Volkswagen Arteon Review & Prices
The sleek Volkswagen Arteon was given a refresh in 2020, adding new tech, safety systems and a fuel-sipping plug-in hybrid model
What's not so good
Find out more about the Volkswagen Arteon
Available as a sleek saloon or a stately “Shooting Brake” station wagon, the Volkswagen Arteon is a pretty handsome-looking car, with the most recent update adding a new strip of daytime running lights on the grille that stretch from one headlight to the other. It makes the Arteon look a bit like Robocop’s helmet.
The brake lights have been tweaked and R-Line models get a set of four chrome ‘exhaust tips’ instead of two, although these are quite spectacularly fake, just like on the old car. The rest of the Arteon looks pretty much the same as the previous model. So it’s a bit sportier than a Volkswagen Passat, but not quite as aggressive as an Audi A5 Sportback.
The infotainment system is now the same one as you get in the recently revised Passat but unfortunately not the all new system from the new Golf. There is a 9.0-inch touchscreen as standard which is the same size as the upgraded optional display you could get in the old Arteon, and you get the same old digital dials, too.
However, now you can connect your phone via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto without using a cable. And the VW ‘We Connect’ app lets you use your smartphone as a key to unlock the car. Well, if you have the latest Samsung phone, anyway.
The new Arteon also comes with VW’s latest voice command system. It’s supposed to understand plain speech, but let’s just say it had its flaws when we tested it. Find out more in the new VW Golf review.
There are changes to the Volkswagen Arteon’s interior, too. The old car’s analogue clock has gone, and the physical heating controls have also disappeared. Now, you get a row of touch-sensitive keys under the infotainment system – just like in the new VW Golf, which isn’t so easy to use while you are driving.
The Arteon has always looked fantastic, and now it has the tech to go with the styling
VW has resisted the temptation to give the new Arteon the Golf’s tiny gear selector. But it has changed the layout of the dashboard and air vents, so it doesn’t just look like a Passat inside. In fact, it looks and feels genuinely special.
You can also get the Arteon with some fancier interior trims. So you can choose to pay for carbon-fibre or Eucalyptus inserts for a more natural feel. There’s 30-colour mood lighting and six different styles of seat trim.
The Arteon has always looked fantastic, and now it has the tech to go with the looks.
As well as the new R’s 2.0-litre turbo, you’ll be able to get the Arteon with a bunch of more tame, less expensive, more economical engines. Petrols include a 150hp 1.5-litre petrol engine and a 2.0-litre with 190hp or 320hp – the latter of which is all-wheel drive rather than front wheel drive.
If you still like diesels there’s a 2.0-litre with either 150 or 190hp. The 190 is available with all-wheel drive as an option.
There is also a Volkswagen Arteon Plug-in Hybrid in the range. This uses a 1.4-litre petrol engine and an electric motor to produce 218hp. Fully charge its 13kWh battery and you can drive for around 33 miles in electric-only mode. This also means you won’t have to pay urban congestion charges.
The hybrid’s petrol engine and its electrical bits are shared with the VW Passat GTE. So, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the Arteon hybrid should return similar performance and economy figures which means 0-60mph in around 7.5 seconds and 180mpg – well so long as you plug it in regularly.
If the Volkswagen Arteon sounds like the perfect car for you, check our our latest Volkswagen Arteon deals to find out how much you can save when buying through carwow. Make sure you have a look at our used Volkswagen deals, too.
The Volkswagen Arteon has a RRP range of £32,560 to £48,070. Monthly payments start at £526. The price of a used Volkswagen Arteon on Carwow starts at £23,799.
There are two Arteons in the standard range – the R-Line and the Elegance. There’s also the high-performance VW Arteon R reviewed separately.
R-Line trim is really just a styling pack, but worth going for on a sporty looking coupe like this. They get 19-inch alloy wheels, a revised front bumper, a subtle rear spoiler and glossy black exterior touches. Inside, you get leather trimmed sports seats and a sports steering wheel. Everything else though, is carried over from Elegance models – including LED headlights, a leather interior, an 8.0-inch sat-nav screen, a 12.3-inch Active Info display in place of conventional dials, adjustable suspension and climate control.
Pricing is pretty keen – you’ll find the Arteon undercuts most premium brands.
Don’t expect Passat-style dowdiness – the Arteon is actually great fun to drive
The car works beautifully in town, with light, accurate steering and a very quiet drivetrain. The seven-speed automatic DSG transmission is also well suited to the Arteon, because it shuffles up and down through the gears unobtrusively.
The view forward and to the side is perfectly fine, but looking out of the back window is like peering through a letterbox, and it’s flanked by two large rear pillars, which make parking tricky if you haven’t paid extra for a reversing camera.
On the motorway
On the motorway, the Arteon is quiet and comfortable, and most models are decently fleet of foot. It’s pretty economical, too, which is great given the performance.
You can add VW’s all-singing-all-dancing active cruise control, too, which basically takes over most of the motorway driving for you. It works well.
On a twisty road
Off the motorway, the Arteon deals well with bumps and resists unruliness well, although it doesn’t quite have the poise of a BMW 3-Series. Still, the steering is accurate and the grip is pretty strong, so you’re unlikely to feel disappointed.
The plug-in hybrid adds a chunk of extra weight (around 150kg) which does make itself noticed in quick direction changes. There’s also slightly more of a thump over sharp bumps, but most of the time it's perfectly nice to drive.
Overall, the Arteon is a car that will devour miles with no bother at all. It’s also good enough to drive for 95% of people – only die-hard ‘driving enthusiasts’ will crave a bit more involvement.
Good looks don’t hamper interior or boot space, but the low roof makes access challenging in the rear
That low, sloping roofline might give you the impression that the Arteon is all about the style and if you want space you can buy a Passat instead. Not so. There’s actually loads of room for those in the front seats, no matter how tall they are, and plenty of adjustment for the seats and steering wheel, so finding your ideal driving position is easy.
There isn’t a vast amount of storage around the Arteon’s cabin but there is enough. So, ahead of the gearlever sits a flat area that’s perfect for holding even a large smartphone, but it’s a shame that VW hasn’t seen fit to stick a wireless charging pad in there.
Between the seats sit a couple of deep cupholders behind a sliding lid. These are great for big cups, but getting a small cup out of them can be tricky.
Below the central armrest is a smallish cubby that can hold small cans and suchlike, and there are a couple of USB-C sockets in there.
The door pockets in both the front and rear, meanwhile, are good, and can easily hold a 1.5-litre bottle. These are also felt-lined, so stuff won’t rattle in there.
Space in the back seats
Moving backwards, there’s loads of legroom in the rear seats, so you should never feel in any way cramped, even with a tall person ahead.
The two outer rear seats have more than enough headroom for even a six-footer, but anyone consigned to the middle rear seats should be shorter of stature, because they’re liable to find their head brushing the headlining and interior light cluster.
Fitting a child seat is comparatively easy, because there’s so much space and the ISOFIX anchor points are easy to get to. You might still get a sore back though, because the sloping roofline forces you to stoop a bit more than would be ideal.
On saloon models, there’s 575 litres of space, which is only just behind the 586 litres you get in a Passat. The Arteon also looks a whole load cooler, and is easier to load because of its hatchback rear end.
Watch your back though, because there’s a real drop to the boot floor, so lifting heavy stuff out of the boot could be a bit of a strain.
There is a hidden area beneath the boot floor but unfortunately there’s no dedicated area to store the parcel shelf, which is a shame. Oddly, while there are the usual array of foldaway hooks and lashing points to stop bags sliding around, there’s no 12V socket.
You need to reach in and release the levers on the seat backs to fold down the rear seats, and unfortunately the backrests don’t lie flat when you do, which makes loading items a bit of a pain.
The Arteon e-Hybrid loses a sizeable chunk of boot space (around 140 litres) due to the batteries that are mounted under the boot floor. This is something you need to consider when weighing up the fuel savings of going for the plug-in model.
A nicer-feeling interior than the Passat, although VW touchscreen frustrations are alive and well
It’s like Volkswagen has taken the interior from a Passat and given it a nip and a tuck, a spruce up, here and there
The fabrics all feel nicely soft to the touch, the brushed-metal trims look classy, and the plastics are suitably squishy.
However, Volkswagen has also fitted the Arteon with the same touch-sensitive steering wheel controls as you’ll find in the latest Golf. For some functions you need to press them, for others you swipe them, but frankly they are utterly confusing at the best of times.
Thankfully, the climate controls remain separate from the central touchscreen, but nevertheless they are touch-sensitive “sliders” as opposed to conventional knobs. They might look cool, but they demand far too much of your attention when changing the temperature.
The infotainment set-up in the Arteon is pretty good, with sharp graphics and instant responses to your touch. The system is easy to work your way around, too.
Better still, it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, and both of these work wirelessly and seamlessly. Most of the time you’ll end up using these systems instead of the native VW one, because they’re quick, efficient and do what you need them to.
The central screen is also linked to the digital driver’s display that’s standard on every Arteon. This is bright, clear, and you can configure it just the way you want – albeit with the annoying steering wheel-mounted controls.
The range of petrol engines kicks off with a 150hp 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Then there’s a 2.0-litre with 190hp, and finally a further 2.0 turbo with 320hp in the R models. This last version is all-wheel drive rather than front wheel drive.
Diesel fans have a choice of a 2.0-litre with either 150 or 190hp. The 190 is available with all-wheel drive as an option.
There is also a Volkswagen Arteon Plug-in Hybrid model that combines a 1.4-litre petrol engine and an electric motor to produce 218hp. It will cover around 33 miles on electric power alone, and also successfully avoids congestion charges.
The hybrid’s petrol engine and its electrical bits are shared with the VW Passat GTE. So, the Arteon hybrid should return similar performance and economy figures which means 0-60mph in around 7.5 seconds and 180mpg – as long as you plug it in regularly.
The Arteon scored five stars (out of a possible five) for safety when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP and it has a comprehensive suite of advanced safety systems, including all-round cameras, lane keeping assist and traffic jam assist, eCall (VW’s emergency call service for SOS calls), adaptive cruise control with speed limiter and front assist (reacting to vehicles pedestrians and cyclists).
It also gets dynamic road sign display and a driver alert system with fatigue detection.
The Arteon comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty as standard. There have been no recalls as yet of the current model.
*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.