Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake review
The Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake is full of the latest technology and is spacious for people inside, but its boot isn’t the most practical for a big estate.
What's not so good
Find out more about the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake
The Arteon is Volkswagen’s large family car with premium aspirations. It’s a more expensive but better looking alternative to the Passat that’s available in both saloon and estate forms.
But because ‘Arteon Estate’ sounds like a housing development near a bypass, VW has chosen the term ‘Shooting Brake’ for its booted Arteon. It’s a bit posher, like when Audi calls its estates ‘Avants’ and BMW uses the ‘Touring’ name. And that matters for a model focused on style.
It gets a longer, flatter roof than the regular Arteon. And the kink in the rear window means it doesn’t just look like a dolled-up Passat Estate from the side, either.
All this means it looks lower and longer than the regular Arteon. But it’s actually exactly the same length as the regular car. And it’s 19mm taller.
The whole point of an estate car is to be more practical than a hatchback or a saloon, right? So, how much bigger is the Arteon Shooting Brake’s boot than the regular Arteon’s? Just two litres bigger. That’s all. Makes you wonder why they bothered really… Well, apart from the fact it looks cool and passengers get a bit more headroom in the back.
That said, it’ll still carry 565 litres of luggage. Which is 85 litres more than you can fit in an Audi A5 Sportback. Although, you can fit 650 litres in a VW Passat Estate, so that’s still the car to go for if you fancy doing a bit of antiquing in your VW.
There are changes to the Volkswagen Arteon’s interior as part of a recent model update. 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.
VW has resisted the temptation to give the new Arteon the Golf’s tiny gear selector. But, they have changed the layout of the dashboard and air vents, so it doesn’t just look like a copy and pasted Passat cabin anymore…
The 1.5-litre petrol with 150hp is the pick of the engines, while we think R-Line's sporty look is the trim to go for.
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.
There’s a bunch of petrol and diesel engines to choose from, with either two- or four-wheel drive. If you prefer petrol, the 1.5-litre 150hp is the pick of the bunch. If you do a lot of miles then there are a couple of 2.0-litre diesels with either 150 or 200hp. The latter is available with four-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 (which takes around five hours using a conventional three-pin plug) and you can drive for around 39 miles in electric-only mode. This also means you won’t have to pay the London congestion charge.
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 is a decent performer, managing 0-60mph in around 7.8 seconds and up to 180mpg – well so long as you plug it in regularly.
So, if you are happy to forgo some practicality in the name of style, then the Arteon Shooting Brake is a very solid choice. Check out our deals page for the very best price.
There’s plenty of space for people in the Arteon Shooting Brake, but the boot isn’t as useable as you’d hope.
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 space for those in the front seats, no matter how tall they are. There’s also loads of adjustment for the seats and steering wheel, so finding your ideal driving position is easy.
Moving backwards, there’s loads of legroom in the rear seats, so you should never feel in anyway 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.
Still, Volkswagen has thought to put soft materials in all the places you touch, such as on the armrests, to enhance the feeling of luxury. The one exception is the centre armrest in the rear, which has hard plastic cupholder just where you’d put your elbow – not ideal.
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.
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.
There’s also a decent-sized (and felt-lined) glovebox, and a small flip-down cubby by the driver’s right knee.
First things first, the Arteon Shooting Brake features one of those systems that allow you to wave a foot under the rear bumper and open the tailgate. However, the difference with the Arteon’s is that it actually works. Every time.
Once you’re in there, there’s 565 litres of space, which seems decent until you consider the 650 litres you get in a Passat Estate. Still, the Arteon looks a whole load cooler, and besides, it’s enough for nine cabin-size luggage cases.
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 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.
Great for travelling a long distance in total comfort, but not as engaging as a BMW 3 Series Touring.
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 200hp. The latter is available with all-wheel drive as an option.
Even the two entry level petrol and diesel engines offer decent performance, refinement and economy, so you won’t feel too short changed. If you regularly fill your car with people and stuff, or crave a bit more overtaking punch, you will be better off with either higher powered models, which are brisk and generally smooth.
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 39 miles on electric power alone, and also successfully avoids the London congestion charge.
The hybrid’s petrol engine and its electrical bits are shared with the VW Passat GTE. That means 0-60mph in a relatively sprightly 7.8 seconds and the potential for up to 180mpg. As with all plug-in hybrids, it’s at its most efficient if it’s plugged in regularly, allowing it to use the electric power as much of the time as possible.
The hybrid’s performance is respectable, although it doesn’t respond as keenly as the higher powered standard engines because it’s been tuned for economy. Its real-world electric range is over 30 miles, however, which is strong, while the electric motor itself can get the Arteon up to motorway speeds without ever waking the petrol engine. Once the battery is depleted the engine has to work harder to shift the big estate, so it becomes more vocal.
You can pay around £1,000 extra to have your Arteon on adaptive suspension, but to be honest we’re not sure we’d bother because it is really comfortable, even on the large-diameter alloy wheels.
The rest of 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 car, 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, 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.
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 its perfectly nice to drive.
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.
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.
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.
It all looks classy and feels beautifully built, but touch-sensitive controls irritate.
Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake colours
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*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.