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, cubbies open with a damped smoothness and most of the interior is made of high-quality squidgy plastics.
Better still, all models come with VW’s Active Info Display, which replaces the regular analogue instrument binnacle with a 12.3-inch display that looks at its best as a massive sat-nav map. Audi will charge you extra for a similar system in the A5 Sportback.
Elegance models are the least expensive in the Arteon range. They get smart-looking brushed aluminium trims, shiny black plastics and metal interior door handles that feel expensive. Soft Nappa leather seats are also standard and you get sporty stainless steel metal pedals.
R-Line models are that bit sportier, though – they have R-Line kickplates in the door openings and an R-Line embossed steering wheel. 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
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 with conventional buttons that let you skip between menus and a couple of large knobs – to zoom in and out of maps and adjust the volume – that are easy to reach for on the move. That said, a scroll knob between the two front seats – as you get in an Audi A5 Sportback – would make it easier to use the system’s other functions while you’re driving.
The upgraded Discovery Navigation Pro system is a £895 option that gives you a larger 9.2-inch display with crisper graphics.
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 pretty maps and route around congestion. That said, the basic system can divert around traffic jams via smartphone mirroring, so really you should only choose the optional sat-nav if you’re completely sold on its aesthetics.
A big selling point of the Arteon’s interior is that it comes with Volkswagen’s 12.3-inch Active Info display as standard. It 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 pricey £1,010 option.