You can rightly expect exotic sports cars to turn heads, but when an estate car from a volume manufacturer manages to do that, you know the designers have created something very pleasing to the eyes.
So it was full marks to the designers of the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake which never failed on our test to turn heads with its sleek styling and practical design. The new series has three trim levels, a choice of petrol or diesel engines and a hybrid will join later. We tested the expected best seller 2.0litre 190ps petrol with its DSG box.
The saloon has been a great success for Volkswagen and they will build on that with the Shooting Brake, which is a modern estate offering up to 1632 litres maximum luggage capacity.
When you don’t need all that room the five-seater is a truly executive way to travel and still have useful space for some items behind the back seats with a low-level and well shaped floor while the side panel incorporate some handy hanging hooks and it’s all covered with a quick release roller cover.
It’s a quiet unit even when pushed to perform and it delivers smoothly and without drama as it works through the seven gears in the automatic box, with their seamless engagement and strong pull.
The excellence of the powertrain shows up in its performance and economy of comfortably over 40mpg.
Less easy to see but you experience is the very strong brakes underfoot with their drama-free delivery of stopping power and a delightfully balanced steering system which turns quickly and tightly without being twitchy or suffering kickbacks over bad surfaces.
The secondary controls were all well located around the driver, on the wheel, column or fascia and console and the instruments with their changeable 10.25-inch displays were always big and clear. The displays are among the best in any car.
A 8-inch infotainment screen performed a multitude of tasks with speed and clarity and it was comprehensive and straightforward. It’s the latest communications and integrated for mobility with phones including voice activation for calls and directions.
Oddments space was abundant throughout and in keeping with a family shooting brake.
Access for driver and passengers was good with wide opening doors and the seats were shaped to give very good support and location with particularly good adjustment range infront.
Visibility was fairly clear except when pulling out from the kerb or a junction and the c and d-pillars presented a blindspot over the shoulder. Front and rear sensors were very good for parking.
Very bright long-range lights were welcome on dark nights, while the wipers and washers cleared a big area of glass. It’s highly visible with lighting strips across the nose a design element.
The ride quality was excellent over any surface, the Arteon ST soaking up all manner of potholes and bumps and that can be a problem for some semi-estates which have to blend load-carrying capacity with lighter use. But not in this car.
Along with the good ride came a surprisingly sporty feel to the handling, with excellent grip, no rolling or pitching and excellent manners on twisting roads.
Noise levels can also be an issue without a rear bulkhead but the Arteon was generally quiet and insulated from suspension and tyre noises, with very low engine rumbles and no wind noise to speak of. Our test car was fitted a wide range of options from the list and added approximately £10,000 to the price.
The Volkswagen Arteon really looked and felt very well put together, was quiet and packed performance punch in a silk glove. It’s refined and sophisticated and made a mockery of some luxury cars costing twice as much.
It is also a tough challenger to VW’s sister brand Audi.
|Volkswagen Arteon SB
|Mechanical: 190ps 4cyl 2.0 turbo-petrol, DSG automatic
|Max Speed: 145mph
|Combined MPG: 42
|Insurance Group: 25E
|C02 emissions: 149g/km
|Bik rating: 37%, £215FY, £510SRX5
|Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles
|Size: L4.87m, W1.88m, H1.46m
|Bootspace: 590-1632 litres
|For: Refinement, powertrain, ride, room, economy
Against: Some blindspots when reversing or pulling out, expensive options, low-level road rumble and suspension noises, average warranty.