The Volkswagen Arteon is Volkswagen’s posh new flagship and it’s clear from the onset that the Arteon has premium car ambitions.

On looks alone for sure the Volkswagen Arteon can mix it with the big boys. The styling is the most avant garde of Volkswagen’s range of vehicles and this is an extremely handsome car.

Described as a ‘gran turismo’, the Arteon is a five door fastback (think hatchback), slotting in above the Passat, with a beautiful coupé-like profile. The car has width and presence in abundance. Frameless windows add even more prestige.

With pricing starting from €41,495, the Volkswagen Arteon is by no means cheap but this car has some serious interior space. It is huge inside. The rear legroom is limo-like and despite that beautiful coupé-like styling, headroom is not compromised. The hatchback style boot opens, electrically of course, to reveal a 563 litre boot.

Yet from behind the steering wheel, the Arteon is very Passat. The Passat has a fantastic high quality and beautifully designed interior for its class of vehicle but unfortunately it’s a bit underwhelming in the Arteon. Comfortable of course and perfectly functional but lacking the wow factor one might expect from an expensive gran turismo vying for the attention of Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW buyers. An 8” touchscreen comes as standard but there is the option of Volkswagen’s 9.2” Discover Pro Navigation system, which looks great in the centre of the dash.

My test car was powered by the entry level 2.0-litre TDI with 150hp (from €43,650) with 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox. The combination works well. The diesel is not the most refined at low speeds around town but smooths out to barely a whisper on the open road. The Arteon has excellent long distance cruise ability and is comfortable for the long haul. Buyers seeking more power will find it in the 2.0TDI with 190hp (from €48,395) or the top of the range 2.0TDI 240hp 4MOTION. There is also the option of a 1.5-litre (150hp) or 2.0-litre (190hp) TSI petrol.

The Arteon handles predictably and contains itself well in corners despite being sized extra large. The steering weights up well in the corners but there is little feedback and buyers looking for any keen dynamism should look elsewhere.

Volkswagen Arteon review ireland
The Volkswagen Arteon is a large, long distance cruiser with plenty of kerb appeal

Standard equipment is very good including 18” alloys, adaptive cruise control, park distance control, rain sensing wipers, tri zone climate control and a three year free subscription to Car-Net ‘Security & Service’, a new concierge system that can call the emergency services should you have an accident and allow you to remotely check data about your car, among other functions. My Elegance test car (from €44,195) had leather/Alcantara upholstery, ambient lighting, voice control, digital instrument panel and rear view camera. R-Line models start from €45,995 with 19” alloys, sporty ‘R-Line‘ steering wheel and seats, running rear indicators, dynamic headlight range control with dynamic cornering function, and adaptive chassis control on the 240hp model.

The Volkswagen Arteon is a strikingly handsome car and the price is likely to keep it as a more exclusive offering in the Volkswagen range and add to the aura of desirability. The Arteon is a very handsome car and can certainly grab attention but can it keep it? Quality, space and comfort are the Arteon’s best attributes, but the Arteon falls short on the dynamic appeal that one might expect from a car that looks this good. But for Volkswagen fans happy to pay a premium, the new Arteon is a safe choice.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Volkswagen Arteon Elegance 2.0TDI DSG 150hp
€48,550 (Range starts at €41,495)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Torque: 340Nm
9.1 seconds
Top speed: 220km/h
CO2 emissions:  
Motor tax: 
€200 per year