- Car Reviews
Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake review
Good looks, lots of space, comfy tourer, competitively priced
Not as dynamic as it looks, less economical than the hatch
What is it?
Before we dive headfirst into the intricacies of an ‘executive’ Volkswagen, let us address the elephant in the room. The big, plush, really rather attractive elephant in the room. Technically speaking – and with full adenoids engaged – the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake is not, we repeat, not, a Shooting Brake.
A Shooting Brake comprises but two doors, traditionally used for hunting parties to carry their hunting paraphernalia (read: massive guns). The Arteon – like Mercedes’ and Genesis’ equally dubious naming of the CLA and G70 respectively as Shooting Brakes – has exactly 100 per cent more door and is definitely not built to house massive guns.
SO, IT’S AN ESTATE?
Fits better when you say it like that. And identity crisis aside, it is an exceedingly handsome, swoopy estate. In this guise, the Arteon builds on its supernatural ability to elicit a fair bit of reaction from passers-by. Prepare to be approached at petrol stations and in supermarket car parks, because people will want to talk to you about it. As you shouldn’t really say, it’s much better ‘in the metal’, which means when you see one in real life as opposed to on a screen, it’s got movie-star presence.
IS THERE ANYTHING BEYOND THE ATTRACTIVE EXTERIOR?
The refresh of the Arteon range that gave birth to this Not-A-Shooting-Brake version brought with it better-finished materials, digital dials and upgraded infotainment, and VW’s newly found pastime of stepping on a comedically-placed broom and smacking itself in the face: out go traditional climate control buttons, in come touch-sensitive sliders. Progress. Huh.
Otherwise it’s all very neatly designed and logical to operate. Big inside too, the Arteon hugely accommodating for four adults, and decently comfortable for five. You can fit precisely two more litres of stuff in the boot compared to the hatch too, or lots more if you fold the seats down. Full details over on the buying tab.
AND WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET?
The I’m-Technically-An-Estate-Dontchaknow gets a range of diesel and petrol engines, which are pure heartland VW. There are 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre petrol engines, two 2.0-litre diesels, a plug-in hybrid (1.4-litre petrol plus e-motor for a claimed 38 miles of electric-only range) – though our experience with it so far suggests a clear priority for style over substance. Head to the driving tab for more.
Still, there is, rather excitingly, a full-bore R version, complete with 2.0-litre turbo making 316bhp and 310lb ft of torque. So, basically any hot VW Group car you’ve read about in the last decade. This R version of the Please-Stop-Calling-Me-A-Shooting-Brake is rapid, too: VW reckons on 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds. If that’s the one you’re after, click these blue words.
WHAT’S THE COMPETITION LIKE?
The Kia Proceed and Toyota Corolla Hybrid Touring Sports opt for a similar ‘sporting’ image, but otherwise take your pick from any of the traditional estates including the BMW 3 Series Touring, Skoda Superb Estate, Volvo V60 and in-house challengers including the Golf and Passat Estates.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Prices start from £39,900 for the 1.5-litre petrol, £42,080 for the 2.0-litre diesel, and £44,555 for the 1.4-litre petrol engine and 13kWh battery plug-in hybrid. Full details over on the buying tab.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
Objectively, it’s a fine car. Good-looking, comfortable, well built, spacious and an ownership experience that won’t require too much mental lifting. Competitively priced, too.
Driving thrills aren’t a particularly glowing asset, though, and whether that’ll one day creep up on you will likely influence how you feel about it. Safety and dependability is all well and good, and it's a superb long-distance cruiser, but a lack of dynamic enthusiasm might start to wear after a while.
Still, it’s a cooler car than its hatch sibling, and if you’re already sold on that car’s looks, this one’s but an £885 step further.