Volkswagen Arteon review
The VW Arteon is a dramatically styled hatch with a luxury feel that takes on premium executive rivals
For the style-conscious executive with big miles to cover, there’s not much to criticise about the Volkswagen Arteon. It has all the style, technology and luxury required to take on premium-badged rivals like the Audi A5 Sportback or BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, coupled with low running costs and reasonable company car tax bills.
OK, so it doesn’t provide quite as many thrills behind the wheel as a BMW, and the VW badge doesn’t have the cachet of some rivals, but the high-end cabin is beautifully built and covered in premium materials. Like all its style-led coupe-inspired rivals, the Arteon suffers from a lack of headroom in the back, but the refined ride and rakish styling still make it a winning choice.
About the Volkswagen Arteon
The flagship model of the VW passenger car range is the Volkswagen Arteon. It's the latest in a line of large executive models built by the German firm and follows on from the CC and the even more opulent Phaeton as a plush saloon car for the masses. Volkswagen has already revealed the ID Aero electric saloon that is likely to replace the Arteon in the UK around 2024.
Like the CC, the Arteon relies on the Passat family car for its running gear, but it gets sporty, eye-catching bodywork that gives it a look in line with the latest breed of coupe hatchbacks, such as the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. These are the Arteon's main rivals, although it could also be considered an opponent to other compact executive saloons such as the Jaguar XE, Alfa Romeo Giulia and Mercedes C-Class.
As the Arteon shares its running gear with the Passat, all cars come with either front-wheel drive or 4MOTION four-wheel drive. There are six-speed manual models available, but the vast majority of Arteons come with VW's fast-shifting seven-speed DSG twin-clutch auto gearbox. This emphasises the car's pretensions as an upmarket cruiser.
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A minor facelift in 2020 saw the introduction of some exterior styling tweaks and extra on-board tech, while a Arteon Shooting Brake estate was included in the model lineup.
The core TSI turbo petrol engines comprise a 148bhp 1.5-litre unit with a six-speed manual transmission and a 187bhp 2.0-litre powerplant mated to seven-speed automatic DSG gearbox. The 215bhp 1.4-litre Arteon e-Hybrid plug-in hybrid powertrain is no longer offered in the UK. Sitting at the top of the range is the R performance model with 4Motion four-wheel drive and a 316bhp version of the 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine. VW's ubiquitous 2.0 TDI diesel comes in 148bhp and 197bhp forms,with all variants offered as seven-speed automatics.
Reflecting the Arteon's upmarket pretensions, there are just two mainstream trim levels - Elegance and R-Line - and you won't find S, SE or even SEL models making up the numbers. Elegance trim is plush, with fully adaptive LED headlights, LED interior lighting, heated leather seats with electric adjustment for the driver's seat, an 8-inch sat-nav infotainment system, adaptive cruise control for DSG-equipped cars and VW's 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro set-up.
On top of that, the R-Line gets a sportier look, with 19-inch wheels and additional exterior and interior trim. The entry-level 1.5-litre petrol engine is only available in R Line trim and starts from almost £40,000 with the Elegance trim starting from £41,000 with the 2.0-litre petrol engine. The R performance model is approaching £56,000 and as with the rest of the range, you pay £925 more if you want the Shooting Brake body style.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe VW Arteon is a dramatically styled hatch with a luxury feel that takes on premium executive rivals
- 2Engines, performance and driveRefined, comfortable and a great all-rounder, but don’t expect the Arteon to provide much in the way of driving thrills
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsGood value prices and efficient engines mean the Arteon shouldn’t provide any running cost shocks
- 4Interior, design and technologyContemporary, premium design is reflected in the Arteon’s extensive package of advanced driving technologies
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceIt’s a highly refined cruiser with plenty of luggage space, but the Arteon’s roof spells trouble for tall rear seat passengers
- 6Reliability and SafetyTerrific crash test results and a lots of technology make the Arteon look like a very safe bet