What is it like on the inside?
The interior of the Arteon Shooting Brake R is predictably solid and of respectable quality. There are two negative aspects we could focus on – firstly, that familiarity of Volkswagen cockpits is a blessing and a curse. Everything feels very recognisable and falls easy to hand, but the more you’re splashing out for one of these people’s cars the more you’d like a bit of rarity. The aluminium and carbon fibre-style inserts boost the cabin, but the R is heavily reliant on its one-piece seats and blue-stitched perforated leather steering wheel to provide a sense of occasion.
The second is familiar ground from recent Volkswagen products – we’ve got our issues with the company’s insistence on moving everything to touchscreens, but the Arteon doesn’t quite have it as bad as other cars in the company line-up. It’s a pyrrhic victory, though – while it’s good to have physical controls on the centre stack and steering wheel, these are now touch pads, the latter with haptic feedback. The good side of a meaty button or rotary knob is that you’ve got the feel of what’s going on, along with usually being able to finish the task after a quick glance.
These touch controls seem to demand more attention from the driver than is strictly necessary. Incidentally, if you’ve ever wondered whether Apple CarPlay would be better on a more widescreen option, then wonder no more. It would not. The content feels stretched to fit, with lots of wasted space. Still, it’s always better than using a manufacturer’s own satnav these days.
The decent-sized boot will appeal to those practical minded drivers, with room enough to chuck things in. There’s also loads of space in the back, with plenty of legroom for rear passengers. Where it could feel claustrophobic in the back with high window lines there’s extra light thanks to the windows by the boot. The panoramic sunroof comes as standard on the Shooting Brake R, which further prevents the interior from descending into gloominess.
As you’d expect for this top-spec car, there’s a high level of specification – electric tailgate, three years of Volkswagen’s We Connect Plus package that connects the car to online services, wireless phone syncing and charging, adaptive cruise control, ambient cabin lighting, three-zone climate control and a whole raft of safety features.