2021 Volkswagen Arteon: plug-in hybrid now on sale

Facelifted VW Arteon available as Shooting Brake model and with plug-in hybrid engine

  • Arteon range expanded with estate and fast R versions
  • Plug-in hybrid joins range
  • 197bhp diesel engine also now available

The facelifted Volkswagen Arteon is now available as a plug-in hybrid for the first time. Joining the standard petrol and diesel engines, the hybrid starts at £39,905 for the fastback in Elegance trim, rising to £41,485 for an estate in R-Line spec.

The introduction of an entry-level 1.5-litre petrol model for £33,965 means the most affordable Arteon is almost £6,000 cheaper than the plug-in hybrid. With the facelift, there’s now also the option of the 197bhp 2.0-litre diesel from the Golf GTD.

The new Shooting Brake estate starts at £800 more than the standard car, while fast R versions will be available at a later date.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon plug-in hybrid engine

Alongside the fast R model, there’s a new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) that combines a 1.4-litre petrol engine, an electric motor and a 13.7kWh battery. It’s the same powertrain that’s fitted in the Volkswagen Passat GTE and Skoda Superb iV, and produces 215bhp. Up to 39 miles of electric-only driving is possible when the battery’s fully charged. It will likely be the most efficient Arteon offered, with a low CO2 emissions figure (between 26-32g/km) making it a popular pick for company-car drivers.

You can recharge the battery in five hours using a normal plug socket, or three-and-a-half hours when using a 3.6kW charger. A selection of driving modes allow you to choose how the battery is used, including saving its power for later in the journey or recharging it on the move.

2020 Volkswagen Arteon engines and economy

The introduction of two new engines means the Arteon shares most of its engine range with the updated Volkswagen Tiguan. A 1.5-litre petrol with 148bhp is punchier than it might sound, allowing a 0-62mph time of 8.9 seconds in either bodystyle. Only available with a six-speed manual gearbox, this engine is offered on all three trim levels and returns up to 44.8mpg. A 187bhp 2.0-litre petrol automatic is available above SE Nav spec, and promises up to 38.2mpg and a sub-eight-second time for 0-62mph.

A 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine has been carried over and should return up to 58.9mpg. It can be mated to a manual or automatic gearbox on SE Nav and Elegance trims; it’s auto-only on R-Line.

A new 197bhp version can now be ordered, which is 10bhp more powerful than the previous fast diesel. This engine can still manage over 50mpg in front-wheel-drive form, while picking the 4Motion all-wheel drive on R-Line spec sees the fuel economy drop by about 5mpg. With all-wheel drive, the diesel-powered Arteon hits 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds.

Prices and specifications

The entry-level SE trim becomes SE Nav, and a price increase of over £2,000 reflects the extra equipment fitted as standard. Now, features like three-zone climate control, parking sensors all-round and sat nav are included. Every Arteon also gets LED headlights, a digital cockpit and wireless smartphone mirroring.

Elegance starts at £36,510 for a fastback with the 187bhp petrol engine, rising to £38,235 for an estate with the diesel engine. Picking this spec brings larger alloy wheels, a rear-view camera, heated seats, a leather steering wheel, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. R-Line buyers need to spend at least £37,620. These cars get a sporty body kit, twin exhausts, a sunroof, ambient lighting and privacy glass.

The forthcoming ‘R’ performance models are likely to start from nearly £50,000.

2020 Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake

Everything behind the front doors is new for the Arteon Shooting Brake. There’s 11mm more headroom in the front and 48mm extra in the rear, enough to comfortably accommodate taller rear-seat passengers. Boot space has increased by 27 litres bigger, too, with the estate offering a substantial 590 litres. The Volkswagen Passat Estate is still slightly larger with a 650 litre boot, but the Arteon trades on style rather than outright practicality.

Volkswagen Arteon R

Topping the range will be the new high-performance flagship Volkswagen Arteon R hatchback and Shooting Brake estate models. Both feature the same turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine as the forthcoming Volkswagen Golf R, albeit slightly detuned to produce 316bhp. VW’s all-wheel drive system and a DSG automatic gearbox are standard, and we’d expect both models to hit 0-62mph in around five seconds.

R models get lowered, adaptive sports suspension, 20-inch alloy wheels and styling upgrades, such as more aggressive bumpers and four exhaust pipes. The sporty additions continue inside, with profiled seats trimmed in Nappa leather, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and model-specific graphics and badges.

Styling and interior updates

The new car has undergone several subtle styling tweaks, which isn’t surprising given the Arteon’s place on our list of the best-looking cars. There are new air intakes across the range, plus updated LED headlights and new daytime running lights that stretch right across the front end.

The new Arteon will come with a completely updated interior, with the latest ‘MIB3’ infotainment system. Looking similar to the facelifted Passat, two touchscreen sizes are available, and all cars get a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. The air-conditioning functions and steering wheel controls are now touch-sensitive, rather than physical buttons, and a 30-colour ambient lighting system is available on the options list.

Volkswagen’s Travel Assist function will be available for the first time. Combining lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control and stop-and-go functionality, the Arteon will be able to drive itself on the motorway at speeds of up to 130mph. You’ll still need to be alert; it’s not a full self-driving package and your hands need to remain on the steering wheel.

Rivals

The Arteon counts the Audi A5 Sportback, BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and Mercedes CLA among its main rivals, but there won’t be many alternatives to the svelte Shooting Brake version. Those considering the Arteon estate may also want to look at the BMW 3 Series Touring, the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake and the Kia ProCeed.

Read our guide to the best motorway cars.

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