VW Arteon 280 bhp 4motion (yes, the full fat one) – Honest Review (2017 car)
Firstly, I do not claim to be a professional driver, nor reviewer but I’ll do my best to capture the car I’ve owned for over 12 months. Please also excuse any “grammar” moments.
Standing still (8/10)
It’s a big, wide car. I owned an E39 BMW and it’s wider than that. It will just about fit in my garage. It’s also very long, approaching 5m. I’m quite weary down country lanes. Not much fun here. Very imposing though it is, it is not that type of car.
IMHO, it has a “Godzilla” like profile (side on) to its front. Remember, I used to own a Nissan GTR that was the real …………………………………………… never mind.
Much in the vain of the GTR it has rather large hips. The doors are pillar-less and give it a pseudoesque coupe shape. I love the swoop to the rear tailgate and subtle spoiler. It is termed a Sportback by VW, as it has no rear wiper but I think that’s fanciful. Underneath, it’s a Skoda Superb with added badge snobbery.
This car was bought as a director’s demonstrator so it is fully loaded bar heated screen and acoustic glass. Hence the 20” rims. Preferred the silver finish but hey ho. BTW, the head up display is something I really wanted. It’s a gimmick and not used since.
Paint is very soft for a German car. Easily swirled but easily corrected. You would not want to do that too many times as it’s also quite thin hand has a horrible “orange peel” effect. Much like most VWs now. Not the best quality so a mark was docked.
However, the car receives quite a lot of complimentary remarks. Most of the time, I do have to say “no, it’s not the Passat CC”.
Pure Passat inside but that’s not why I’ve marked it down. It’s a nice place to sit. Comfy and has nice touches but (and VW, are you listening?) it has too many squeaks and creaks, especially around the drivers A pillar. Also, some of the plastics are a bit hard. Not really the flagship VW thinks it is.
It has been back twice to VW to sort the creaks and guess what? They can’t hear them. I can, and I’m deaf in my left ear and below 50% in my right! If I put my hearing aids in, well, it’s a bit rubbish.
Thankfully I sourced one with the Dynaudio sound system. It’s great so an extra mark in my score.
SAT NAV is very good although it does take more time than I like, for it to boot up. Postcode and touch screen. These also have the virtual dash too so you can configure what to see dead ahead. Massage driver’s seat is nice, as were the rear heated seats during winter for our boys. Easy to get comfy and feel part of the car.
It’s huge inside. Other than the slopping roofline for rear passengers (hasn’t troubled anyone yet) it has wonderful space for 4. The rear middle seat is not sculpted and a little flat so can be tiresome after an hour.
The boot is excellent. It even accommodates a full size spare alloy wheel in the well, along with the Dynaudio subwoofer.
Standard DSG affair, with 7 speeds and paddle shift. It has several driving modes but if you are in a hurry don’t use ECO or Comfort. If you kick down in these modes, the car will ask you;
“Are you sure about that Sir?”
(ME) “Yes I am”
“No, are you really, really sure about that Sir as you don’t want any mischief”.
In Normal and Sport, it responds nicely, although Sport brings with it, more fake V8 sounds than Donald Trump could fake up.
Handling (7/10) and Ride (9/10)
Handling is as you expect. Safe and benign. But it’s a big bus so it doesn’t like thuggish behaviour. Leave that to the Golf R.
In the wet, the 4WD system is very subtle. It expected more from it since my wife had an Audi TT Quattro that was grippier than a grippy thing in Grippysville.
This understeers and then gathers itself up. It comes on Pirelli PZeros. Don’t like them. They seem to be hard but not hard wearing. They are noisy and scrabble for grip. Unbecoming of this type of car. When they are spanked, I will get something better.
Ride quality is however very good. This is a much stretched wheelbase. Even with those tyres and 20” rims, it is more than agreeable. In comfort mode, it’s very soothing.
I’ve set the car in “Individual” mode. Configured everything to NORMAL except set the dynamic chassis control dampers to extreme comfort. A little floaty in the corners but still a nice setup.
Its, just a big Golf R with a slightly detuned engine so offers brisk progress. I haven’t used the launch control but it just monsters away from standstill. It’s genuinely hilarious, getting this to pick up its skirt and hustle. Not sure what it looks like for the bystander though.
In sport mode especially, it’s always in the sweet spot of torque.
Running Costs (8/10)
So far, no consumables but one service recently cost £250. Didn’t feel much different afterwards. I’m a conservative driver (yes I am), and get 35 mpg in mixed driving. I have averaged 40 mpg on a motorway stint. I only use Shell V Power or Tesco Momentum fuel. However, I was forced to buy normal unleaded, as the was desperately low and passing Morrisons. The car felt notably more resistive to drive but averaged more mpg! Go figure.
No warranty claims costed, although some niggles still haven’t been sorted by VW.
Poor sill protection (chips easily), cabin creaks, keyless locking and unlocking (now finally sorted).
Service from two different dealerships has been very, very poor. I’m in the process of making complaints to their head office. Based on the competencies seen so far, expect a fob off.
Not much to say but a mark deducted for the creaks. My wife has a 2016 Mercedes A Class (AMG style so hard “sporty” setup) and that doesn’t creak. Same miles now as well. The quality of its fixtures and fittings are much better than the Arteon. The quality of the tactile surfaces and buttons are also in a different league.
A very accomplished car that will be an absolute bargain for depreciation lovers everywhere.
It does everything well, with boring confidence, in a beautiful body (much like my wife).
The score would be 8.3/10, but I’ve round down, due to unacceptable dealer service. I will update, when I hear from VW about my complaint, but the car is very nice.
If you are looking for more driving engagement, buy a BMW 4 Gran Coupe.