Volkswagen Arteon interior
The VW Arteon interior is well built and comes with plenty of clever kit as standard, but alternative models are more stylish inside
The Arteon’s interior is well built but it doesn’t look all that different to the cabin you get in a much cheaper Volkswagen Passat, and it’s nowhere near as plush as the minimalist design inside an Audi A5 Sportback.
That being said, the VW’s buttons, switches and knobs work with a precision that gives you the impression that they’ll last forever, the cubbies open with a damped smoothness and most of the interior is made of high-quality squidgy plastics.
SE models are the least expensive in the Arteon range. They come with mostly black and dark grey interior trims, but you do get some brushed aluminium inserts on the air vents and running across the dashboard, metal door handles and an analogue clock – classy. There’s also a shiny piano-black centre console trim, but be careful not to drop your keys on this because it’s easy to scratch.
Elegance models are the next step up. They get a few smart stainless-steel pedal trims and some posh-feeling Nappa leather seats with plenty of electric adjustment as standard – but little else visually separates them from entry-level SE models.
R-Line models feel a bit sportier inside thanks to some R-Line kickplates on the door sills, an R-Line embossed steering wheel and a black fabric roof lining. However, the two-tone, white and black nappa leather seats look a little bit naff in what’s supposed to be a premium model.
The Arteon’s interior is a Hilton to the Audi’s A5 Sportback’s boutique hotel – it sounds good on paper but in practice is just doesn’t feel quite as special
In SE guise, the Arteon comes as standard with Volkswagen’s Discover Navigation system, which has an eight-inch touchscreen display.
It’s logically laid out and easy to use and comes with a few conventional physical buttons rather than relying exclusively on touchscreen icons. Especially handy are the two large knobs that let you tweak the stereo volume or zoom in and out on the sat-nav without taking your eyes off the road.
Speaking of sat-nav, VW’s system is easy to program and delivers clear directions on easy-to-read maps but you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can mirror your phone’s navigation apps on the Arteon’s built-in screen instead.
Pay extra for an Elegance or R Line model with the upgraded Discovery Navigation Pro system. Its glassy appearance does look nicer than the basic system, but it comes at the expense of standard system’s conventional knobs – the touch-sensitive buttons that replace them aren’t as easy to use when you’re driving.
A three-year subscription to Volkswagen’s Car-Net is included, meaning the sat-nav can use Google Earth’s prettier maps and help route you around upcoming congestion.
These mid-range and top-spec cars also come with a 12.3-inch Active Info display as standard. This replaces the analogue dials you’d usually find behind the steering wheel with a large display that can switch between modes – so it can show conventional-looking dials, before switching to a massive sat-nav map that looks great and is easy to follow.
What isn’t so brilliant is the car’s eight-speaker, 80W stereo that isn’t a patch on the sound system fitted as standard to an Audi A5 Sportback. If you’re a music fan then, the Dynaudio Confidence sound pack is a must – it has 11 speakers, a subwoofer and a 700W output, but is a very pricey option.