2018 Volkswagen Arteon

Pros: Striking styling, space and practicality, refined drive

 Cons: Rivals sharper to drive, expensive with options

 The German word Volkswagen means the people’s car

It has since evolved from just an ordinary people’s car from Hitler’s days as it now offers upmarket cars. One of its latest offerings is the VW Arteon.

The name Arteon is derived from “art” and the eon means timelessness. Could this model be a timeless piece of machine?

Zimbabweans prefer SUVs to traditional sedans. However, sedans still rule the roost because of affordability and habit. The more luxurious the better.

This is the Arteon, Volkswagen’s new boldly-styled four door fastback that carries on from the firm’s successful CC range. The Arteon takes aim at the executive market and it blends standout styling with a luxurious cabin and Volkswagen’s latest technology to compete with cars such as the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.

What is it like?

The Arteon is one of the most distinctive designs in Volkswagen’s recent portfolio. The Arteon’s low-reaching chrome front grille and front LED headlights appear as one flush design, while lengthy sculpted lines running along the bonnet and sides lend it lots of road presence. Our test car features an upgraded R-Line body styling kit, chrome detailing and various other upgrades for added flair. It even has large optional 20-inch Rosario wheels and a panoramic sunroof, although the Chili Red paint scheme was a cause for controversy. It is likely that the Arteon’s design will age well for many years to come.

As you might expect, the Arteon’s cabin is suitably premium and filled with Volkswagen’s latest and greatest tech. The centre console is dominated by a glass-faced touch-screen system which is very responsive to use, while the dashboard features sculpted air vents and a traditional analogue clock. Volkswagen’s Active Info display presents speed and other functions in vibrant digital fashion and is controlled via various buttons on the sports steering wheel. The driving position is comfortable with a large range of adjustment available and lots of shoulder and head room, while the minimalist design of the centre console creates a strong sense of space.

R-Line specification adds a suite of interior upgrades including ambient interior lighting, a sports steering wheel, chrome detailing and alcantara upholstery for a sportier finish. Space and practicality is strong, with enough room to accommodate four adults in comfort on long journeys, although the sloping roof design limits headroom for taller passengers in the rear seats somewhat. There is an enormous 563 litres of space in the boot which is easy to access thanks to the liftback design, although the boot door is heavy and requires muscle to lift.

Out on the road, the Arteon is comfortable, refined and well-suited to long motorway hauls. It is based on the same MQB platform as the latest Volkswagen Passat and various other Volkswagen Group models too. Cabin noise is minimal, and it absorbs bumps with aplomb, although the large 20-inch wheels on our test car are a little on the firm side. The Arteon is best-suited to comfort and long-distance cruising, though it is not as engaging to drive as the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. Most drivers will not mind this fact however, as it serves up lots of comfort and confidence from behind the wheel.

It is well-equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and rear lights, tinted rear windows, a leather steering wheel, driver’s seat electric lumbar adjustment, heated seats, an eight-inch touch-screen system and a suite of safety aids such as a driver alert system and hill-start assist. The mid-specification Elegance model adds alcantara cloth upholstery, upgraded 18-inch alloy wheels, tinted rear lights, scrolling indicators, voice control, Volkswagen’s Active Info digital driver’s display and a reversing camera.

The Volkswagen Arteon is big on style, space and standard specification, which  means it will prove successful in the premium executive class. It is a clear winner in the styling stakes, with distinctive features to stand out on the road. It is also very refined for long distance drives and a great all-rounder, with low-running costs in the diesel guise. That said, it is not as daring to drive as rivals such as the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, while high-specification models come with a steep price tag.

Although the Volkswagen Arteon lacks the prestige badge of an Audi or BMW equivalent, it is an enticing package and one to be shortlisted.

With the Mercedes-C-Class, BMW 3 series and Toyota Camry constantly top- selling, VW needed to come up with a competing model. VW took a decision to push itself into the luxury sedan market with its latest offering, the Arteon.

On the spec-sheet, the 2.0-litre engine has turbo four from the Golf R producing 206kW/350Nm.

Nevertheless, it uses every one of those very effectively with a 0-100km/h claim in the mid-5s and a broad spread of power from virtually idle – peak torque is generated from just 1800rpm – all the way to its automatic change-up point of 6700rpm.

Specs

  • Engine: 1984cc four-cylinder petrol
  • Power: 206kW/350Nm
  • Top Speed: 240km/h
  • 0-100km/h: 7.7 seconds
  • Transmission: DSG Automatic
  • Body style: Hatchback
  • Boot Space: 563 litres

Rivals:

  • Audi A5 Sportback
  • BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe
  • Jaguar XF

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