The MH Motoring Minute: The VW Arteon

Forget the CC and the Passat – this is the grown-up, head-turning VW sedan we want.


Arthur Jones |

Review: 5 day road test

Engine: 2.0TDI 4 cylinder or 2.0TSI 4 cylinder

Power: 207kW, 350Nm (2.0 TSI), 130Kw, 350Nm (2.0TDI)

Price: R599 900 (Elegance TDI), R649 900 (R-Line TDI), R699 900 (R-Line TSI) (vw.co.za)

This ain’t no CC. Yes, it may be replacing that car, and yes, that previous model didn’t sell in huge numbers here, but this striking new player is different. And different in a good way – not strange. Beyond the sweeping good looks and long, wide stance of this sport coupe fastback combo (which we are wholehearted fans of), we like the engine range (the top line petrol TSI is good for 206kW, thanks to it having the Golf R engine), and the space it offers. The rear passenger and boot space (563 litres) is cavernous and trumps its rivals – both sedan and SUV.

Related: The MH Motoring Minute: VW Polo GTi

But that’s not where our love affair ends: that front grill with the integrated LED lights; the expansive wraparound bonnet; the quiet, refined drive and the tricked-out digital cockpit are all big plus points for us. So all good news, right? Well, unfortunately, there’s a catch. This sedan market is tough – it’s filled with excellent German competition, and then there are the SUVs which are becoming sales ground bullies. This Arteon was created to catch the buyers who have a GTi or Golf, and now want to upgrade for more luxury, space and style due to family or work goals. The Arteon does tick all those boxes, but past history shows that it’s tough to sell VW as an expensive luxury choice, especially one that has a pretty eye-watering price-tag. But saying all of that – this swoopy, attention-grabbing sedan is good. Surprisingly good.

To sum up, as always, the decision here depends on your needs. If you’re happy to pay for a sedan that doesn’t have the luxury brand prestige of its German rivals, but which offers plenty in terms of practicality, interior quality, space, and of course, the unique, head-turning good looks – then the Arteon is a strong choice. If you’re looking for outright power, then the top-of-range R-Line TSI is a better, but more expensive choice – it also offers 4Motion for better traction. But if you’re happier with being more efficient (but still with instant torque on demand), then the TDI is a better option.

Related: The MH Motoring Minute: Ford Ecosport

PROS: The unique sportback shape is good-looking and practical; Offers massive boot and rear passenger space; The front grille with the integrated LEDs is a work of art.

CONS: It’s not cheap. It has tough German sedan competition and it’s fighting the SUV segment, too. The petrol model is pretty thirsty.

WHAT WE LOVE: This looker was created to shake up a segment that’s gotten too comfortable.

RATING: 7 /10

COMPETITORS: BMW 330i (R642 000), Mercedes C250 (From R642 187), Audi A5 Sportback 2.0TFSI (R625 500)

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