For these sorts of trips – you know, the ones you really, really don’t feel like making – the Arteon just works. I arrived at the airport car park still not quite feeling fresh, but certainly a hell of a lot more relaxed than I would have been in, say, a Renault Mégane RS 280 Cup.
So being reserved and prioritising comfort over raw driver engagement isn’t always a bad thing, then. Am I any more enamoured with the Arteon’s under-the-radar vibe, though? Well, the fact I forgot where I parked it immediately after I arrived back at the airport terminal might answer that question. Just as well we spent an extra £595 and specified our car with eye-catching Chilli Red metallic paint – it stands out a mile.
SMOOTH RIDE Soft chassis set-up makes for a comfortable long-distance tourer, if not a particularly exciting or engaging one.
DSG GEARBOX Generally smooth and responsive, but at low speeds it can be slow to find the right gear and can deliver a bit of a shunt when it does.
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Unexpected economy - 19th September 2018
That talking tree from Lord of the Rings had it right: variations in the Earth’s gravitational field really do make going south like going downhill (if you’re north of the equator). To Devon, the Arteon did 49mpg on the way ‘down’ and only 46 on the way home. The 1.5-litre turbo engine coped with a heavy load, and we had plenty of living space. Family holiday test? Passed with distinction. M
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Swoopy-roofed fastback steps up as support vehicle on adult-shaming charity run - 5th September 2018
Can a hatchback/fastback do everything an estate car or SUV can? I didn’t plan on finding out, but logistical headaches meant I had do.
Pictured here is my lad, Red. Red is 15, and before the summer break he came home from school and said he fancied swimming the English channel during the holidays. Which is fine, we said, but are you sure you can swim that far? Besides, where do we get the goose fat?
Alright, he said, how about I run from one side of the country to the other? Great, we said. At Hadrian’s Wall, which stretches from Bownesson-Solway to Wallsend (obvs) in Newcastle, England is 84 miles wide. Running the length of that, to somebody like me, whose plans for my summer holiday at Red’s age included ‘playing a bit of snooker’ and ‘having a nap after a tiring game of snooker’, sounded amazing.
Red reckoned it would take five days and found a charity based near the run’s end to raise some money for.
So I arranged to be in one of our long-termers, a practical 4x4, to support him. Only then I had to leave it for a colleague at Mazda-tuner BBR GTi’s place in Brackley, because I am an idiot, and found myself in the Volkswagen Arteon instead, wondering if everything would fit.
Which it did. In no particular order, what you see here is the kit needed to find a lad out on the road and keep him fed and watered when he’s running 17 miles a day for five days: a 12V cool box, a two-ring stove and gas bottle, a 20-litre water canister, a mountain bike (my 1992 Marin Palisades Trail, classic mountain bike fans), clothing for three for five days, towels and coats and rugs, a parasol and a water-filled base for it, three camp chairs (including one very large one), a helluva lot of food and drink, more shoes/trainers than you’d think necessary, and first aid supplies. Anything else? Probably. I forget.