Volkswagen’s new fastback certainly copes well with UK roads. Is the 148bhp 2.0 TDI model the answer for fleet drivers?

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Arteon

Volkswagen hopes its new five-seater fastback will make a splash in the executive pool. Will the Arteon sink or swim?

5 September 2017

What is it?

The Volkswagen Arteon is considered the new face of the brand, with styling that will be carried over to other models in the range.

Bearing striking resemblance to the Sport Coupé GTE concept unveiled at the Geneva motor show in 2015, the new fastback is being positioned above the Passat as the new flagship model, rather than as a replacement for the CC.

We have already tried the Arteon on German roads with the range-topping 2.0 TSI and TDI engines. In addition, a 1.5 TSI (as found in the latest Golf), a 2.0 TSI 190 and 148bhp and 187bhp 2.0 TDIs will all be added to the range before the end of the year.

The 148bhp 2.0 TDI is the engine we are most interested in, because Volkswagen envisages that it will make up more than 60% of Arteon sales, with most opting for the seven-speed DSG auto, rather than the standard six-speed manual 'box.

So guess which configuration we chose?

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What's it like?

Volkswagen's 2.0 TDI engine isn’t a new unit on us. We have seen it in everything from the Golf through to the Tiguan, and the headlines are as follows: it’s a smooth, refined and frugal unit.

That is why its strengths aren’t a surprise in the Arteon. The oilburner is at its happiest when at a constant motorway cruise with the engine barely audible. It makes eating up large distances easy.

Where the 2.0 TDI comes up short is from a standstill, where it feels slightly sluggish and doesn’t pick up speed as quickly as at any other time. It’s not an inconvenience, but it is more trying when attempting a quick getaway at roundabouts or junctions.

The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is a delight, quickly and swiftly changing ratios around you without any fuss, while the ability to hold onto first gear compensates for the engine’s lack of thrust.

The ride on the Arteon is very good, having previously being left unconvinced with the car on 20in wheels. The larger side walls on the 18in and 19in alloys found as standard on the respective Elegance and R-Line trimmed cars help improve the overall damping, although the larger wheels do make the car more fidgety over broken surfaces.

Volkswagen has clearly set up the Arteon with cruising in mind and it shows with the way it has tuned the steering rack. It's quick, making the Arteon agile when cornering, while it's also remote and light.

Inside the Arteon is a tech fest. A 12.3in Active Info Display is fitted as standard, as is an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system, LED headlights and tri-zone climate control. That level of kit means it keeps pace - and, in some cases, beats - offerings from rivals.

Where the Arteon scores most points is on space. There's plenty of room up front and rear room puts the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé, Jaguar XE and Audi A5 Sportback in the shade. There is ample knee and leg room for a six-footer to get comfortable, even with someone the same size sat in front. However, shoulder room would be tight for three to sit side by side on the rear bench, while head room may seem limited to some due to the tapered roof – although not to the extent that some may experience in the back of an Audi A7, for example. 

Should I buy one?

For fleet drivers looking for a capable motorway cruiser fitted with loads of standard equipment and is stylish to boot, the Arteon would have to be on their list of cars to consider, alongside the 4 Series Gran Coupé and A5 Sportback.

While it has a huge space advantage over its rivals, the only concern is whether the 148bhp 2.0 TDI is the right fit. Yes, it's frugal and refined, but its struggles from standstill just leave you pining for a bit more power. That may push people towards the Arteon's competitors, at least until the 187bhp 2.0 TDI version arrives at the end of this year.

Volkswagen Arteon 2.0 TDI 150PS DSG

Where Watford; On sale Now; Price £34,305; Engine 1968cc, turbocharged diesel; Power 148bhp at 3500-4000rpm; Torque 251lb ft at 1750-3000rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic; Kerbweight 1643kg; Top speed 137mph; 0-62mph 9.1sec; Fuel economy 62.8mpg; CO2 rating 116g/km; Rivals BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé, Audi A5 Sportback

Join the debate


5 September 2017

Is that right? Afterall that's nearly 300kg heavier than the Telsa Model

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

5 September 2017

No, 1895kg is not correct. VW describe the 'minimum kerbweight' as 1643kg for the TDI 150 DSG. The manual knocks 30kg off that.

5 September 2017

Unsure really of the USP of this car? High priced and low powered and VW think this will be the best seller as people turn away from diesel? Surely a 4 series, or A5 isn't to far away on pricing...

5 September 2017

I saw one today near MK and it was striking enough to get your attention. But on the model I saw the wheels looked a little small for the car when trying to fill the arches. Overall, does look nice and stands out but I think the spec is key...and the engine too! Having had the 150bhp diesel in a Golf and also my wife currently has it in the Tiguan, I would definitely say plump for the uprated engine like I have now in the GTD. However, the price of that car will be worryingly high considering how much this 150bhp version is. I think VW should be pitching it at least £5k cheaper than advertised. 

5 September 2017

That is all.


6 September 2017

...that its looks suggest it should have.

6 September 2017

Not exactly cheap, but a lot less than some SUVs I can think of. 

Regardless, despite the 'new' styling and, no doubt, decent engineering beind it, somehow I find it distinctly unapealing! For one thing, it doesn't look as lean and sleek as the old Passat CC and interior looks little different too.

6 September 2017
Overdrive wrote:

Not exactly cheap, but a lot less than some SUVs I can think of. 

Regardless, despite the 'new' styling and, no doubt, decent engineering beind it, somehow I find it distinctly unapealing! For one thing, it doesn't look as lean and sleek as the old Passat CC and interior looks little different too.

I agree. VW have apparently ticked every box but I doubt I would seriously consider one if I was in this marke. Is it all just about rear seat space and the hours of fun squeezing the slush mouldings on the dasboard? There's a lot to be said for a bit of character, and telling people you went somewhere in 'The Jag', so I'd be working out just how much I really cared about that famed VW perceived quality.

6 September 2017

Sluggish for the price. I must be alone in thinking that acceleration should directly correlate to price. Which is why the Velar is such a rip-off. At 35K i'd expect this to be a 7sec car. 

7 September 2017

So it's a warmed over Passat with less room and a lowish powered diesel engine with an asking price of £34k,can't see any problems selling this one at all


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