Volkswagen Arteon review 2020

The Arteon might not be an obvious executive car choice, but its upmarket interior and stunning looks go a long way in this class.

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Out of 5


  • Stunning looks
  • Very spacious
  • Lots of standard kit


  • Rivals are better to drive
  • Lacks badge appeal of rivals
  • Quite pricey in top guises
Model review

With Volkswagen axing its slow-selling Phaeton limo from its UK line-up in 2012 (and elsewhere in 2016), it left a gap in Volkswagen’s range for a more upmarket model.

Sure, buyers looking for an alternative to the mainstream Passat could choose the (Passat-based) CC, but there was a lack of true executive model in the range.

Hence where the glamorous Arteon steps in. It doesn’t sit in the same league as the Phaeton, but is a premium model able to rival models like the Mercedes C-Class.

It was introduced in 2017 – making spaciousness and styling two of its key selling points. It was also the most technologically advanced Volkswagen at the time, thanks to features such as a 12.3-inch digital dial display, predictive cruise control and connected services.

Current model

Three years might have passed since the Arteon originally debuted, but the model remains just as stylish as when it was first unveiled. While no facelifts have yet arrived, Volkswagen has continued evolving its line-up.

Changes include the introduction of a powerful 2.0-litre petrol engine, along with new trim levels – the latest being the R-Line Edition, which is limited to 370 units, and sits at the top of the line-up.

Looking ahead, Volkswagen is poised to unveil a Shooting Brake version of the Arteon, which could feature at the same time as a facelift later in 2020. While Volkswagen has been tight-lipped about this more practical version, the model has already been spied testing undisguised, meaning its unveiling should be imminent…

Value for money

The Arteon line-up starts from £33,205, which makes it around £3,000 more expensive than an equivalent Volkswagen Passat. While that’s quite a step up in price, the glamorous looks are worth paying for next to the somewhat bland-looking Passat. That said, it makes it cheaper than other premium fastback-style models – including the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, though the latter is closer in price than you might think.

However, the best offers are available by looking on the used market, where models can be bought for as little as £17,000. R-Line versions remain the most popular and desirable options, though these aren’t considerably more expensive. We saw a 2017 Arteon for sale with 34,000 miles on the clock for £18,600, which seems like a great deal with us. More impressively, you can buy a six-month-old example for as little as £27,000 – a huge £6,000 off the list price.

Looks and image

It will be the styling that attracts most people to the Arteon, and it’s the key reason as to why you would choose one over the similarly-sized Passat. While looks are always subjective, we reckon it’s a stunning-looking model, with its intricate front end that sees its LED lights and indicators running into the large horizontal front grille.

It’s an angular and aggressively styled model that really stands out on the road. However, in this executive car class, badge is everything, and while the Volkswagen marque is usually seen as a more upmarket offering, next to the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes, the Arteon might struggle to appeal to buyers.

Video review

Space and practicality

The Arteon is a rare thing in the car world, as it manages to both look the part and be exceedingly practical at the same time.

It’s significantly bigger than the CC that went before it, and also bigger in proportions than rivals from BMW and Audi, which means it’s more spacious than most models in its class. Despite its sloping roofline, headroom isn’t compromised for all but the tallest adults, while rear legroom is especially generous.

At 563 litres, the boot is huge as well, and noticeably bigger than rivals, if slightly smaller than the more versatility-focused Passat. And while the heavily sloping roofline might limit its ability to carry large objects, the hatchback boot is far more useful than a narrower saloon boot opening.



Volkswagen has chopped and changed the Arteon’s engine line-up throughout its lifetime, and introduced a smaller 1.5-litre engine for a while, though this is no longer offered on brand new models.

If you’re looking for a petrol option, the current range kicks off with a punchy 2.0-litre TSI unit developing 187bhp – enabling a 0-60mph top speed of 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 149mph. This sends its power to the front wheels via a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. The second petrol engine is quite a lot more powerful – producing 268bhp, and cutting the 0-60mph time down to 5.4 seconds, along with raising the top speed to 155mph. This is also automatic and features 4Motion all-wheel-drive as well.

If you cover a lot of miles, the diesels still make the most sense, though. The range kickstarts with a 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI unit, which is offered with a six-speed manual transmission or the seven-speed DSG automatic. The engine is also available with 187bhp, whereby you can choose it with front- or all-wheel-drive. A 2.0-litre bi-turbo unit sits at the top of the diesel line-up – producing 237bhp, and enabling a 0-60mph time of 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 152mph. it also comes with all-wheel-drive and a DSG automatic transmission.

Running costs

With no plug-in hybrid option for Arteon buyers to choose, the most efficient engine that buyers can choose is the 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine. In entry-level SE guise and with a six-speed manual gearbox, it can return up to 58.9mpg and CO2 emissions of just 102g/km. Even the largest petrol engines claim to be able to return 35mpg, though, with CO2 emissions not exceeding 161g/km.

Things to look out for

With all Arteons under manufacturer warranty (provided 60,000 miles haven’t been exceeded) until the middle of 2020, it means there should be less to worry about for a new car.

We could find few negative reports from owners, with the only concerns being with the 1.5-litre petrol engine that’s known to not be especially reliable. However, with this being discontinued in the Arteon, it means there is little to worry about.



Thanks to its Fastback styling, the Arteon is a model that directly competes with the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, though it offers increased spaciousness over those two cars.

If the fastback styling isn’t crucial to you, it’s worth considering more conventional executive cars – including the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Volvo S60.

A quirky alternative to the Arteon is also the Kia Stinger – a model that’s very credible in this segment and also comes with a bit more performance.


As the Arteon doesn’t have quite the same levels of badge appeal as other premium rivals, it doesn’t hold its value quite so well, which means the Arteon is a fantastic used buy – both on used cars and pre-registered models. We particularly recommend the latter, with big savings available on what is still essentially a new car.

Trims explained

Four trim levels are available on the Arteon – SE, Elegance, R-Line and R-Line Tech. Equipment highlights and pricing are as follows.


Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, full LED lighting throughout the exterior and interior, as well as heated front seats. It also comes with an eight-inch touchscreen with DAB radio and Bluetooth, as well as ambient interior lighting, climate control and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. In terms of safety kit, the Arteon features in the adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and traffic sign recognition.

Priced from £33,205


This trim adds self-levelling LED headlights, as well as specific Elegance badging and trim pieces. It also gains Nappa leather upholstery, electric front seats and a larger 9.2-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation. Further highlights include a 12.3-inch instrument display, as well as configurable driver modes.

Priced from £34,940


R-Line is the most popular version, and it adds 19-inch alloy wheels, gloss black styling cues and R-Line badging. On the interior, it gains a black headlining, a sports steering wheel and silver decorative inserts.

Priced from £36,005

'R-Line Tech'

Sitting at the top of the range, this limited-edition trim is laden with standard kit. It adds large black 20-inch alloy wheels, dynamic chassis control and an extended gloss black styling kit, while these models come painted in a cool Moonstone Grey colour. Additional kit includes keyless entry, a 360-degree camera and park assist.

Priced from £36,850


  1. Glamorous styling
  2. Volkswagen’s flagship car
  3. Impressive interior space…
  4. …including more than in rivals
  5. Around £3,000 pricier than the equivalent Passat
  6. Plenty of engine and trim choice
  7. Not as fun to drive as rivals
  8. Prices start from £33,205
  9. Few reliability concerns
  10. Might lack badge appeal, but it’s undoubtedly a worthy rival to equivalent BMW or Audi models