Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake long-term test: report 3

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 6869 List price £38,790 Target Price £33,131 Price as tested £46,920 Test economy 33.9mpg Official economy 35.6mpg

16 July 2021 – Getting away from it all

There’s nothing quite like a family holiday to really get to know a car, both to reinforce its qualities and highlight its shortcomings. And boy have we missed the ability to get away over the past year, so as soon as it was permitted I booked a few days away on the Isle of Wight.

My wife was stuck at home with work commitments, so it was just me, my two daughters and one of the dogs – and, as a result, even packing the kitchen sink, we had palatial amounts of space. 

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake long-term test review

It might look as if it prioritises chic over capacity, but the Arteon Shooting Brake is cavernous inside. True, the high load lip – and the subsequent drop down into the boot on the other side – means you need a nimble canine, but that’s no challenge for our young spaniel and he loved the ‘ski flap’ that meant he could get some attention from the girls en route.

They were comfortable, too: rear leg room is excellent, even with my seat pushed right back, and they are spoiled with their own air-con controls, the all-important selection of charging points, and even heated seats (albeit the latter a hefty £805 option).

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake long-term test review

Despite that, there’s always a bit of a fight for the front seat, mainly so they can change the colour of the backlit trim inlays and dashboard theme, with a choice of up to 30 different shades. 

Irritatingly, every time they do so, or try to change the radio station, they brush against the touch-sensitive air-con controls beneath, sending the fan into overdrive, changing the temperature or turning it off completely. I have the same frustration with the steering wheel-mounted controls, which are a curious blend of conventional buttons and touch-sensitive surfaces; two months in I still haven’t quite got the hang of them.

That doesn’t detract from what is a very rewarding car to drive, though. While it lacks some of the dynamism of, say, a BMW 3 Series Touring, with a tendency to push its nose wide if you are over-eager through tighter bends, it’s a pleasure both on a long motorway haul and on a twisty country road – something the Isle of Wight has plenty of.

Here the ‘Sport’ mode of my car’s optional (£925) Dynamic Chassis Control comes into its own. It’s too firm for town or motorway use, but when you’re enjoying a challenging route it delivers excellent body control that helps the Arteon change direction far better than you’d expect from such a big car.

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake long-term test review

It sharpens up the accelerator response from the wonderfully flexible engine, too, though I tend to find that the automatic gearbox gets a bit too aggressive, and I use the steering-wheel-mounted paddles instead – even if the car is a bit too eager to override its ‘manual’ mode and take back control.

So, I’m happy behind the wheel, the kids are happy in the back… even the dog is happy? Not a bad way to start your holiday – all we needed was the Great British weather to keep those smiles on our faces.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Read more on our long-term Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake >>

Read about more long-term test cars >>

Also consider