- Two basic engines to choose from
- High-efficiency TSI Evo power unit is the star
- The 280hp Arteon is a proper performance option
With only two engines to choose from, which Arteon suits you very much comes down to your personal preference between petrol and diesel – the petrol is faster, the diesel more economical; both feature four-wheel drive and an automatic transmission.
If you can afford the additional running costs, we think the petrol is the better choice, as it’s more refined, lighter, and therefore feels the more premium to drive.
However, the torquey performance of the diesel offers plenty of punch, and if you do big distances it should save you money.
But either way, this is not an obvious choice of company car if you’re concerned about your monthly payments.
Volkswagen Arteons we've driven
1.5 TSI Elegance (October 2018 by Keith Adams)
We’ve already covered the Volkswagen Arteon in great detail, so we’ll limit this part of the review to how the dimensionally challenged 1.5-litre TSI Evo engine works under the bonnet of this large, rather elegant fastback. Volkswagen is aiming this efficient new engine combination at owners and users who are looking to make the switch from diesel to petrol, without too much loss of economy and efficiency.
With 150hp under the bonnet, the Arteon 1.5 TSI goes head to head with its similarly powered 2.0 TDI sister car, and if you check the specs for both cars (linked above), you’ll see there’s very little in it in terms of performance, with an advantage to the TDI in terms of fuel consumption. But with pump fuel favouring petrol over diesel, a situation likely to continue, the actual cost of ownership is very similar.
What’s the Volkswagen Arteon 1.5 TSI Elegance like to drive?
We’ll not go into too much detail about the overall driving impressions here (visit the Driving section for a fuller overview), but concentrate on how the TSI Evo engine works in the Arteon, and whether such a small power unit suits this large motorway cruiser.
Firing it up, and the first impressions are underwhelming – it’s quiet, but sounds tinny and a little unimpressive. And that impression of being a little ordinary continues as you get underway. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the way the Arteon drives – far from it in fact – just the rather dull way it sounds.
Having said that, you soon learn to tune that out, and once you have, you’re left impressed with the spread of pulling power it has from low speeds – it doesn’t need much effort to accelerate up to motorway speeds (0-62mph comes up in 8.7 seconds), and once cruising, it settles down to a subdued, low-rev, near-silent legal limit. Around town and in give-and-take traffic, it feels punchy, willing, and the noise levels remain impressively low.
But where this very capable engine turns truly impressive is in its fuel consumption. Given that it’s not a small car and it’s quite highly tuned, it’s hilariously easy to top 50mpg in day-to-day driving. On a fast motorway weekend, it averaged 46mpg, and in A-road commuting, we saw a daily return of 52mpg. Really careful owners will get more.
The Parkers Verdict: petrol or diesel Volkswagen Arteon?
There’s no denying that the Arteon’s 1.5-litre engine is a truly impressive piece of engineering. It’s easy to drive, punchy, and there are no holes in its power delivery. It might sound a little dull, but if that’s all the criticism we can aim at it, then Volkswagen should pat itself on the back for a job well done.
Comparing it with the 2.0 TDI is an interesting exercise. That car offers far more low-speed pulling power, making it a spectacularly relaxing drive (if you’re looking for that), and more responsive acceleration (when not). And where the TSI will top 50mpg, owners of the diesel version report regular forays beyond 60mpg.
So, the decision isn’t clear cut right now, as the TDI is so effective as an all-round tool. If you’ve decided to drop diesel for petrol, then you can make the change to TSI and know it’s a good decision. As for how well 1.5 litres powers this large car – it’s fine. You’ll probably think about it once, then forget all about it, until you come to fill it up.
Summer 2017 – Five-door coupe available to order with deliveries expected in the third quarter of the year. Only two engines – a 240hp TDI diesel and a 280hp TSI petrol – available initially, both with DSG automatic transmission and 4Motion four-wheel drive, in Elegance and R-Line specifications.
Buying a new Volkswagen Arteon coupe
- Limited choice, limited supply
- Discounts likely to be better on petrol
- Generous standard spec, so go easy on the options
With only two trim levels and two engines, plus a hefty asking price, VW is not expecting to sell shed loads of Arteons in the UK.
As a buyer this is good news, because dealers will be keen to talk to you, and bad news because right-hand drive supply won’t be particularly high on Volkswagen’s agenda – which may mean a bit of a wait between order and delivery.
Diesel Arteons are the more rational choice due to their better running costs, but you may find bigger discounts on the petrol, cancelling out some of that advantage.
UK buyers typically like sporty trim levels, so R-Line will probably be most popular both new and used – the latter important to consider if you’re purchasing outright, and hoping to sell on your Arteon easily at a later date.
With a generous level of standard equipment, try not to get too carried away with options, as you may not get your money back in increased used value. Be classy with the spec, too, avoiding garish colours and outlandish interior finishes.
Buying a used Volkswagen Arteon coupe
- Don’t expect a huge amount of second-hand choice
- The best cars will be worth travelling for
- Lots of standard kit means good value – just check it all works
It’s early days, but we predict the Arteon will make a tempting used buy.
Well-equipped and well-built but lacking the premium image of the obvious rivals, we would expect it to sell for considerably less, making for a savvy choice if you aren’t overly bothered by badge snobbery.
That said, used supply is also likely to be limited, which may keep prices relatively buoyant. The lack of overwhelming second-hand choice also means you should be prepared to travel to find your perfect car – and to get a good deal.
R-Line is likely to be most common, and most desirable. Elegance will be rarer, but perhaps better value.
Be sure to check that all the gadgets work; modern electronic components are not cheap to fix.
Use the Parkers Car History Check to verify there’s no hidden accident damage or outstanding finance before you buy.
Selling your Volkswagen Arteon coupe
- Be patient, it may not sell quickly
- Advertise widely, and provide plenty of info
- Get minor damage fixed first
There’s likely to be a limited audience for used Arteons, so you’ll need to make sure your advert stands out.
Use classified advert websites with good national coverage, take good quality photographs – even video – and make sure the full service history of the car is clearly detailed. Buyers may be willing to travel a reasonable distance for the best examples, so give them a reason to do so.
Get minor damage – such as scuffs and scrapes – corrected (smart repairs can be very cost effective) to get the best price and maximum interest. And always make sure any prospective buyer has effective insurance before allowing any test drives.