Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake long-term test

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 SB 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 8682 List price £39,550 Target Price £33,560 Price as tested £46,920 Test economy 32.1mpg Official economy 35.6mpg Total running costs (excluding depreciation) £142 Dealer price now £31,611 Private price now £28,098 Trade-in price now £27,770

24 August 2021 – Farewell to our Volkswagen Arteon

So few are my gripes with the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake after our time together that I may as well get them out of the way first.

The touch-sensitive buttons are a bit too, well, sensitive; the cruise control’s ‘Travel Assistant’ occasionally decided that I was going too fast and adjusted my speed without asking; and there was a bit of wind noise at motorway speeds.

Volkswagen Arteon long-term test review

The latter issue is, I suppose, the price you pay for style; the pillarless doors look fantastic but, despite their double glazing, they don’t seal quite as well as traditional frames.

Oh, and despite me repeatedly cleaning the rubber and the glass, I couldn’t prevent the rear wiper from making a noisy groan on its first few sweeps of the screen. 

That’s about it. The rest of our relationship has been one of blissful tessellation. For all its ‘five-door coupé’ pretensions – and it does draw lots of admiring glances and approving comments – the Arteon Shooting Brake is a practical and comfortable daily driver.

Volkswagen Arteon long-term test review

A few choice upgrades helped to make it particularly pleasant behind the wheel, not least the expensive but superb ergoComfort driver’s seat with 14-way electric adjustment and memory settings (£1170).

The perspex head-up display (£530) also helped, looking a bit clumsier than those that simply project onto the windscreen, but offering such fantastic clarity that using it soon became second nature.

I’d be tempted to try a conventionally sprung car before opting for the £925 Dynamic Chassis Control adjustable suspension again – it was left in ‘Normal’ most of the time after my passengers complained that ‘Sport’ was too firm and ‘Comfort’ a bit wallowy – but other standard features also merit mention for the way they make the car so easy to live with, such as the excellent auto-hold function for the DSG automatic gearbox.

Volkswagen Arteon Gran Turismo 2020 Centre Console

And after several thousand miles the Arteon returned fuel economy that was surprisingly close to the official figure – particularly impressive considering that those miles included plenty of town driving and even a fair bit of towing.

On a long journey I saw as much as 50.2mpg, yet when called upon the 2.0-litre engine can be engaging and responsive, delivering flexible performance with a pleasingly sporty edge to the exhaust note when revved hard.

Having previously run – and very much enjoyed – the Arteon’s Volkswagen Passat Estate sibling, I was interested to see if the additional style and sporting pretensions would compromise its abilities in other areas.

Volkswagen Arteon long-term test review

Not a bit of it. If anything, the Shooting Break is even roomier in the back, where my kids loved its vast amounts of leg room and the sense that they had really been considered in the design of the interior, with its individual rear controls for the air-con, sculpted seats and various charging points. 

Further back, the high load lip can be a pain when lugging boxes into the boot, but it retains the huge, estate-car-rivalling capacity in the rear while keeping a rakish roofline, so I reckon it’s a price worth paying. And despite the gentler slope of the tailgate, it never felt as if it was giving much away in terms of outright space compared with my old Passat.

Choosing a car when you have a family to consider, or you need additional space to carry clients for business meetings, tends to add a perfunctory edge to the buying process. Unless your budget runs into lottery-win territory, the pursuit of practicality often means relinquishing style, driver reward and the sense of excitement of owning something really special.

Volkswagen Arteon long-term test review

But the Arteon Shooting Brake bucks that trend. It’s not cheap, but nor is it an impossible stretch away from more mundane wagons, and it offers feel-good factor by the bucketload. 

Proof positive that you can have your cake and eat it… and have room in the back for another two dozen or so cakes, in case you’re still feeling peckish.

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