I BELIEVE the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake is currently the best-looking estate car on the market - especially in sporty R-Line trim - run a close second by the Genesis G70 Shooting Brake. Both have oodles of style.
What the Genesis doesn't have, as yet, is a hybrid, petrol-electric engine - the Arteon also comes with petrol and diesel alternatives. A plug-in hybrid (PHEV), it has an all-electric range of 38 miles and comes with the punchy performance and low CO2 emissions you'd expect from such an engine. A boon for company car drivers.
The system comprises a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine supported by an electric motor, together providing peak power of 215bhp and torque of 400Nm. It's a rapid car. Much more than its 0-62mph time suggests. There's a slick six-speed dual clutch automatic transmission to take the strain too.
Officially, it returns 208mpg - nonsense unless you can plug it in at home every night. Mainly running on petrol, I managed a decent 37.6mpg.
The interior was completely overhauled not too long ago and features a redesigned dash, centre console and door trims which link it closer to its luxury sibling, the Touareg. Genuine wood or metal decorative inserts enhance the interior, while backlit trim inlays feature with a choice of up to 30 colours
Both Elegance and R-Line models - the only trims available on the hybrid - also benefited from a new touch sensitive steering wheel, while all models received a new digitised control unit for the air conditioning system. Touch panels and sliders finished in high-gloss black perform the climate functions.
The Arteon is generously equipped across the range with LED headlights and tail lights, Adaptive Cruise Control, Digital Cockpit Pro, and an 8.0-inch infotainment system standard fit on all Arteons. Responsive software means it's crisp and easy to use. It includes sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring too.
The latest VW Digital Cockpit driver display is also included - a 10.3-inch screen that replaces the old analogue dials and allowing various configurations on the style and details of what's being displayed.
There's adaptive cruise control, front and rear climate control, keyless entry, power-folding door mirrors, heated front seats, privacy glass, ambient and a panoramic roof.
There's plenty of room up front and enough steering wheel adjustment and driver's seat adjustment to make the majority of users comfortable with good visibility. The fit and finish is as good as you would expect as the Arteon is a premium product.
Rear leg room of 1,016 mm puts the Arteon at the top of its class - a genuinely roomy space for five adults. Put the rear seats down and luggage space grows from 455 litres to a practical 1,632 litres. There's only a 60/40 split, although there is a handy ski hatch for longer, thinner items.
As you would expect from Volkswagen, the Arteon Shooting Brake is deliciously easy to drive - despite the R-Line's sporty trim, it's all about refinement really. Despite riding on 19-inch alloys, it's insanely quiet when cruising, helped by the optional (Â£315) acoustic pack on the car I was driving, which adds sound-insulating laminated safety in the front side windows, plus rear windscreen and additional interior noise suppression.
Its handling is neat and tidy off the motorway but there's noticeable body lean if you force it through a corner too quickly. That said, it's still good to drive.