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Volkswagen Arteon interior, tech and practicality

Comfort and visibility

Settle down behind the wheel of the Arteon and you're reminded of a time before SUVs – of a time when estate and saloon cars sat you low and hunkered down. Sure, the driver's seat perches you at about the same level as a Volkswagen Golf rather than the altogether more buttock-scraping lowness of a BMW 4 Series, but this allows for decent visibility – with the usual exception of thick rear pillars blocking your rearward view somewhere. The view out of the back of the Arteon Shooting Brake is further limited by way of a small rear window that seems very, very far away.

Comfort is brilliant. The front seats come with loads of adjustment as standard and, even after some 500-mile days across the continent, we never found ourselves in need of a posterior massage. The front seats are heated on all models, while heated rear items are an optional extra.

Standard equipment

The Arteon range is split up into three models.

Entry-level SE Nav models are rare finds, with most buyers opting for one of the next two trim levels. These versions get heated cloth seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearknob, self-levelling LED headlights, LED rear lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto support, and a 10.25-inch digital dashboard. You also get adaptive cruise control, lane assist and front and rear parking sensors. Topping it off is an electric-opening boot.

The next two trim levels are equally priced, and are both considered the range-topping Arteon models until you get to the fast R model.

The comfort-focused model is called Elegance, which adds 18-inch wheels, adaptive suspension – called Dynamic Chassis Control in Volkswagen-land – part-leather seats, stainless steel pedals, keyless entry and the introduction of three driving modes – eco, normal and sport. These models also get a helpful reversing camera with a top-down mode to help you hitch a trailer to your Arteon, and there's also blind-spot warning and a cruise control system that can stop and start in traffic. There's also a smattering of extra chrome trims.

Sitting next to Elegance models is the popular R-Line trim. This adds sportier-looking bumpers, bigger 19-inch alloy wheels, some black exterior accents and a black interior roof lining. The seats have R-Line logos on them, and you get a panoramic sunroof as standard. Lovely.

Infotainment and audio

The Arteon's standard-fit eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system is a couple of years old now, but it's proved more reliable than VW's latest infotainment efforts. The screen is reasonably sharp and responsive to your touches, and sat-nav is fitted as standard. But you're more likely to use the built-in support for wireless Apple CarPlay and wired support for Android Auto, both of which will let you use your favourite sat-nav and music-streaming apps through the car's screen.

You get eight speakers as standard in an Arteon, and they sound pretty decent at most volumes, although they can get a bit 'muddy' sounding at high volumes. There's a 10-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system on the options list, which has a whopping 700-watt output and a subwoofer, which sits under the boot floor… and, as such, can't be specced with the plug-in hybrid model, whose batteries also sit under the boot floor.

Rear seat space

Back-seat space is one of the Arteon's strongest suits. There's a palatial amount of rear-seat legroom, and a decent amount of headroom, even with the optional panoramic sunroof. The rear seat feels a bit more reclined than those in the Passat, which makes for better long-distance comfort, although it does mean fitting a child seat is a bit harder – you have to push the base through a bit more seat padding to get to the Isofix locking bar.

Your back-seat passengers are well looked after otherwise, with a set of climate controls and a 12V socket on the rear of the centre console.

Boot space

The Arteon's sheer size means boot space is exceptional. At 563 litres in the hatchback version, you'll be able to fit a fortnight's worth of stuff for a family holiday, and the boot itself is a nice wide shape that allows you to drop things right in, unlike a saloon car where you'd have to post items in. 

While the Arteon Shooting Brake only offers a couple of extra litres on paper over the hatchback, there's a lot more vertical space for bulky items. The Arteon Shooting Brake also has up to 1,632 litres of space when you flip the rear seats down, and you can slide in objects up to 2.09m long.

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