Road test: VW Arteon
Good looking, quiet and efficient: but the 1.5 petrol engine struggles
What is it?
Mazda has updated the MX-5 sports car. Both the roadster and the retractable hard-top model now have more powerful engines, extra safety kit, and a reach-adjustable steering wheel.
How green is it?
Reasonably so for a sports car. The most fuel-efficient and lightest models emit 143g/km of CO2, and achieve a combined WLTP figure of 44.8mpg.
Who should buy one?
Anyone who enjoys driving, and appreciates a car that’s tactile, precise and exciting. So long as you can live with just two seats and a tiny boot…
Road test by David Motton, March 2019
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
Remember VW’s ‘Coupé Cabriolet’ from a few years back? There are similarities between that and this stylish executive offering. The Arteon we tested had the same 1.5 TSI petrol engine that’s found in the Golf. From a performance point of view it did everything we needed efficiently, and economically, too. Whilst not delivering masses in terms of driving experience, it was quiet and efficient in nearly every road situation – something particularly welcome if you plan a lot of motorway driving, where the lack of intrusive road and wind noise ensures a pleasant experience. If you thrash the engine, you will hear some notes of complaint. It’s at these times that you’re aware of a ‘disconnect’ between the premium luxury feel of the vehicle and the sounds of complaint from its engine. But there was little need for harsh acceleration, and the 1.5-litre petrol engine delivered what we required. When only a light touch is needed, the ‘cylinder deactivation’ functionality kicks in and the engine operates as a two-cylinder (rather than four-), leading to better economy.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Climb into the front seats and you will love the high-end luxury feel of the Arteon. With its longer wheelbase, it will also find favour among any passengers with long legs. It’s no penance for those in the rear-seats, either, with acres and acres of legroom. Even a three-abreast journey would be tolerable. The one spoiler, however, is that the sloping roof does compromise headroom in the rear seats. The good news is that the small windows in the C-pillars add plenty of light in the back, and add to the overall feeling of space.
If you’re looking for a good, big boot then the Arteon will not disappoint. Its 563-litre offering is only 23 litres short of the Passat’s, so there’s room for all your holiday luggage, golf clubs or a fortnight’s groceries. If you still need more, then drop the reat seats down to create a usable space measuring a very generous 1557 litres.
Features include proactive occupant protection, which uses sensors from the ‘Front Assist’ monitoring system to detect critical situations. The Driver Alert functionality includes fatigue detection, while the bonnet features sensors that will activate pedestrian protection in the event of an impact. The Arteon received a five-star rating from Euro NCAP.
Elegance cars have LED headlights, 12.3-inch digital screen, keyless start, 18-inch alloys, climate control, heated front seats and cruise control. Opt for the sportier R-Line spec and you get 19-or 20-inch alloys as well as rear privacy glass. If you choose the most powerful 2.0 TSI version with R-Line you will tip over the £40,000 threshold and end up paying £450 a year in tax for the first five years.
Expect to pay from around £32,000 for the 2.0 TDI Elegance. The range-topping petrol R-Line costs from £40,425. There’s a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, while extended VW servicing intervals will help with running costs.
WE SAY Good looking, quiet and efficient: but the 1.5 petrol engine struggles
AT A GLANCE:
Performance: 0-62 in 8.9 secs
Figures for the Arteon Elegance 1.5 TSI EVO 150 PS 7 spd DSG