Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake review

Category: Executive car

Coupé estate is not as practical as a full-blown estate car but still holds plenty of luggage and appeal

Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake front cornering
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake front cornering
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake rear cornering
  • VW Arteon Shooting Brake interior dashboard
  • VW Arteon Shooting Brake boot open
  • VW Arteon Shooting Brake interior infotainment
  • VW Arteon Shooting Brake right driving
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake front driving
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake front right driving
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake front right static
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake front right static
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake rear left static
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake alloy wheel detail
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake rear detail
  • VW Arteon Shooting Brake interior front seats
  • VW Arteon Shooting Brake interior back seats
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake front cornering
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake rear cornering
  • VW Arteon Shooting Brake interior dashboard
  • VW Arteon Shooting Brake boot open
  • VW Arteon Shooting Brake interior infotainment
  • VW Arteon Shooting Brake right driving
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake front driving
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake front right driving
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake front right static
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake front right static
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake rear left static
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake alloy wheel detail
  • Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake rear detail
  • VW Arteon Shooting Brake interior front seats
  • VW Arteon Shooting Brake interior back seats
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Introduction

What Car? says...

The Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake is designed to combine the good looks of a coupé with the load-lugging capacity of an estate car.

The shapely roof means it has less space than a conventional estate, but it’s a more spacious alternative to the – still rather practical – VW Arteon executive hatchback.

The Arteon Shooting Brake's name involves guns and car parts because in the early years of the motor car, shooting brakes were designed to carry all the paraphernalia for an upper-class shooting party (most cars back then were distinctly lacking in boot space). Beyond its gun-carrying capabilities, selecting rivals for the Arteon Shooting Brake isn’t clear cut.

You might be considering it as an alternative to more traditional estate cars, such as the Audi A4 Avant or the BMW 3 Series Touring. Or, you could be weighing it up against the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake which is available for similar money but is far smaller inside, or the similarly compact but cheaper Kia ProCeed.

So, is the VW Arteon Shooting Brake a square peg in a round hole, or will it fit perfectly into your life? Read on to find out what it’s like to drive, how spacious it is, how it compares with its rivals and how big a dent it will put in your bank balance.

Overview

The VW Arteon Shooting Brake offers a stylish alternative to boxier estate cars without losing very much at all in the way of practicality. It's really spacious, well equipped, has a pleasant interior and a decent range of engines. For private buyers, we recommend the 2.0 TSI 190 petrol engine and Elegance trim, but as a company car, the plug-in hybrid will be a better option.

  • Generally comfortable ride
  • Well equipped
  • Strong engine range
  • Sleeker looks don’t translate into a sharper drive
  • Premium rivals are smarter inside
  • Relatively steep depreciation
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The entry-level 148bhp 1.5 TSI 150 petrol engine is fine if you’re trying to minimise costs, but our pick of the VW Arteon Shooting Brake range is the 2.0 TSI 190 petrol.

Its bigger capacity and 187bhp poke mean it pulls strongly from below 2000rpm and zips you from 0-62mph in as little as 8.0 seconds (compared with 9.1 seconds for the 1.5 TSI 150).

If you’re a company car driver, we'd suggest the 1.4 TSI e-Hybrid. It has a 1.4-litre petrol engine boosted by an electric motor that’s powered by a small, 13kWh battery mounted under the boot floor. In total, there’s 215bhp available, so it’s a quick car.

The 0-62mph sprint time of 7.8 seconds makes it slightly quicker than the 2.0 TSI 190, but the real benefit of this plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is its ability to travel on electric power alone for up to 36 miles on a full charge (according to WLTP figures). That’s competitive against the BMW 330e Touring’s 37 miles, but short of the 47 miles from the Mercedes CLA 250e Shooting Brake.

The rest of the engines have a case to make too. The 2.0 TDI 150 and TDI 200 diesels have similar 0-62mph times as the petrols, but they offer stronger and more flexible mid-range oomph that’s twinned with excellent fuel economy.

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Meanwhile, the top-rung R model – with its 316bhp 2.0 TSI 320 engine and 4Motion four-wheel drive – is a rapid performance estate that will sling you from 0-62mph in just 4.9sec. We'd stop short of calling it exciting, though. It's slow to rev and feels rather flat – we prefer the power delivery and more pleasing six-cylinder engine note of the M340i BMW 3 Series Touring.

Speaking of engine noise, all the Arteon’s engines are generally smooth and quiet, The petrols are especially so, with the entry-level petrol being less rowdy than the equivalent Mercedes CLA 180 Shooting Brake. Even the diesels are well muted and the hybrid is clearly the quietest of the lot when running in electric mode.

The manual gearbox allows easy gear changes and the dual-clutch automatics are slick most of the time, but can be slightly hesitant and jerky in town traffic – the equivalents offered in the 3 Series Touring and the Mercedes C-Class Estate tend to be smoother and more responsive.

Road and wind noise on a motorway are well suppressed, but for the quietest estate car for this kind of cash, try the supremely unobtrusive Audi A4 Avant. There is an optional Acoustic Pack for the Arteon that adds laminated rear side windows to further cut out exterior noise.

The A4 Avant also offers the best ride in the estate car class, provided you opt for the smallest wheels. The same applies if you want the best ride from your Arteon Shooting Brake, because larger 19in or 20in wheels will lead to more thudding over potholes. Stick to the smaller 18in wheels, though, and its soft suspension is pleasantly wafty, riding the highs and lows of town and country roads with grace.

Things can get slightly loose in terms of body control over any really undulating parts, which is where the optional adaptive suspension (DCC) comes to the rescue – you can firm it up at the touch of a button. The R model has DCC as standard and – in line with its sportier brief – a much tauter suspension set-up. It’s never too jarring, though.

With its four-wheel-drive system, the R deploys its power very effectively even in damp conditions, but it’s nothing like as agile or fun to drive as the M340i Touring. And that theme applies to the rest of the Arteon Shooting Brake range.

The reasonably squidgy suspension means comfort has taken more of a priority, so there’s a fair bit of body lean in corners. There’s plenty of grip to exploit and the steering is precise and well-weighted, but the Arteon just doesn’t respond as keenly as its rivals, especially against the finely balanced 3 Series Touring.

Driving overview

Strengths Punchy and quiet engines; hushed cruiser; great long-distance comfort

Weaknesses Tidy handling, rather than fun; slightly hesitant automatic gearbox

Blue VW Arteon Shooting Brake rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

You feel like you’re sitting a little higher up in the VW Arteon Shooting Brake than you would be in most rivals, including the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake. That gives the Arteon slightly less of that low-slung, sporty feel from behind the wheel. Still, the driving position is mainly sound.

There’s lots of steering wheel adjustment and, even in the entry-level Elegance trim, a six-way-adjustable driver’s seat, with electric operation of the seatback and lumbar support. If you want full power adjustment, or memory and massage functions, you’ll need to raid the options list or go for the sporty R model, which has these features as standard.

The dashboard is lifted wholesale from the outgoing VW Passat, which is no bad thing. It shares the same logically placed buttons and switches, so it’s easy to use in the main. We have a quibble with the use of touch-sensitive buttons for the climate controls and on the steering wheel, though – they’re much harder to operate while you’re driving than physical buttons found on the Audi A4 Avant.

The Arteon's touchscreen infotainment system is decent by class standards. The 8.0in touchscreen has responsive software, the screen’s definition is crisp and the menus don’t take long to grasp.

It includes built-in sat-nav, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring as standard. A larger 9.2in screen, with online services and wireless phone-charging, is optional and there’s an upgrade available for the standard eight-speaker stereo: it’s a 10-speaker, 700-watt Harman Kardon sound system.

The VW Digital Cockpit driver display is standard on all trims. It’s a 10.3in screen that takes the place of analogue instrument dials, allowing various configurations on the style and the substance of what’s being displayed. For added convenience, you also have the option of adding a head-up display, which projects important information such as speed or sat-nav directions straight on to the windscreen. 

There’s better visibility in the Arteon Shooting Brake than there is in the CLA Shooting Brake, thanks in part to its relatively thin windscreen pillars. The view out the rear is slightly better than the outlook from the rear of the regular VW Arteon hatchback.

Standard front and rear parking sensors assist with any parking woes, while entry-level Elegance trim (but not mid-trim R-Line, oddly) also has a rear-view camera. If you need more reassurance, a 360-degree parking camera is optional on all trim levels.

To help at night, all models get bright LED headlights as standard, but adaptive LED headlights – called IQ. Light – are optional. You can leave these on main beams and they adapt their light pattern automatically to prevent dazzling other road users.

Elsewhere, Volkswagen has made efforts to jazz up the Arteon’s interior with ritzy trim inserts and contrasting stitching on the seats. The higher up the trim level ladder you go, the flashier the fixtures and fittings become, at least subjectively.

Objectively, the fit and finish is good – better in many respects than the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake's – but the Audi A4 Avant and BMW 3 Series Touring are even better.

Interior overview

Strengths Great visibility; sound driving position

Weaknesses Some may prefer a lower seating position; fiddly touch-operated controls

VW Arteon Shooting Brake interior dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

The VW Arteon Shooting Brake has loads of space up front, with plenty of head and leg room and feeling much more airy than the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake.

There’s also as much storage space as you could need, comprising two big cupholders, a useful cubby below the heater controls and more storage under the front armrest. Plus, you’ll find a big glovebox and carpeted door bins that’ll swallow what’s left of your odds and ends.

But it’s in the back that the Arteon really scores over its rivals. The leg room on offer is vast: much better than anything you’ll find in the rear of other shooting brakes, such as the Kia ProCeed and the Mercedes CLA, or regular estate cars, such as the Mercedes C-Class Estate and BMW 3 Series Touring. There’s also more head room than inside the regular Arteon hatchback, which itself isn’t tight, because the roofline isn’t as sloping.

Then there's the boot. It’s a very big boot indeed. With the rear seats up, the 590-litre capacity is greater than inside the BMW 5 Series Touring and easily enough for a couple of golf bags or all the average family’s holiday accoutrements. Bear in mind that if you go for the eHybrid model, the capacity drops to 455 litres, which is a little bit smaller than the boot of the Ford Focus Estate.

There are some negatives to consider. The boot load lip is quite high compared with some of its rivals, you can’t option a height-adjustable boot floor and there’s quite a ramp in the middle of the boot floor when you fold down the rear seatbacks. Those are split 60/40, while many rivals offer a 40/20/40 split. There is a handy ski hatch for longer, thinner items.

Practicality overview

Strengths Huge boot; plenty of space for occupants

Weaknesses Rivals have more versatile rear seats

VW Arteon Shooting Brake boot open

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The VW Arteon Shooting Brake is a little pricey. It costs similar – or even higher – than some premium offerings, such as the Audi A4 Avant, the BMW 3 Series Touring and the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake. And by the time you get to the R model, you’re paying the same amount as a BMW M340i Touring, and that seems rather excessive.

We’d definitely look for great up-front discounts to negate the high prices, starting with our New Car Deals service because otherwise you’ll suffer the heavy depreciation. The Arteon Shooting Brake is going to shed value quicker than many rivals, including the 3 Series Touring and especially the CLA Shooting Brake, which tends to have rock-solid resale values.

The 2.0 TSI 190 petrol offers sensible running costs and average fuel economy of around 40mpg, while the 2.0 TDI 150 diesel will bump that to around 60mpg. If you’re a company car driver, then consider the eHybrid plug-in hybrid – that offers real advantages for lowering your benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax.

Because of the Arteon’s relatively high price, we’d stick with entry-level Elegance trim to keep things sensible. It still has a long list of goodies, including 18in alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, front and rear climate control, keyless entry, power-folding door mirrors, heated front seats, and that’s on top of the parking aids and infotainment features we’ve covered.

R-Line adds 19in alloys, privacy glass, ambient lighting and a panoramic roof, while the high-performance R model gets all the sporty upgrades we mentioned earlier and a heated steering wheel, leather sports seats and black carbon inserts on the dashboard.

Euro NCAP awarded the VW Arteon its maximum five-star safety rating back in 2017. We've poked into the finer details of that test and found that the Arteon scored similarly on adult occupant protection to the Mercedes CLA but was marginally weaker at protecting kids in the back seats. Overall, it was a good set of results, though.

Standard safety kit includes automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian sensing, traffic sign recognition, e-Call emergency and lane-departure warning. Blind-spot monitoring is also standard on the Elegance and R trim but optional on the R-Line model.

A three-year or 60,000-mile warranty comes with every Arteon Shooting Brake, which is the bare minimum you’d hope to get with a new car.

The Arteon didn’t fare well in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey and finished second from bottom in the Coupé and Sports Cars class. As a brand, Volkswagen finished in 22nd place out of the 32 included manufacturers – above Audi and Land Rover but below Lexus (in first place), Volvo, BMW and Porsche. 

Costs overview

Strengths Well equipped; relatively frugal engines

Weaknesses Higher entry-level list price than rivals

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VW Arteon Shooting Brake interior infotainment

FAQs

  • It's is one of the more spacious options when it comes to being a more sharply-styled estate car. It’s not as sharp to drive as some rivals, but manages to remain comfortable and doesn’t compromise on practicality too much from its boxier alternatives.

  • The VW Arteon Shooting Brake is 4866mm long.

  • Both cars have four doors and and a hatchback style boot opening, but the Shooting Brake comes in a more practical estate bodystyle than the regular VW Arteon.

At a glance
New car deals
Save up to £3,641
Target Price from £41,099
Save up to £3,641
or from £426pm
Swipe to see used car deals
Nearly new deals
From £29,980
RRP price range £44,305 - £60,655
Number of trims (see all)3
Number of engines (see all)4
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol, diesel
MPG range across all versions 31.7 - 55.4
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £2,692 / £4,362
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £5,383 / £8,725
Available colours