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First Drive

First Drive: Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake

The story: Volkswagen’s executive fastback Arteon has reached mid-life revision time, and the brand has added a Shooting Brake estate model to the range, as well as making a raft of small changes to the car.
Key rival:Audi A4 Avant
On sale:Now

Volkswagen has taken the Arteon executive fastback’s mid-life revision as the opportunity to expand the range, with a 320hp R flagship and a plug-in hybrid with a 39-mile EV range soon joining the range, alongside the classy Shooting Brake bodystyle driven here.

It certainly looks the part – low, sleek and imposing – and is accentuated by darker colours.

The German brand describes the Shooting Brake as a reinterpretation of the estate, and “the most expressive such vehicle” it has produced to date. Both bodystyles are offered with 150hp and 190hp petrol engines and 150hp or 200hp diesels, as well as the forthcoming PHEV and R variants, and the Shooting Brake costs only an additional £800 over the fastback bodystyle.

Slightly surprisingly, the Shooting Brake has only two extra litres of boot space, but it does have extra practicality not accounted for on the figures, thanks to its square load area. Nevertheless, a load space figure of 565 litres is impressive, and is a full 70 litres more than an Audi A4 Avant, without compromising the acres of rear passenger space.

That tailgate has a narrow rear window that does inhibit rear visibility, although the larger-than-expected rear side windows make up for that a little.

First Drive- February 2021- Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake - Image 2On the inside, VW has overhauled the cabin, with a redesigned dash panel, centre console and door trim, all of which are designed to bring the Arteon closer to the flagship Touareg large SUV.

The climate control system now features touch-sensitive sliders to control temperature, and it’s a system that seems a little more user-friendly than that seen in the latest breed of new small VWs.

The company predicts that the 190hp petrol R-Line driven here will be the most popular model, and it offers decent performance, although the 179g/km emissions figure isn’t great, and can be beaten by the likes of the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 420i Gran Coupe and Mercedes CLA200 Shooting Brake, a disparate group of rivals for what is something of a rival-less car, especially in Shooting Brake form.

Worth noting though, the Passat Estate is more practical, and more than £3,000 cheaper in the 150hp petrol auto R-Line form that only emits 151g/km. But the new addition is a classy, big, practical and high-quality model that is well worth considering.

paul barker

The verdict

Good looking and practical with a high-quality cabin, the Shooting Brake is a neat addition. Its minimal cost over the fastback should allow it to grab attention within the improved Arteon range.