Practical experience Volkswagen Arteon: who wants to be beautiful…

The real predecessor of Volkswagen ID7

Volkswagen Arteon and Arteon Shooting Brake

For those who want a spacious business sedan, Volkswagen has been offering the Passat for many years. A well-known, but also very solid business car. The brand understands that things can be a bit more frivolous for some and introduced the Arteon in 2017: the Passat for those who want to be beautiful. Do drivers of such an Arteon also have to suffer for this? They give the answer themselves.

The Volkswagen Arteon is a 4.86 meter long car that some would like to see as a four-door coupe. It is actually a liftback with a large fifth door hinged in the roof. That is a major advantage compared to the Passat, because loading large items is much easier in the Arteon. For those who need even more space, Volkswagen (only) introduced the Arteon Shooting Brake in 2020. That’s right, a station wagon that is simply called ‘Variant’ for other models in the range.

As befits a Volkswagen, drivers can choose from a variety of petrol and diesel engines, with power levels between 150 and 280 hp. A plug-in hybrid was also available. It won’t be long before we have to say goodbye to the Arteon. Anyone who wants a new one will always get a Shooting Brake with a 190 hp 2.0 TSI. Its successor is the even larger, electric ID7, which also has a sloping roofline and a large fifth door.

Space for luggage and passengers

Let’s start with the space available. What does this one have? looker to offer? “Plenty of space, both for the rear passengers and in the trunk. Going on holiday with two younger children (and a wife) is really perfect. Enough space,” said the driver of an Arteon 1.5 TSI. No station wagon… ehh Shooting Brake, just to be clear.

The driver of a plug-in hybrid five-door is also satisfied. “You get a lot of legroom, also in the back seat, and also a nice spacious trunk.” It doesn’t stop with the praise for the luggage compartment. “Trunk: very spacious,” writes a user about the trunk of his Arteon 2.0 TDI from 2018. “According to the specifications, my previous car (Volvo V70) had 575 liters of luggage space and the Arteon 563 liters, but in practice I have the idea that the Arteon can fit more.”

The Shooting Brake also offers plenty of space, both for luggage and rear passengers. “The legroom in the back is more spacious than in the Passat,” says the driver of such a station wagon. “I am 1.94 meters myself and as you can see from the photo, there is still enough left in the back for an adult.”

We conclude with a few positive owners who do point out a point of criticism. “The inside is ergonomic, solid and perhaps even somewhat safe, put together by Volkswagen. Considering the exterior, you expect more from the interior. This doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful, but it’s not as special as the outside, or at least that’s what I think.” “The interior is well finished, although more distance could have been taken from the Passat. Not in line with the appearance,” a second driver agrees.

Seating comfort

Plenty of space, but without nice furniture it is of little use. “The seats are very comfortable and can be easily adjusted (combination of electrical and mechanical). Even on long journeys of 1,000 kilometers and more, you get out rested,” says a rider. “The seats (leather/Alcantara) are large and comfortable and provide more than enough lateral support for a normal drive,” reports another driver. “Yet they should be able to be set a little lower, so that you sit more ‘in’ the car. Strangely enough, you sit deeper in a Passat.” A complaint that resonates. “The seats cannot go down very far, so you sit a bit high,” says the driver of an Arteon 2.0 TDI Elegance Business. “Not such a problem for me at 1.75 metres, but I can I imagine that if you are close to 1.90 meters you would like to be able to lower the seat.

Infotainment and controls

You previously read criticism of the somewhat simple dashboard, which also appears to have an advantage. “I thought the navigation was terrible with our previous Mercedes, but with the Volkswagen it is as it should be. He responds on time if something is wrong and guides you very well. I have also had no problems in France and the combination with Android Auto works very well,” writes the driver of an Arteon 1.4 e-Hybrid in Business R trim. Downside: “When you start the car, it takes a relatively long time before the navigation becomes active. That’s too bad.”

The driver of a 2.0-liter diesel also thinks so. “The navigation is super easy to operate and starts up quickly. There is actually no better touchscreen on the market than Volkswagen’s. Entering addresses is also super fast and accurate.” This rider also sees room for improvement. “I think the disadvantage of the navigation is the inadequate TMC. No traffic jam is actually reported or only when you are actually in it.”

Volkswagen Arteon and Arteon Shooting Brake

How the Arteon drives

The owners are quite unanimous about driving the Arteon. “The handling is excellent. Not super sporty, because the car has comfortable suspension. With the Arteon you can go very fast through a bend if you want. In principle it is understeered, but only at really high speeds does it slide slightly over the front wheels,” reports a driver about his Arteon 2.0 TDI. An experience he shares with the driver of a 2.0 TSI Business R. “Not enough feeling in the steering, not really a driver’s car, as I read in one of the tests. That is partly correct, because it is of course not a rear-wheel drive BMW 3-series, which can always be positioned very precisely and then really takes hold in corners when things get a bit tougher.” Okay, but how is his Volkswagen doing? “However, under similar conditions the Arteon remains neutral for a long time, understeer remains absent for a very long time and with the suspension in Sport, the car is hardly affected by strong crosswinds.”

The driver of a similar version in Shooting Brake form shares his opinion in fewer words. “The handling is just good and I enjoy the stability of the car. The weight of over 1600 kilograms is not noticeable.” The Business R, with its sports suspension, proves popular. “The driving comfort is particularly good,” says a third driver who opted for this specification. “The car grips the road nicely thanks to the sports suspension, but makes few concessions to comfort. Now I think that the 18-inch wheels also contribute to this, in contrast to the 20-inch wheels that are often supplied with the Arteon.”

“Despite the styleless doors, the car is very quiet inside and has comfortable suspension without being soft,” writes the owner of an Arteon 2.0 TDI Elegance Business. “The straight-line stability at higher speeds is good. It also drives relaxed above 150 km/h on German highways.” Many owners make the comment about the sound comfort. “This car is really quiet,” says the driver of a plug-in hybrid. “I drive a Lexus ES for business, a very quiet car, but the Arteon is in no way inferior and, in my experience, is even quieter at 130 km/h.”

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake eHybrid Elegance Business+

And the drivetrain?

The Arteon is available with several petrol and diesel engines, of which the 1.5 TSI and 2.0 TDI are the most often chosen by ‘our’ drivers. “I think the 1.5 TSI engine is good enough for the Netherlands,” writes a driver during the honeymoon period. “It doesn’t really disappoint, especially when accelerating from a standstill. If you want to continue above 120, for example when overtaking on the highway, then it doesn’t really last,” he writes. He later changes his opinion. “I regret that I skimped on the engine. At the time I could choose the 1.5 or the 2.0 liter. In retrospect, I should have chosen the 2.0. 0-80 is fine in terms of acceleration, but anything above that doesn’t last. In addition, it really feels like a light motorcycle.” The DSG automatic transmission also doesn’t get a thumbs up. “The DSG is very smooth when shifting, but the response to the throttle is very slow. I don’t know if that is due to the DSG gearbox or just the software, but it is very frustrating.”

A 2.0 TSI driver agrees with the opinion about the DSG gearbox. “The machine is not completely free of strange choices. Sometimes it really spends two or three seconds looking for the right gear when I actively use the accelerator,” he writes. It seems specific to this Arteon. “I had no problems with the previous two cars with DSG.” Another driver is quite satisfied with his car with a similar drivetrain. “I really like the DSG gearbox, although nothing beats a traditional automatic gearbox. For example, the DSG does not always shift smoothly under heavy load and it remains strange to drive up a slope with the feeling of a slipping clutch. The gearbox then switches to two quite quickly, while that is not actually possible yet.”

The combination of DSG with a diesel engine seems happier. “A fantastic automatic transmission that shifts up silky smooth,” reports the driver of an Arteon 2.0 TDI 150 hp. “It is sometimes said in tests that the DSG keeps the engine speed too low, but I don’t notice that. The car has loads of torque, so it makes sense that it often works from low speeds.

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake

Maintenance, malfunctions and irritations

Arteon drivers share quite a few experiences, but when it comes to malfunctions the car appears to be quite reliable. We only find one rider with serious complaints. “These were wonderful kilometers, but the car is not flawless,” he writes after 120,000 kilometers. “Finally, after two years of malfunctions, the on-board computer has been replaced. While driving, the navigation and the optional Dynaudio system regularly failed. Annoying and dangerous, because it distracts during the ride and causes annoyance. The panoramic roof also continues to creak slightly. The dealer has already treated this a few times, but after six months the slight crackling returns.”

Users are therefore quite pleased with their ‘Passat Special’, although the special feeling inside is somewhat disappointing. However, the Arteon, also the ‘coupé’, is spacious for luggage and passengers. According to users, the drive is not very pronounced and the DSG automatic transmission does not always work well, but on the other hand, the car remains neutral for quite a long time and is, above all, very quiet. In short, its electric spiritual successor Volkswagen ID7 has to work hard.

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