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Company Car & Van April 2018

ON TEST: VOLKSWAGEN

ON TEST: VOLKSWAGEN ARTEON Arteon is the new Passat-master from Volkswagen Volkswagen has been busy updating its model range over the past couple of years. A number of new models such as the T-Roc have arrived, while a new Polo will be with us in the UK soon. One model that has not been relaunched is the Passat CC. Instead, Volkswagen has replaced it with an all-new ‘Sportback’ model called the Arteon. German saloons are remarkably popular with company car drivers in the UK, so back in 2008, Volkswagen launched a new top of the range Passat and called it the Passat CC. Aimed specifically to compete with Audi’s A4, BMW’s 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C Class, it sold a respectable 6,948 units in the UK in 2011. But by 2016 this figure had dropped off as the model started to show its age and in late 2017 came its replacement, the all together more exciting and new Arteon. Despite the popularity of SUVs and Crossovers, Volkswagen obviously believes that there is business to be had in this sector and has made a bold move by introducing the Arteon as a direct competitor to the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and Audi A5 Sportback. There’s a choice of just two Arteon models: the entry level Elegance or the more expensive R-Line. We were testing the R-Line 2.0 litre petrol 190PS DSG version. Without a doubt, the Arteon is an attractive car. Sleek, narrow LED headlights merge into the large wide front grille which stretches across the whole of the front of the car. There are lovely chrome edged frameless windows above the neatly sculpted flanks and the rear lights curve nicely into the boot. The Arteon is bigger then the CC it replaces, measuring 4862mm long by 1,871mm wide, but it’s only 1,450mm from the tarmac to the roof, which gives it a real coupé look. This compares with the more staid VW Passat saloon which comes in at 4,767mm x 1,832mm x 1,476mm. But despite being larger on the outside than the Passat, its fastback design means that there’s less headroom in the Arteon than in the Passat. The Arteon’s boot offer’s 563 litres to the owner and with the rear seats folded flat, this increases to a very useful 1,557 litres, only 23 litres less than the Passat. The interior is very stylish, with soft-touch plastic and a high-quality finish throughout. The ventilation slot that runs the full width of the dash is shaped to mimic the Arteon’s front grille. VW’s Active Info display sits right in front of the driver. This takes the place of traditional analogue instruments and it both looks good and works well. The system allows the driver to view a variety of information, including the SatNav, vehicle data and telephone information and with it sitting right in front of the driver, it means you don’t have to take your eyes off the road. The cabin in the R-Line is finished with a black roof lining and is quite dark. Luckily, a sun roof was fitted to our test model which on a sunny November day made it much brighter in the cabin. If you’ve driven any VAG model the switchgear is reassuringly familiar from model to model. This is true of the Arteon. The front and rear seats are almost bucket like in style and consequently very CC&V FACTFILE Price: £36,575 CO2: 122g/km BIK: 26% Comb mpg: 47.1 Key details: There is an Eco mode for more frugal driving supportive. Although you’d be hard pressed to get an adult to sit comfortably in the centre seat in the rear, the other two rear sets come with great legroom, but with the Arteon’s slanting roof line, the head room is compromised. Entry to the rear, though, is actually very easy. The 2.0 litre petrol engine fitted to our test car has a top speed of 149mph and will go from 0-62mph in just 7.7 seconds. The DSG gearbox is excellent, meaning that the Arteon is great fun to drive, hugging corners and with a nice turn of pace when required. Unsurprisingly, the Arteon likes motorways. It’s smooth and with extra insulation, keeps things quiet in the cabin at high speeds and its guaranteed that you will safely at your destination feeling relaxed and happy. There’s no doubt that the Arteon provides a great deal of comfort for its occupants. I had a car full of rugby players to bring back from a game in Liverpool. After the journey I asked the group their thoughts on the car’s comfort and all were in agreement that it rides smoothly, so much so that two fell asleep in the back seats. For customers who wish to play, the Arteon comes with a choice of four driving settings: Eco, Normal, Comfort and Sport. I utilised Eco for my week, primarily to see how I would get on with fuel economy. Volkswagen claims a combined mpg on our test car of 47.1 mpg. We drove the Arteon on a mixture of urban extra urban and country roads for over 500 miles and we managed to just scrape over 32mpg, which is some way shy of the claimed figure. In fairness, the DSG gear box and sheer power on offer from our 190PS test car, which offers 320Nm, means that it’s almost impossible not to ‘drive’ it, which is a killer on economy. Emissions are 135g/km. However, the 148bhp 2.0 TDI diesel is expected to be the 22 | April 2018 | Company Car & Van www.companycarandvan.co.uk

More road reports at www.companycarandvan.co.uk most popular model sold in the UK and it offers a better claimed economy of 65.7mpg on the combined cycle, with CO 2 emissions of 112g/km.This means you could expect a BIK rate of 24%, which means a tax bill of £3,138 for higher rate taxpayers on the cost price. My test model came armed with everything, including front and rear parking sensors, bi-xenon headlights with LED running lights and heated electrically adjustable front seats. VW’s Discover SatNav with a 8” colour touchscreen is a highlight and with Car-Net providing on line access to traffic, parking and weather information, my longest trip to Surrey and back was made all the more enjoyable as I was able to circumvent some problems as I headed around the M25. Adaptive cruise control is standard and includes front assist radar sensor controlled distance monitoring, city emergency braking, road recognition cameras, a lane assist camera and the predictive cruise highlight is it’s ability to use road recognition it adjust the car’s speed on approaching road hazards such as bends and roundabouts. All very comforting. From my point of view, I think that the Arteon is a winner. It looks fantastic from every angle. Inside it’s incredibly well specc’d, is supremely comfortable, is great fun to drive, has the best safety features out there and comes with class-leading space. Our test car costs £33,435 OTR which I feel is great value for money. If contract hire rates are competitive, it should prove popular. From a fleet perspective and despite the so-called demise of diesel, it is the 2.0 TDI version I would choose if I were picking my next company car. Incidentally, there is a 1.5 TSI petrol version offering combined mpg pf 54.3 and emissions of 119g/km, so if your fleet policy is moving away from diesel, you will be able to choose a petrol Arteon after all. It’s a good-looker that will fit nicely on many an executive car park. CC&V VERDICT British fleet drivers have long been in love with the Teutonic touch for graceful, reliable vehicles and the VW Arteon will only perpetuate this relationship – even after Brexit! Rating: www.companycarandvan.co.uk Company Car & Van | April 2018 | 23

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