Volkswagen Arteon hatchback - Interior & comfort
Although traditionally designed, the Volkswagen Arteon wins premium points for its lavish, hi-tech interior
While the Arteon doesn’t set any new standards for driver appeal, it certainly impresses for comfort. Whichever seat you take, you’ll find the ride smooth even on the biggest 20-inch alloy wheels, although this gliding impression is rudely interrupted if you encounter a pothole, which can send a violent shudder through the passenger compartment. Cars with smaller wheels should ride even more smoothly and be less susceptible to pothole shocks.
The three-mode drive control system can be used to boost comfort further, although Comfort mode is the best setting, as Sport mode makes the ride more uncomfortable without transforming the Arteon’s handling. We advise sticking with Normal mode, which is far more well balanced than its name implies.
Volkswagen Arteon dashboard
After the dramatic curves outside, the interior design of the Arteon seems a bit of an anticlimax. There isn’t a massive difference between the dashboard of the Arteon and that of the Passat – a car that VW wants buyers to forget is the basis for the Arteon. However, it’s crisply designed and the full-width air vents add an aesthetic link to the Arteon’s distinctive style, while its tactile quality lives up to the brand's strong reputation.
It’s very clearly laid-out, too, with a simplicity that successfully masks the long list of hi-tech features that are only a few clicks away. Apart from the 9.2-inch infotainment system, there’s little that looks especially technical – an exception being the Active Info display that takes the place of conventional analogue dashboard dials.
This can be configured to show various information, including colour mapping from the sat nav, as well as the usual speed, engine revs and fuel economy. It also shows settings for the various driver assistance systems.
Only two trim levels were previously available for the Arteon – luxury-orientated Elegance and sportier R-Line - but as of autumn 2019 there’s a new entry-level SE trim too. Both Elegance and R-Line have similar standard equipment, with the latter adding sports seats, darker, interior decor and a more muscular outside look.
All models have all-LED exterior lighting, alloy wheels, three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control and sat nav. Elegance adds the active info display, heated front seats, a larger 9.2-inch touchscreen and leather upholstery. The R-Line model wears a sporty bodykit and gets 19-inch wheels, rather than the 18-inch wheels of the Elegance model, as standard.
Among the Arteon’s most exciting attributes are its many driver-assistance systems, which can work together to provide near-autonomy, significantly reducing the driver’s workload. The Arteon's linked sensors, cameras and computers can automatically adjust the active cruise control to slow the car for corners or speed-limit changes. This is thanks to sat-nav data that can also pre-adjust the headlamps to illuminate corners that the Arteon hasn't yet reached.
Lane-keeping assistance is nothing new, but the Arteon’s optional system can react to other vehicles such as swerving lorries and take evasive action. In fact, the sensors are able to monitor goings-on both outside and inside the car, so it can automatically take over and safely draw the car to a halt if it determines you've become incapacitated. It does this if your steering or accelerator inputs are below a set threshold, issuing an audio-visual alert first and then taking over if you don’t respond.
There are plenty of options available to Arteon buyers, including three alloy-wheel designs and 10 paint choices, plus the front seats and sound system can both be upgraded. Other extras include a rear-view camera, a head-up display, parking assistance, emergency assistance, keyless entry and roof bars.
The key options to consider are the Discover Pro infotainment system and the panoramic roof, the latter of which allows extra light into what can be a quite a dark cabin, particularly in R-Line cars. We'd also consider the Acoustics Pack, which adds laminated side glass to better insulate the interior.