Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake long-term test: report 2

The Shooting Brake is a sleek new estate version of Volkswagen’s Arteon executive car. We're living with it to see if it has substance as well as style...

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake long-term test review

The car Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake 2.0 TSI 190 R-Line Run by Alastair Clements, special contributor

Why it’s here We're big fans of Volkswagen's coupé/saloon mash-up, but is an estate version a niche too far?

Needs to Feel special enough to justify the price premium over a conventional estate, without sacrificing that all-important practicality

Mileage 5815 List price £38,790 Target Price £33,131 Price as tested £46,920 Test economy 32.1mpg Official economy 35.6mpg

23 June 2021 – On the pull

You might look at my Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake and wonder where the latter part of its name comes from.

Well, you see, during the 1960s and ’70s, the ‘Shooting Brake’ label tended to be applied to sporty two-door cars that had received an aftermarket makeover to offer a little practicality for the hunting, shooting and fishing brigade. Far from mere load-haulers, cars such as the Aston Martin DB5 Radford and Ferrari 330GTC Vignale were true gentlemen’s expresses with a bit of extra space for a couple of Purdey shotguns and a spaniel.

Volkswagen Arteon SB long-term test review

But the origins of the tag lie much further back, to the inter-war period when wealthy landowners would have a high-end chassis from the likes of Rolls-Royce sent to their favoured coachbuilder to be panelled (usually in wood) as a large, luxurious workhorse, complete with a third row of seats and gun mounts, for use during the hunting season.

The Arteon Shooting Brake combines these two approaches, melding the style of those ’60s GTs with the practicality that was so in vogue in the 1930s. There are no gun mounts and only two rows of seats, but I have yet to find a challenge that it won’t rise to, be that carting around furniture, pets or the family and all their kit.

Volkswagen Arteon SB long-term test review

Most recently, I needed to deploy its optional (£865) fold-away towbar to help move around a few caravans ahead of the What Car? Tow Car Awards test week, in association with The Camping and Caravanning Club.

I suspected that it would make a decent fist of the job, the standard Arteon having won the Tow Car Awards overall in 2019, and I wasn’t disappointed. The 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine in my car needs to be stretched a little more than a diesel, but the Arteon’s stability even with a fully loaded Adria Altea caravan behind was remarkable.

Volkswagen Arteon SB long-term test review

Fuel consumption took a hit, from more 40mpg on the drive up to the Horiba Mira proving ground to around 22mpg when towing, but that is to be expected. Instead, the biggest downside was how easy it was to spin the front wheels when pulling away, something I’ve also noticed in normal driving when pulling smartly out of a junction. 

If you were to do a lot of towing, then, the 2.0 TDI 4Motion model might be a better bet, with the extra traction from its four-wheel drive, but otherwise my Arteon Shooting Brake is hard to fault.

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