2021 Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Break Review

5/5

Overview

The Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake is designed to combine the good looks of a coupé with the load-lugging capacity of an estate car. The shapely roof means it has less space than a conventional 'station wagon', but it’s a more spacious alternative to the (still rather practical) Volkswagen Arteon executive hatchback. Or, you could be weighing one up against the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake, which is available for similar money but is far smaller inside, or the similarly compact but cheaper Kia Proceed. 

Pros
  • Typical VW practicality and reliability
  • Fuel efficient diesel engine
  • Innovative exterior styling
  • Plenty of interior space
Cons
  • Technically, it is not a shooting brake!

Exterior

It is an exceedingly handsome, swoopy estate. The Arteon has an uncanny knack of being able to elicit a fair bit of reaction from passers-by. Prepare to be approached at petrol stations and in supermarket car parks, because people will want to talk to you about it. As you shouldn’t really say, it’s much better ‘in the metal’, which means when you see one in real life as opposed to on a screen, it’s got movie-star presence. 

Interior

There’s but two litres more boot space in the Shooting-Brake versus the hatchback (565 litres plays 563), but a fair bit more with the seats down (1,632 plays 1,557 litres).  Otherwise it’s as per the hatch. Lots of room for adults – five if you wish – each getting a generous amount of leg- and head-room, and materials that feel solid and durable inside. Good seats, storage, connectivity… everything a growing family needs. A big touchscreen sits proudly in the middle, commanding everything you require barring the climate control that sits below. A small concession to shortcuts, then. It works seamlessly, mind, and the drivers’ instruments are digital, and configurable to the nth degree. It’s all very neat, very tidy and very… sensible in here. But as per the rest of the car, that’s really fine. You’ll want to go for brighter upholstery, really brightens the cabin and makes it feel more special inside than it actually is. 

Performance

The 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol gets 187bhp and 236lb ft of torque, which isn’t quite enough to make it sporting. 0-100 kmh takes 7.8secs, which you might be compelled to label ‘leisurely’. And while that 4cyl rasps a little at the top end, it’s not a rocket launcher. But it is plenty quick enough for doing what it needs to do, which is propel you comfortably onto the motorway and keep you pinned at a respectable lick without drama. The seven-speed DSG is smooth and responsive, as you’d expect. The 2.0 litre diesel trades refinement and a bit of outright performance for range. Sure the tractor-y clatter (you can’t get away from it, no matter the car) sounds a bit incongruous coming from a sleek, handsome car like this, but so equipped the Arteon is hugely economical. After 600 mainly motorway miles at a near-60mpg average, I still had an indicated 200 miles of range left. There’s certainly space for the Arteon R to exploit some latent potential. 

Reliability

VW’s recent reliability record is excellent and all new VW Arteon models come with a three year warranty, two years unlimited mileage and the third year limited to 90,000 km.

Running Costs

We saw 33mpg from the petrol, though VW claims 35.6mpg WLTP, and it’ll emit between 128g/km and 180g/km (the latter figure for the 2.0-litre turbo). The diesel almost doubles your mpg (at a motorway cruise, anyway) and cuts CO2. Company car drivers will want to wait for the plug-in eHybrid, though. CO2 emissions of just 27g/km mean you’ll save thousands in BiK tax versus a petrol or diesel Arteon. 

Handling

Driving the Arteon is quite a calming, relaxed affair with the Arteon’s softer suspension and less frenetic steering and handling setup more suited to chewing through a long-haul motorway trip rather than mastering Donington. That smidge of delay between steering input and reaction; that extra ounce of suppleness in the ride; a small trace of body roll. None of which is a deal-breaker, but dialling it all back is part of the Arteon’s charm, and again, that’s quite alright. There’s much to be said for comfort and dependability

Safety

The 2021 VW Arteon Shooting Brake comes with a wide range of standard safety equipment and we expect it to score highly on Euro NCAP safety rating. 

Summary

Exterior
80%
Interior
90%
Performance
80%
Reliability
90%
Running Costs
90%
Handling
80%
Safety
100%

The Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake is designed to combine the good looks of a coupé with the load-lugging capacity of an estate car. The shapely roof means it has less space than a conventional 'station wagon', but it’s a more spacious alternative to the (still rather practical) Volkswagen Arteon executive hatchback. Or, you could be weighing one up against the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake, which is available for similar money but is far smaller inside, or the similarly compact but cheaper Kia Proceed.