Test drive: Volkswagen Arteon SB 1.4 TSi e-Hybrid: A firm favourite

Even if estate cars are less popular these days, thanks to the success of SUVs. However, they are still around and successful when they come from German manufacturers . The pleasing Arteon Shooting Break was launched in June 2020. More recently, it got greener credentials thanks to a plug-in hybrid engine that we had the pleasure to test for a week.

Volkswagen used the well-known 156 hp 1.4 TSi engine mated to a 115 hp electric motor integrated into the DSG6 gearbox to create this new PHEV Arteon. Combined power is 218 bhp and 400 Nm torque. Enough to claim a 0 to 100 km/h in 7″8 secs and a 222 km/h top speed. Inside, fit and finish are there with the best luxury German cars. The dashboard top is even covered with stitched leatherette. The PHEV Arteon gets the haptic steering wheel and digital screens while the dashboard can be dressed up with real wood (Regal Eucalyptus) or metal, like our test car. Interior space is not particularly generous but getting a perfect driving position is easy, thanks to  electric seat adjustments.

I like it

Whatever your height and weight, it is easy to get a perfect driving position ; driving this car over long journeys won’t be tiring at all. It’s a mileage eater, even though this PHEV might not be the most suited car to cross Europe as it will need regular refueling stops. Fortunately, there is a Diesel powered version that will be perfect for that. This PHEV is an ideal vehicle for those with less than 50 km daily commutes and a dedicated parking space to recharge the 13kWh battery. A full charge takes about four hours using a wallbox as the on-board charger won’t go higher than 3.6 kW…

Quite clever

The Arteon Shooting Break is both a luxurious and comfortable car that is pleasing to use on a day to day basis. Its shape is attractive and got some detail changes recently. The LED headlights were redesigned and the grille can now be fully lit up. Boot space is impressive and varies from 565 to 1632 litres, depending on the back seat position. It proves that it is possible to combine glamorous exterior lines (Cx: 0.265) with generous cargo space in a car that is no SUV.

I don’t like it

We lament that the on-road behaviour is not as dynamic as the car’s lines. The Arteon is a real Volkswagen : it is safe and confidence-inspiring in all circumstances, no matter what the weather is like. However, we would have enjoyed it more if it had been a bit more characterful. This estate weighs 1850 kg and 218 HP are barely enough to move it about swiflty. Our test car was an R-Line version, inducing an even greater desire to enjoy the available power but, sadly, nothing will come out of it.

Why I buy it

In order to feel a car’s movements and be prepared for anything that might happen, it’s important to be seated in the lowest possible position. Obviously, no one cares about this anymore today, clogging the middle lane in an SUV and looking at a smartphone scree. However, those of us who still enjoy driving, even on short trips, will appreciate that Volkswagen still sell the wonderful Arteon estate car. As a company car, the PHEV Arteon will be able to justify its existence, and especially its price, until the first of July. After that, company car tax rules will change in Belgium and it won’t be as attractive. Even if competition among German premium brands is quite fierce, the Arteon SB is distincitve and very attractive. The top quality interior gets all the latest up to date digital equipment as well as the superfluous safety systems that are compulsory nowadays. We won’t release average fuel consumption figures as we had to go from Liege to Brussels and back without being able to charge the battery and it just wouldn’t be fair.

Why I don’t buy it

The Arteon Shooting Break costs €68,580… It is aimed at wealthy punters or companies. Charging it regularly should ensure it’s possible to forget petrol stations altogether. However, the time needed to fully charge the battery is way too long. The car shape looks good but it reduces the space available in the back of it. Eventually, the available power is barely adequate to get around without getting asleep. The R model Diesel engine’s higher torque value will suit authoban drivers in a hurry much better… (Translation: Dimitri Urbain)

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