The new Arteon is VW’s new large “4 door Coupe” hatchback, in the same vein as the Passat CC. A sleek, fastback based on the same platform as the Passat, VW Passat and Skoda Superb. Fred was impressed with it when he drove it at the New Zealand launch event, so I had been looking forward to having it to myself for a week.

The Range

VW have chosen to bring just one spec level of the Arteon to New Zealand – the R-Line, priced at $74,995. And you get a lot for your money. There’s a 2.0l four cylinder turbo motor producing 206kW and 350Nm, driving all four wheels via a seven-speed DSG transmission. 0-100 is dealt with in a spritely 5.6 seconds.

The standard spec includes ESP, Electronic diff lock, 7 airbags, hill start assist, tyre pressure monitor, pedestrian monitoring with active bonnet, driver fatigue detection, radar cruise, city emergency braking, lane assist, side assist plus, and rear traffic alert. There’s also DCC adaptive dampers, 19” alloys, LED headlights with cornering and dynamic light assist, power mirrors, park Assist, area view camera, 3 zone aircon, keyless entry, 8 speaker audio, satnav, Apple Carplay, Android Auto, MirrorLink, and a heads-up display.

There’s a good range of colours available: white, silver, gunmetal grey, black, deep metallic blue, metallic red, VW’s signature Turmeric Yellow, and if you want to pay an extra $2k, pearlescent white.

First Impressions

The first Arteon I saw in the metal was in Turmeric Yellow with the 20” dark graphite wheels (20s are a $2000 option) and it certainly is a striking car in that colour. I think it looks excellent. Our test car was Pure White, and that colour suits it too. In fact any of the eight available colours look great, and each seems to change the character of the car quite a bit.

My first impression was that there’s a lot going on with the front, with the LED DRLs and headlights, horizontal silver grille strips, and black lower grille trims, but it all fits together coherently and looks very smart. Stand back and the side view looks excellent with that swooping roof line, feeding into a small black boot lip spoiler at the rear, and twin chrome exhaust surrounds. As you can probably tell, I think the whole car looks fantastic.

The Inside

The R-line seats in the Arteon look excellent, with nappa leather centres, and side bolsters in imitation leather with a carbon-fibre-weave-looking pattern on them. I’m not sure about this, it looks good but also a bit cheesy. The contrasting stitching looks great though. The seats are comfortable, with 14-way electric adjustment on the driver’s side including lumbar support, seat base extension and massage function. The passenger side is electrically adjustable but doesn’t get quite as much adjustment, or massage function. Both sides get heated seats.

The Arteon gets the VW/Audi full colour digital dash, which looks amazing, especially when it’s showing the 3D map in the centre. It has the traditional large rev counter and speedo either side, and the centre portion can be switched to various information modes using the thumb control on the steering wheel. The display can feel a bit busy at first, but you soon get used to it, and the clarity is excellent.

There’s a nicely shaped leather-trimmed flat-bottomed steering wheel with thumb buttons for the cruise control, stereo and a couple of other functions. There are quite a lot of buttons but they quickly become intuitive to use.

There’s a colour heads-up display which projects onto a flip-up plastic screen behind the cluster. This can be hidden away with the push of a button, with a neat cover motoring over to protect it from dust.

The dash will be very familiar to you if you’ve been in a Passat or Superb. It’s a simple design with air vents across the top and a large 9.2” touch screen set into the centre. There are physical controls for the 3-zone climate control underneath the screen. I like the proximity function that senses your hand as it nears the screen and enlarges the controls along the bottom to make them easier to use. There’s gesture control too – for example you can swipe your hand left or right in front of the screen to change music tracks. This seems a bit gimmicky when you have a thumb button on the wheel to do the same, and the “swoosh” noise that it makes is a bit cheesy.

Like the fronts, the rear seats look great and are very comfortable. Rear legroom is excellent, with a surprising amount of space available. I fit in with no issues but with that sweeping roof line there might not be much headroom for taller people.

The rear hatch opens electrically to reveal a massive boot space, with bag hooks in the sides and extra cubbies. Underneath the floor is a full-sized alloy spare which is unusual these days. The rear seat backs are split 60/40 and fold almost flat to make a huge 1557 litre space. Or if you have long thin stuff to get in there’s a ski hatch in the centre.

The Drive

Several people’s first reaction on opening the doors of the Arteon was “oooh, frameless doors”. Who doesn’t love frameless doors? They are pretty cool. Settle yourself into those leather seats and close the door, and the Arteon feels quite dark inside, with its dark seats and grey head liner. More so in the back seats with the rear privacy glass. There’s an option of a panoramic glass roof for an extra $2500 and if it was me I’d definitely go for it.

The Bluetooth pairing process went smoothly and quickly, enabling me to test out the $3000 optional stereo fitted to our test car. The standard system has eight speakers, this upgrade replaces them and adds another two, plus a sub woofer and 700 watt amplifier. And it is an excellent system, with good bass, decent clarity and it goes nice and loud!

Hit the start button and the dash animates into life in a pleasing way. The parking brake is electronic, and has an auto-hold function that you can turn on. Reversing out of the car park was a breeze with the 360-degree camera system which gives a top-down view of the car with moving guide lines as well as a visual representation of distances to any obstacles around the car. It comes on automatically in reverse, or can be turned on manually with the push of a button if needed. The Arteon has VW’s Park Assist automatic parking too, which will parallel park the car for you, or get you into a 90 degree space. It’s a bit fiddly the first time you use it but works well and is simple to use once you’ve done it a couple of times. Like most systems it does the steering for you, telling you when to select forward or reverse, and when to stop.

The Arteon has various drive modes – Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport or Individual. Each changes the character of the car by altering the throttle response, gear shift timing and firmness of the adaptive dampers. The ride is noticeably firmer in Sport mode though not harsh, and it’s floatier in Comfort. Similarly with the throttle, in Sport mode, gears are held for longer on acceleration, with a lovely growl from the engine which is pleasing but not overly loud.

Handling is decent too, with the 4Motion four wheel drive system giving the Arteon a sure-footed feel. It’s a big car, but it handles well. Not sporty as such, but this is a grand tourer, not a sports car.

I really enjoyed the Arteon. It looks great and has some cool features, some of which have only been found on high-end premium cars until now, like the auto-dimming driver’s side mirror for example. There are some great design touches, like the wide clamshell bonnet that goes right over the front wings. Those hinges are an engineering feat in themselves! The only thing about it that irritated me a little was the engine stop/start function, which can be rather enthusiastic, stopping the engine before you’ve quite come to a halt. I’ve noticed with on other VAG group cars so it’s not unique to the Arteon.

The Competition

Brand / Model Engine Power Fuel L/100km 0-100km/h Price Highest to Lowest
Audi A5 Sportback 2.0l 4 cylinder turbo 185kW/370Nm 5.9 6.0s $98,400
Mercedes CLA250 2.0l 4 cylinder turbo 155kW/350Nm 6.7 6.6s $82,900
VW Arteon 2.0l 4 cylinder turbo 206kW/350Nm 7.3 5.6s $74,995
Mercedes CLA200 1.6l 4 cylinder turbo 115kW/250Nm 5.6 7.9s $67,600
Skoda Superb Sportline 2.01 4 cylinder turbo 206kW/350Nm 7.1 5.8s $66,900

The pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • Looks fantastic
  • Comfortable
  • Lots of tech
  • Quick
  • Great stereo
  • Great value
  • Stop/start a bit keen

What we think

The Arteon is a great-looking car and it has the comfort and speed to back up its looks. Being based on the tried and tested VW shared platform means its technology and mechanicals are proven and well sorted. There’s a huge amount of cargo space and rear legroom meaning you could use this car for long trips with four adults in comfort, and have room for all of your luggage.

It’s certainly a car that I’d be happy to own and use daily.

Rating – Chevron rating 5 out of 5


Vehicle Type “Four door Coupe” large hatchback
Starting Price $74,990 plus on-road costs
Tested Price $77,990 plus on-road costs
(DYNAUDIO Confidence 10+1 speakers, 700W, digital 16-channel amplifier, subwoofer $3000)
Engine 2.0l inline four-cylinder direct-injection turbo
Transmission 7-speed DSG
0 – 100 kph 5.6 seconds
Kerb Weight 1716 kg
Length x Width x Height 4862 x 1871 x 1450mm
Cargo Capacity 563 Litres seats up

1557 Litres seats folded

Fuel Tank 66 litres
Fuel Efficiency Advertised Spec – Combined –  7.3L / 100km

Real World Test – Combined –  8.9L / 100km

ANCAP Safety Ratings 5 stars
Warranty 3 year/ unlimited km mechanical warranty

12 year anti-corrosion warranty

3 year VW roadside assistance

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Rob Clubley
I love everything about cars! Driving, looking at them, modifying. It's great to see what people do with cars, the different car cultures. If I was rich, my garage would be bigger than my house!


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