4.1 out of 5 4.1
Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1
Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake (20 on) - rated 4.1 out of 5
Enlarge 0 photos

At a glance

New price £39,485 - £56,085
Lease from new From £502 p/m View lease deals
Used price £21,220 - £42,570
Used monthly cost From £530 per month
Fuel Economy 30.4 - 235.4 mpg
Road tax cost £165 - £520
Insurance group 21 - 29 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

CONS

Written by Parkers on

Whatever you do, don’t call the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake an estate. Although it has a longer, taller roofline than its coupe sibling to give more load space, it sacrifices a little practicality for a bit more style.

If the term Shooting Brake has you scratching your head, think of classics such as the Reliant Scimitar GTE and Volvo P1800 ES, both of which followed the same formula. However, while they only had a pair of doors and a tailgate, the Arteon Shooting Brake has four usefully large doors to make accessing the rear seats a cinch.

As you’d expect from something designed to be desirable, it takes only the more powerful engines from the Passat on which it’s based. That means a bare minimum of 150hp, a punchy plug-in hybrid and even a hot 320hp R version.

What’s it like inside?

The Arteon fastback received an update in 2021, and the Shooting Brake has all of these revisions from the off. The overall design of the interior has been refined over the outgoing model, with an updated infotainment set-up and revised controls. If it looks and feels familiar in here, it’s because it’s closely based on the Volkswagen Passat’s interior, and save for a few details, they’re largely identical.

There’s a new touch panel cluster for the climate control system as well as touchpads on the steering wheel, new ambient lighting as well as a range of updated trims that feature wood panelling or metallic inserts for the dashboard. You also get predictive adaptive cruise with lane-keeping, traffic jam and ‘roadwork lane’ assistance into what it calls ‘Travel Assist’ – standard on both the Elegance and R-Line models. Either trim is impressively well-equipped.

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake (2021) interior view

Depending on which model you choose, the infotainment system’s buttons have been replaced by touchpads – and for those that have, it’s become more complicated, not easier. The steering wheel pads are less-than satisfying than the old buttons, too. It takes a long time to get used to, is too easy to accidentally change something when you’re twirling the wheel, and doesn’t make the digital instrument cluster any easier to tackle.

The touch controls on the ventilation dials, too, are a case of making things more difficult than they need to be; you can tap or slide the temperature controls and, while there’s an indent for it that allows your finger to know exactly what it’s pressing, you still have to spend just a little too long looking at where you’re pointing. That’s especially worrisome as the controls are mounted low down, just in front of the gear selector.

Of all its rivals, we’d say it’s a better dashboard design than the divisive Peugeot 508, but less intuitive to use and stylish than the Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake or a BMW 3 Series Touring.

Practicality and luggage space

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake (2021) driving

The regular Arteon is already a very practical car, space-wise, with the Shooting Brake version offering a negligible improvement for passengers. Rear space is still great, even for tall adults both in terms of head and legroom, and Volkwagen has added some neat details like small pockets in the rear seats for things like your phone.

The estate-shaped boot is 565-litres in volume – putting it roughly on par with the BMW 5 Series Touring, Audi A6 Avant and Volvo V90. It’s only two litres more volume than the Arteon fastback, but the difference comes if you fold the seats down – the Arteon Shooting Brake offers 1,632 litres compared to the Arteon hatch’s 1,557 litres. For reference, the Passat offers up to 1,780 litres with the seats folded.

Plug-in eHybrid versions do have a smaller boot because the hybrid battery is mounted under the boot floor, pushing it upwards. Even so, 455 litres with the seats up is still a useful amount of space.

So it’s practical, good looking and roomy – as you’d expect, and what this tells you is just how impressive the standard Arteon is. As we said at the top of the review, choosing one Arteon or another really comes down to personal preference. Compared with the Passat it’s based on though, it’s not cheap, but paying a premium for style in this instance is probably justified.

What’s it like to drive?

The 190hp 2.0-litre TSI petrol is arguably all the Arteon you’ll need. It’s a punchy performer, refined at cruising, and happily delivered a 45.6mpg average over 600-miles of testing.

Although it’s quiet and a consumate motorway cruiser, there’s a raspy growl to it when you want it that we really like. The engine note is a lot like a Golf GTI’s, but when you don’t want to push things, there’s still a useful band of pulling power between 2,500rpm and 5,000rpm. What this means is that there’s instant motorway acceleration and no problems from steep inclines.

The DSG automatic transmission is responsive from a standing start and shifts smoothly, even if you like to manually change gears with the steering wheel’s paddle shifters. It’s programmed to avoid shifting down even under heavy throttle loads, instead using the engine’s torque to gain speed. A 0-62mph time of 7.6 seconds means it happily keeps up with the flow.

If company car tax is a consideration, it’s well worth considering the 1.4-litre TSI eHybrid. This posts an identical 7.6sec 0-62mph time but sits in a far lower BIK company car tax band. It’s not particularly rapid in electric only mode, with just enough oomph to keep up with traffic, but can kick the petrol engine into life after a brief hesitation and combines power sources smoothly. Economy depends entirely on how much running is done in electric mode, but over 50mpg isn’t too hard to achieve with infrequent charges.

At the top of the range is the 320hp four-wheel drive R. It uses the same running gear as the Golf R, but the bigger body does blunt performance slightly. It certainly launches hard off the line (0-62mph takes 4.9sec) and squirts past slower moving traffic with ease, but hot versions of the CLA Shooting Brake and 3 Series Touring feel even more rapid.

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake (2021) driving

Handling

This is an excellent long-distance cruiser and is at its best on motorways. Along with ample soundproofing and low levels of wind noise, the Arteon feels planted on the motorway. On its large R-Line wheels and standard dampers it’s not perfect, and although the high-speed ride is settled in town, on poorly-surfaced roads lumps and bumps can filter uncomfortably into the cabin.

Things improve if you’ve selected the DCC adaptive suspension (standard on the eHybrid and R) as it allows you to soften things off even more. It still fidgets a little over scruffy surfaces, especially on 19-inch and 20-inch wheels, while the softest modes to allow a bit too much float and wallow on undulating roads, though.

The driving position is excellent, although rearward visibility isn’t great through the letterbox-like back window. All of the seats are supportive enough to have you shrug off several hours of driving without any hint of discomfort, with R versions proving even more figure hugging with a massage function, too.

There’s little wrong with the handling of standard, although there’s not much to inspire you either. Grip levels and overall body control are good, but it’s lacking in the responsiveness you get from a Peugeot 508 SW. There’s a little bit of a delay between turning the steering wheel and the wheels reacting to your inputs, and there’s some bodyroll under hard cornering, but most drivers won’t find it anything other than safe and grippy.

R versions four-wheel drive systems do add an extra layer of driver involvement, proving happy to send a dollop of power to the rear wheels to help tighten your line when exiting a corner. A 3 Series Touring is still a little more nimble, but the Arteon Shooting Brake R is exceedingly capable for such a big car and able to entertain a little when pushed hard.

What models and trims are available?

The Arteon Shooting Brake’s range is straightforward, with three models and a range of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines to choose from. Model lines are the entry-level but well-equipped Elegance and sporty R-Line and hot R.

What else should I know?

We reckon its closest rival will be the Arteon fastback (or ‘Gran Turismo’ according to Volkswagen). Anyone looking at that stylish Volkswagen will clearly also consider this one – and it will come down to personal preference on styling as to which one you go for.

However the Arteon Shooting Brake will also be high on your list if you’re looking for a stylish lifestyle-oriented five-door estate. You certainly have more options than you did a few years ago. The Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake and Peuegeot 508 SW are very similar in concept, and were joined in 2018 by the interesting Kia ProCeed Shooting Brake.

Detect a theme here? Given its pricing, we’d be remiss to point out that the Arteon is also up against our favourite mid-sized estate, the excellent BMW 3 Series Touring.

Click through to see whether we recommend buying a Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake.

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake (2021) driving

Other Volkswagen Arteon models: