 hours ago - Technology

Race and technology in America

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The technology industry is famously determined to change the world — but its efforts to diversify its workforce and remove bias from its products haven't changed nearly enough.