We drive the rakish new Volkswagen Arteon – a stunner billed as an “avant garde sport turismo”…
What is it?
Sitting above the Passat in the VW range, the spacious Arteon boasts a dramatic fastback design.
You could say its rivals include everything from the Skoda Superb and Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport to the Kia Stinger, Audi S5 Sportback and BMW Gran Coupe.
Priced from £31,005 to £39,995, it’s available in two well-equipped trim levels – Elegance, and the sportier R-Line.
Designed to carry five people in style and comfort, it has a generous luggage capacity of 563 litres under its enormous hatch, or an even more impressive 1,557 litres with the back seats folded down.
Needless to say, the Arteon is a solid piece of kit and packed with driver assistance tech including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), so it was awarded a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash safety tests.
If big, stylish saloons are your thing, then the Arteon (even though it’s a hatchback) may well be for you.
From its imposing full-width grille, along its elegant profile complete with sloping roof and frameless windows, and down to its tapered rear, it certainly turns heads.
It’s impressive inside too where it oozes space (though taller than average adults may struggle for headroom in the back thanks to the coupe-like roofline) and it definitely has a premium feel.
The Arteon is available with two petrol engines (a 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre) or a 2.0-litre diesel.
The units are all turbocharged with a range of different power outputs and you can choose between a six-speed manual or seven-speed auto DSG gearbox. There’s also a 4MOTION all-wheel drive option.
I tested the lowered powered (148bhp) version of the 2.0-litre diesel, which is expected to be the most popular choice, in Elegance trim, with DSG box (which features neat little paddle shifters nicely integrated within the steering wheel).
It’s capable of a 0-62mph sprint in 9.1 seconds, a top speed of 137mph, fuel economy of 62.8mpg (the manual version is even more frugal at 65.7mpg) with CO2 emissions of just 116g/km.
How does it drive?
As long as you’re not expecting a performance sports saloon, the VW Arteon won’t disappoint. It’s at its best cruising motorways and generally wafting around.
The engine generates more than enough power to propel this big car along in comfort, but here’s the thing, it can do it very economically.
Without particularly trying, my test car achieved more than 50mpg on mixed runs, including lots of motorway, which is fantastic for a car of this size – and I suspect 60mpg may well be achievable.
You can choose between five driving modes (Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport and Individual). Sport will liven things up a little, but to be honest, there’s little need to switch from Comfort because that’s what the Arteon is all about.
There’s no getting away from the fact that it’s a large car and the width is especially noticeable, but it drives well considering and seems pretty planted. It’s sprightly enough for most too, but the ride is a little on the floaty side and there’s a touch of body roll on cornering, so best to take it easy.
The cabin is refined, with little engine or road noise spoiling the calm and it’s loaded with standard kit including Nappa leather seats, Volkswagen’s slick Active Info digital display, a large 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, plus plenty of tech including Adaptive Cruise Control.
Volkswagen Arteon: the verdict
The Volkswagen Arteon is a surprisingly economical, refined, distinctive-looking cruiser packed with tech and boasting bags of space. The big question is whether VW can temp buyers more used to premium rivals to consider this highly competent car.