Volkswagen Arteon

R-Line 2.0 TDI

Volkswagen Arteon, front action 2
Volkswagen Arteon, front action
Volkswagen Arteon, front static
Volkswagen Arteon, landscape
Volkswagen Arteon, side action
Volkswagen Arteon, rear action
Volkswagen Arteon, rear static
Volkswagen Arteon, dashboard

TODAY'S car buyers are a fussy lot.

We want a fast car, but it's got to be economical; compact hatches make great sense to us however we expect them to have loads of cabin space; and big saloons need to be easy to park - despite their generous dimensions.

So what's the answer? Well, VW thought it had the formula right when the Passat CC was introduced a few years back. The sleek, four-door had saloon-like space but a sporty coupe profile. So far so good.

But the conventional three-box design with a boot rather than a hatch limited practicality and lacked appeal with the growing outdoor-set who use their car for a daily commute and at weekends shoot off to coast and countryside for fun and games.

Enter the effective CC replacement, called the Arteon and now the flagship saloon of the VW range, following the demise of the luxury Phaeton.

Longer, wider and roomier than the Passat-based CC, it crucially has five doors with a bigger boot and fold-down rear seats that give the cargo area van-like carrying capacity.

As with most VWs, there's a huge choice of engines, both petrol and diesel. Here we drive the 2.0 TDI in 190ps form, which has punchy though hardly sporty diesel power that still manages to squeeze more than 40 miles from a gallon.

The cabin, though solidly hewn with perfect panel fit, is very Passat-like and about as exciting in appearance as a German jig-saw. Nevertheless, it all works nicely and the large modular information centre, as it is called, is a treat.

Head-up display, a £495 extra, is really useful and well worth the money. Adaptive cruise control that adjusts for speed limits, sat nav and front and rear parking sensors are fitted as standard.

There are acres of passenger space with ample legroom front and rear. You might expect the scalloped roofline to impinge on backseat headroom, but six-footers will have no difficulty climbing in and out.

As said, luggage space is abundant with 563 litres available before the backs seats are folded which see capacity rise to 1,557 litres - more than some estate cars.

With 187bhp upfront there's no shortage of power, 62mph coming up in under seven seconds. Mid-range pull for overtaking is also plentiful thanks to the diesel's ample torque. It isn't the smoothest of units, but the slightly gruff sound of the four-cylinder is well suppressed and progress is relaxed and reasonably refined. An absence of wind noise helps here.

The seven-speed twin clutch automatic gearbox complements the car's long-legged nature perfectly and takes much of the strain out of cruising without in any way diminishing performance.

Even driven hard, fuel consumption remained above the 40mpg mark, with closer 50mpg being possible on gentle running.

No shortage of cornering grip on the front-drive Arteon, although handling characteristics are less involving than that of rival BMW.

A four-wheel-drive option is available for those who might regularly encounter slippery conditions and the Arteon has recently grabbed the Tow Car of the Year Award in the annual Practical Caravan competition.


Volkswagen Arteon R-Line 2.0 TDI

Price: £36,680

Mechanical:187bhp, 1,998cc, 4 cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 148mph

0-62mph: 6.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 49.6

Insurance Group: 25

C02 emissions: 121g/km

Bik rating: 32%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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