Space and practicality
Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot
There’s plenty of leg room in the front of both cars, and while six-footers won’t find head room to spare with the cars’ optional panoramic roofs fitted, it’s good enough. Each offers good separation between you and your front passenger, although the XE doesn’t provide as much storage for knick-knacks as the Arteon.
Move to the rear seats or open the boot and these cars are chalk and cheese. Two tall adults will struggle for leg room behind lanky front-seat occupants in the XE. And seating three abreast? That’s nigh on impossible. Sit in the back of the Arteon and, although head room isn’t much better than in the XE, leg room is up there with the class best, plus there’s room for three adults to sit side by side.
The XE’s boot opening is narrow and shallow and the space relatively confined; we squeezed in only five carry-on suitcases. You don’t get split-folding rear seats, either, unless you pay £420. In the Arteon’s boot, the hatchback tailgate means you can get larger items inside than you would in the Passat saloon, let alone the XE, and we managed to load eight carry-on suitcases. If you need more space, the rear seats fold in a 60/40 split.
Official boot capacity 455 litres Suitcase capacity 5
Both cars offer similar room up front, but the XE is tight for tall adults in the rear; a high central tunnel makes sitting a third rear passenger very tricky. The boot is small, with an angled floor and other intrusions that limit space further.
Official boot capacity 563-1557 litres Suitcase capacity 8
Rear head room is similar to the XE, but leg room is vastly better – easily fine for six-footers. While the width is the same on paper, in reality the Arteon can fit three abreast in the back. Hatchback gives better access to huge boot.
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