2022 Volkswagen Arteon 206TSI R-Line Shooting Brake review

Hello, handsome.

The Volkswagen Arteon was already a good-looking beast, but turning it into a Shooting Brake ­– brand speak for sexy wagon ­– has given it more presence again.

Some brands have struggled to make the Shooting Brake formula work. Mercedes-Benz tried to make it a thing with the CLS and CLA, but only the latter remains, and Genesis is dipping its toe in the water with a slightly awkward-looking G70.

You might be wondering why Volkswagen has bothered, but the answer is simple. Even the subdued, Germanic folks in Wolfsburg need to show the world they have a wild side, and the Arteon is what that looks like.

This is a Volkswagen designed to make you look and feel good. It succeeds on one count, but falls just short on the other.

How much does the Volkswagen Arteon 206TSI R-Line Shooting Brake cost?

The Arteon 206TSI R-Line Shooting Brake is the most expensive variant in the Australian line-up, priced from $70,740 plus on-road costs.

In Europe, there’s an even hotter Arteon R available in liftback and Shooting Brake body styles, but it’s off the cards for the time being. Same goes for the fuel-saving plug-in hybrid option available overseas.

2022 Volkswagen Arteon pricing:

  • Arteon 140TSI Elegance liftback: $61,740
  • Arteon 140TSI Elegance Shooting Brake: $63,740
  • Arteon 206TSI R-Line liftback: $68,740
  • Arteon 206TSI R-Line Shooting Brake: $70,740

All prices exclude on-road costs

What do you get?

Arteon 206TSI highlights:

  • 20-inch ‘Nashville’ alloy wheels with full-size alloy spare
  • Sports seats with integrated headrests
  • R-Line Carbon Nappa leather-appointed trim
  • Heated and 14-way electric front seats with driver massage and memory
  • R-Line bumpers and scuff plates
  • R-Line steering wheel

That’s atop the following features standard on the 140TSI Elegance:

  • IQ.LIGHT Matrix LED headlights
  • LED tail lights with dynamic indicators
  • Adaptive Chassis Control (active dampers)
  • Easy open & close electric tailgate
  • Power-folding mirrors with memory
  • Digital Cockpit Pro (digital cluster)
  • 9.2-inch navigation system with gesture and voice control
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • DAB+ and FM radio (no AM radio on Shooting Brake)
  • Three-zone climate control
  • Surround-view camera system
  • 11-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system
  • Ambient interior lighting with 30 selectable colours
  • Head-up display projected on a glass piece

Is the Volkswagen Arteon 206TSI R-Line Shooting Brake safe?

The pre-facelift Arteon has a five-star ANCAP rating based on testing carried out in 2017.

It scored 96 per cent for adult occupant protection, 85 per cent for child occupant protection, 85 per cent for pedestrian protection, and 74 per cent for safety assist.

All variants are fitted with the ‘IQ.Drive’ active safety suite, comprising:

  • Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitoring (AEB)
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
  • Travel Assist (adaptive cruise + lane centring)
  • Emergency Assist
  • Side Assist (blind-spot assist)
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Park Assist
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Driver attention monitoring
  • 360-degree Proactive Occupant Protection

What is the Volkswagen Arteon 206TSI R-Line Shooting Brake like on the inside?

The Arteon has been dressed up with some interesting trim pieces, materials, and lighting choices, but it’s still a Volkswagen inside.

The dash is finished with a combination of silver carbon-effect, gloss black, and aluminium-look trim, and the slim air vent design is more interesting than what you’d find in a Passat, but the cabin can’t match the swagger of the exterior.

Fundamentally, it’s excellent. The driver and passenger sit in supportive, comfortable sports seats with integrated headrests, and the steering wheel is a high-quality unit with chunky hand grips and a flat bottom.

Essentially everything you touch feels high quality, as you’d expect of a Volkswagen priced in the $80,000 range, but there’s no escaping the fact the design team has been forced to make the Arteon using the same parts bin as the Passat, Golf, and Polo.

The driver is faced with a digital instrument binnacle capable of mimicking classic dials, or acting as a massive navigation display with speed and revs relegated to the bottom bar. It remains one of the best digital dashboards in the business, short of what Audi offers in its more expensive cars.

At the centre of the dashboard is a 9.2-inch touchscreen running the latest Volkswagen Group infotainment system, complete with factory navigation, DAB radio, and wireless CarPlay and Android Auto.

Rural buyers beware though, there’s no AM radio on board. It’s also worth noting the lack of a wireless phone charger feels like an oversight in 2022.

The system is handsome to look at, and mostly intuitive to navigate. It occasionally feels a bit sluggish on start-up, but once up and running it feels thoroughly modern. You’re able to customise the layout of the home screen, and little touches such as the way icons expand as your hand approaches the display are clever.

The wireless phone mirroring worked reliably during our time behind the wheel, with no lagging or dropouts.

You’re not short on storage spaces between the cupholders, deep central bin, and spacious felt-lined door pockets, but the slim cubby at the base of the dash is covered by a sliding cover that would feel cheap in a Golf, let along an Arteon.

Access through the frameless doors is a little bit tight, but rear seat space is better than you’d expect of a style-focused beast like the Shooting Brake.

Legroom is good behind tall drivers thanks in no small part to the car’s expansive 2840mm wheelbase, and without the optional sunroof there’s enough headroom for adults to get comfortable.

There’s a fold-down central armrest, along with air vents and USB-C charge ports back there. You get ISOFIX points on the outboard rear seats, and a trio of top-tether points.

The boot is accessed through a relatively small, almost hatch-like tailgate. There’s a bit of a load lip to get past, something you don’t get in a Passat, but the space beneath it is massive.

The small tailgate opens in a tighter space than a conventional wagon boot, which makes the Shooting Brake’s boot easier to access in tight underground carparks.

Volkswagen says you’ll get 565 litres of stuff back there with the seats in place and 1632L with them folded, and the load space is long and flat in practice. There’s even a full-sized spare wheel under the floor.

With the rear bench folded flat you’ll easily get a full-sized road bike back there. This style statement is also practical.

What’s under the bonnet?

Power in the 206TSI comes from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine.

It makes 206kW of power and 400Nm of torque, mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and 4Motion all-wheel drive.

The 100km/h sprint takes a claimed 5.6 seconds, and claimed fuel economy is 7.7 litres per 100km on the combined cycle. We saw as low as 6.5L/100km on an early-morning airport run, and around the 10L/100km mark during the daily commute.

It’s worth noting the Arteon uses a petrol particulate filter, which cuts down on emissions but also makes filling up with 98 RON premium unleaded a necessity.

How does the Volkswagen Arteon 206TSI R-Line Shooting Brake drive?

It looks more aggressive than a Passat from the outside, but the Arteon is straight out of the Volkswagen Group copybook. It’s polished, and is capable of flicking from laid-back to sporty at the push of a button.

Dialled all the way back in Comfort mode, you’d be hard pressed to find a mainstream car that rides better on 21-inch wheels and low-profile rubber. It has a languid feel on the open road, effortlessly soaking up crests and dips.

Normal strikes a nice balance between ride comfort and body control, and Sport is too firm for daily duties on the pitted city streets of Melbourne.

If the three stock setups aren’t quite right, you can use a slider to fine-tune the suspension further.

By now, the EA888 turbocharged engine in the Arteon is a known quantity. It’s a smooth mover, with more than enough performance on hand to make this 1717kg wagon feel quick when you’re in the meat of its power band.

Peak torque comes on song down low in the rev range, and the car pulls determinedly when you put your foot down. It rips through the mid-range, and doesn’t run out of puff when you go chasing the redline.

Thanks to the dual-clutch transmission, you really do need to put your foot down to get the best out of it though.

In its more relaxed Normal mode, the seven-speed DSG is far too keen to shuffle directly to the tallest gear possible, to the point where it’s trying to lug up steep driveways at less than 10km/h in second gear.

It can be almost obstinate in its refusal to kick down unless you really boot it, which takes the sting out of what should be a punchy, effortless performance wagon. You can flick the transmission into Sport and force it to hold a lower gear, but that swings things slightly too far in the opposite direction.

When you aren’t in a hurry, the Arteon is a grown-up cruiser. Wind and road noise are kept in check on most surfaces, although there’s a bit of roar at 100km/h on coarse chip bitumen.

Volkswagen has some of the smartest active driver assists in the business.

The adaptive cruise control system smoothly maintains a gap to the car in front, and the lane-centring system does a good job keeping the Arteon between the white lines.

You’ll need to keep an eye on the anti-undertake feature, though. It makes sense in Europe, where lane discipline is deeply ingrained, but it’s not nearly as useful in Australia.

For such a big car, the Arteon Shooting Brake is easy to drive in the city. The steering is light, vision is decent, and the surround-view camera helps place the car in underground carparks. It isn’t the crispest camera out there, but it’s better than not having the option at all.

How much does the Volkswagen Arteon 206TSI R-Line Shooting Brake cost to run?

Volkswagen backs its range with a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

Maintenance is required every 12 months or 15,000km in the Arteon, whichever comes first.

The first five services cost $2500 is you purchase a pre-paid plan, which Volkswagen says represents an $843 saving over its regular pricing. A three-year plan will set you back $1500.

CarExpert’s Take on the Volkswagen Arteon 206TSI R-Line Shooting Brake

The Arteon Shooting Brake is a very pretty car, and it drives with the same polish as the wider Volkswagen range.

I love that Volkswagen is selling it rather than rolling out another cookie-cutter crossover; that it’s committed to creating interesting cars for people who think outside the box.

It’s a shame the brand hasn’t committed slightly harder, though. For all its presence on the outside, the interior doesn’t have what it takes to back it up. It isn’t quite a Passat behind the wheel, but it isn’t quite far enough removed.

Should that stop you buying one? I don’t think so. Forget about coupe SUVs, the Arteon Shooting Brake shows you can haul a family and stand out at the same time.

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