Review: VW Arteon 2.0 TDI 150PS

Want to know how the Volkswagens of tomorrow will look? Check out the Arteon. This is the style that all VWs in the future will wear, bringing to our roads a look that first appeared on a concept car back in 2015. Like it? Here’s hoping…

Fleet drivers will be among the first to enjoy the kudos: the new Arteon is aimed at the upscale corporate market, with a range of engines including a high-performance 2.0-litre TSI engine with all-wheel drive. Here, though, we’re testing the volume 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI, a derivative that will make up more than six in 10 sales.

The engine isn’t new. It’s already fitted to umpteen Volkswagens. No surprise to discover it’s smooth and efficient, then, rousing barely a murmur at the motorway speeds so many fleet drivers cover most of their miles.

We tested our car in DSG seven-speed automatic guise, rather than the standard six-speed manual. This is an excellent gearbox, changing gear quickly and smoothly – which helps disguise some of the engine’s lack of oomph. It’s pretty lethargic away from a standstill, which can be a bit of a hindrance at, say, roundabouts or junctions.

Best instead to sit back and enjoy the ride. Our test car wasn’t wearing the fancy 20-inch optional wheels, so was rather smoother and more cushioned over broken surfaces, fidgeting only occasionally over really bad roads. Light, remote steering reflects this laid-back nature, and even the relatively quick speed of the steering works more to make it easier to drive rather than adding any real alacrity.

What’s it like inside? Very spacious and comfortable, that’s what. Those coming to it from a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe or Jaguar XE will be amazed at the space on offer, particularly in the rear. The boot is voluminous too, and although the tapered roof makes headroom a little snug for tall people, it’s still more accommodating than a much larger Audi A7 Sportback. 

The tech-laden dash is impressive. Fitted as standard is a large 8.0in touchscreen sat nav infotainment system and 12.3in Active Info Display instruments, bettering any similar-priced alternative and adding a standout feature as a result.

All of which makes it a fleet-focused alternative well worth a look. It ticks all the practicality boxes, is good value for money and the efficient 148bhp TDI diesel is cost-effective, albeit not exactly quick. Indeed, this is the only thing that could make us…

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