Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake Review 2024

Written by Ivan Aistrop

heycar ratingSuper-stylish estate car
  • 2020
  • Estate
  • Petrol, Diesel, Plug-In Hybrid

Quick overview


  • Styling is both sleek and unique
  • Comfortable and refined to drive
  • Huge boot is bigger than many rivals’


  • Not cheap
  • Interior quality can’t match a BMW
  • Could feel sharper on the road

Overall verdict on the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake

"The Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake is a super-stylish estate car that rivals midsize premium wagons from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. It’s a compelling package, with sleek, individual looks and a surprising amount of practicality, while it also delivers big on quality, equipment and driving comfort. Just don’t expect it to save you a whole heap of cash compared with the competition – unless you buy used, that is."

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake Review: Static

If you see the words ‘Shooting Brake’ written across the top of this page and you haven’t got the foggiest idea what they mean, then don’t worry, you’re totally forgiven.

Allow us to enlighten you. ‘Shooting Brake’ is a phrase used by geeky car types (like us) to describe a car that’s essentially an estate, but more stylish, with a curvier, slinkier, more rakish roofline. Most Shooting Brakes sacrifice some practicality at the altar of style as a result, because they don’t have quite such a boxy, spacious shape. However, that’s where the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake might surprise a few folk; despite being a rival for compact premium estate cars like the BMW 3 Series Touring, the Arteon’s whopping 590-litre boot capacity is actually more than you get in the BMW 5 Series Touring in the class above.

It’s just as generous for passenger space, with bags of headroom and legroom in any of the five seats. The cabin feels impressively posh and sophisticated, if perhaps not quite as lustrous as its best premium German rivals, and it’s stuffed with a generous amount of luxury equipment as standard.

Driving the Arteon is as pleasant as sitting in it, too. With a comfortable ride, strong refinement, smooth gearboxes and nicely weighted controls, the Arteon is a really sophisticated way to get around no matter what your speed or what type of road you happen to be on. It’s not the most thrilling car of its type – you’ll have more fun in a 3 Series – but for every buyer who cares about that, we’ll show you five more that don’t.

There’s a broad choice of powertrains on offer, including smooth and powerful petrols, muscular and economical diesels, and even a fire-breathing R model with hot-hatch-harassing performance. There’s also a plug-in hybrid version that’ll run for up to 36 miles on electric power alone, giving you the potential to save money on both fuel and tax, especially if you’re a company car driver.

The Arteon Shooting Brake is a strong all-rounder that makes a very convincing case for itself in a wide variety of areas.Many buyers will probably still plump for Audis and BMWs, not least because choosing the big VW won’t actually save you all that much cash in comparison, although buy a used one and the savings will be much greater. It is, nevertheless, a very appealing and very convincing alternative.

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If you want a car that’s stylish and practical, but you can’t face being one of the legions of family car buyers who opt for an SUV, then the Arteon Shooting Brake could be a very neat solution. It has bags of interior space and practicality, and it looks stylish in a refreshingly unique kind of way. It also delivers impressive quality, lots of standard equipment and a good range of choice when it comes to powertrains. It’s comfortable and refined to drive, too.

There aren’t many direct rivals to the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake. Not many car companies offer a Shooting Brake body style, preferring instead to either double-down on ultimate practicality with a conventional estate body, or focus on style and compactness with a hatchback shape.

Mercedes offers the CLA Shooting Brake, while the Kia ProCeed also has a Shooting Brake shape, but both are smaller than the Arteon. There’s the Jaguar XF Sportbrake, which hijacks part of the name, but the shape of the car is more conventional estate car than proper Shooting Brake. The most direct rivals are compact executive estate cars in the shape of the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Touring and the Mercedes C-Class Estate.

Comfort and design: Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake interior

"The Arteon Shooting Brake has a posh-feeling cabin, with lots of space for passengers and luggage, making it a very capable all-rounder. The boot volume is particularly impressive, provided that you avoid the hybrid model."

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake Review: Interior

Getting comfy at the helm of the Arteon Shooting Brake is easy. Every version gets an electrically adjusting driver’s seat as standard, and there’s a massive range of movement for both that and the manually adjustable steering column.

Once you’re comfy, you’ll notice pretty good all-round visibility due to mostly large windows and relatively slim pillars either side of the windscreen and the rear screen, although that rear screen is a touch shallow. For further help with parking, front and rear sensors come as standard on all versions except, bizarrely, top-spec R-Line versions.

The dashboard layout is fairly conventional and most of the controls sit where you’d expect to find them, not least the ventilation controls, which sit slap-bang in the middle of the centre console below the touchscreen. These dedicated controls mean that you don’t have to go rooting around in distracting submenus within the infotainment system to change the temperature or fan speed.

The bad news is that these dedicated controls are touch-sensitive icons and sliders, which are much more of a faff to use than proper buttons and dials, because they don’t always register a command at the first time of asking and it’s more difficult to be accurate with your desired inputs. There are more touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel, and it’s too easy to hit these by mistake.

On the face of it, the Arteon’s interior looks very pleasant indeed. The materials used are of a generally high standard throughout, and there are a variety of jazzy trim inserts to liven up the cabin a little further.

Compare it with your average family estate car, and the Arteon is head-and-shoulders above for the feeling of poshness it delivers. However, when Volkswagen pitches the car at premium competition from the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes, the standards are rather higher. In truth, it trails those rivals in terms of how substantial it feels, but it certainly doesn’t feel disgraced in such illustrious company.

All versions of the Shooting Brake get the same basic infotainment system as standard. This takes the form of an 8.0-inch central touchscreen that operates a wide variety of functions, including Bluetooth phone connectivity, DAB, navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto. On top of early SE Nav cars, Elegance and R-Line cars also added voice control activation.

The touchscreen looks a bit small by the latest standards, but as it’s running VW’s older software it’s not as glitchy or as convoluted as the company’s latest infotainment efforts, and it’s actually a doddle to use. It also looks great and is quick to respond to prods. You can optionally upgrade the system to a bigger 9.2-inch screen, and this works just as well. There’s another optional infotainment upgrade, which replaces the standard stereo’s eight speakers with a ten-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, complete with 16-channel digital amplifier and 700W output.

All versions get a 10.25-inch digital driver’s display behind the steering wheel. This looks good and works well, not least because it can be configured in a variety of ways.

As a Shooting Brake rather than a traditional estate car, you might expect the Arteon to offer more loadspace than your average family car, but also that some concession in overall practicality will be made in the pursuit of style. If so, you might be pleasantly surprised on that score: the 590-litre loadbay is very competitive with those of many similarly-sized estate cars, and it’s actually bigger than you get in the (much pricier) BMW 5 Series Touring.

The large boot opening makes the space easy to access, but things aren’t entirely perfect. The boot lip doesn’t quite sit flush with the boot floor, so you’ll have to lift items over it and drop them in on the other side. The rear seats fold in a 60/40 split, rather than the more versatile 40/20/40 layout employed by some rivals, and the seatbacks lie at an angle, meaning that half your loadbay is sloped rather than flat. Bear in mind, too, that if you go for the plug-in hybrid version, your boot space will drop very significantly to just 455 litres because of the batteries stored under the boot floor.

Whichever version you go for, though, you get plenty of space inside. It’ll come as no surprise that the front seats have room to spare, but the back seats might well surprise you with how roomy they are. There’s absolutely loads of rear legroom, and there’s also very generous headroom despite the car’s swoopy roofline.

Handling and ride quality: What is the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake like to drive?

"The Arteon Shooting Brake won’t satisfy keen drivers as much as a BMW 3 Series Touring, but most people don’t care about things like that. The Volkswagen is a comfortable, quiet and sophisticated way to get around, giving it a relaxed, laid-back nature."

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake Review: Dynamic

The Arteon is a very relaxed and easy-going car on the road, and that’s no bad thing. Iit may feel a little less dynamic and agile than premium rivals such as the Audi A4 Avant and BMW 3 Series Touring, but there’s a lot to be said for a premium-feeling estate car that wafts you along as serenely as the big Volkswagen.

The suspension is on the softer side of average, so it’s good at mopping up lumps and bumps at all speeds with minimal impact on those inside the car. This also makes it a comfortable car whether you’re plodding along city streets or belting along a motorway. That softness can have the body pitching up and down a bit when the road takes on an undulating nature, but while this does have a slightly adverse effect on comfort levels, the effect is far from catastrophic. Again, when negotiating corners, the Arteon doesn’t have the sharpness of premium German rivals, it never feels anything less than stable and secure, while the steering feels precise and well-weighted.

Choose the hybrid or the R, and you get Dynamic Chassis Control (or DCC) as standard, while it’s optional on other versions. This brings adaptive suspension dampers that alter the firmness of the suspension at the touch of a button. This does help rein in the wayward body control on a twisty road, but ultimately, it doesn’t make the car much more comfortable.

Various engine options have come and gone during the Arteon Shooting Brake’s time on sale, so we’ll look at these as a whole. The most modest offering is a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol with 150PS, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s reasonably perky and performance is strong enough with the car lightly loaded, but on those occasions when you carry lots of people and stuff – which is kind of the point of an estate car – it does begin to struggle a bit.

The 2.0-litre TSI petrol is a good bit stronger with 190PS, and feels a little more sprightly as a result, and its seven-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic gearbox swaps cogs smoothly and efficiently.

Two 2.0-litre diesels were also offered, one with 150PS and a six-speed manual gearbox (although the seven-speed DSG was offered as an option) and the other with 200PS, a seven-speed automatic gearbox and a choice of either front- or four-wheel drive. Both coped well with heavy loads, and although the more powerful version was faster against the stopwatch, you couldn’t actually detect all that much difference in performance in day-to-day driving.

The advent of the Shooting Brake in 2020 also brought two new powertrains to the Arteon range. The first of them is a plug-in hybrid that combines a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor to drive the front wheels through a six-speed DSG, giving an all-electric range of 36 miles. It zips along nicely thanks to the electrical urge, and never feels too underpowered.

And then, at the top of the range, sits the R, with its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that sends 320PS to all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission. This version will crack the 0-62mph dash in just under five seconds, so it’s quick enough to give some pretty exotic machinery quite a nasty surprise away from the lights.

All of the engines in the Arteon range do a good job in this regard. Even the diesels are pretty quiet and smooth compared with the equivalent engines in rivals, while the petrol are a step on still. Charge the hybrid up with electricity on a regular basis to maximise your electric-only running potential, and you’ll have the quietest Arteon of the bunch.

Whichever version you pick, wind and road noise is well suppressed at all speeds, making the Arteon a very civilised cruiser, and that really complements the car’s generally very laid-back nature. The gearboxes also stay pretty smooth in their operation, too.

The Arteon Shooting Brake hasn’t itself been tested by the safety experts at Euro NCAP, but the five-door hatchback version has, and the result applies to the estate version as well. It scored the full five-star rating, although the test was carried out in 2017 and testing standards have become more stringent since then.

Nevertheless, a good amount of standard safety kit is provided. Short-lived SE Nav models had seven airbags and an active bonnet to help better protect pedestrians, along with active driver aids such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights and lane assist. 

Elegance and R-Line models add blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, along with a slightly cleverer adaptive cruise that provides a greater level of autonomous driving assistance.

MPG and fuel costs: What does a Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake cost to run?

"Buy the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake as a new car, and it doesn’t generally undercut its premium estate car rivals by all that much. Look at the used car market and the savings available are much bigger. It’s competitive on most other running costs, too."

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake Review: Front

The Shooting Brake’s running costs are similar to those you’d get in premium estate rivals, so it’s competitive. According to official figures, the plug-in hybrid version is the star of the show in that regard, with an average figure of up to 235mpg. 

Don’t be taken in by this laboratory figure, though, because what you’ll actually get in the real world will depend entirely on how you use the car. Charge it up religiously and limit yourself exclusively to short urban journeys that can be done purely on electric power, and you won’t use any petrol at all. Fail to charge it, or do long journeys that require regular prolonged use of the engine, and you’ll use absolutely loads of fuel because the petrol engine is hauling around heavy batteries as well as the rest of the car.

Go for one of the more conventionally powered versions, and the official figures say you’ll get around 55mpg from the diesels, while the 1.5 petrol does 43mpg and the 2.0 petrol does 35mpg. The R has an official figure of 30mpg, but use the performance as the makers intended and you’ll get far less.

The latest Satisfaction Index might make grim reading for potential buyers of the Arteon Shooting Brake. Volkswagen was voted as the fourth worst manufacturer in the entire study for reliability.

While the Arteon wasn’t namechecked specifically, the verdict did state that although newer models like the T-Roc performed well, older volume models like the Golf and Polo didn’t, and dragged the brand’s score down overall. Since the Arteon shares its ageing mechanicals with the Passat, that might be cause for concern.

If you weren’t aware, all cars fall into a specific 1-50 group for insurance, with group 1 cars being the cheapest to insure and group 50 cars being the most expensive. Most versions of the Arteon Shooting Brake sit either side of average on that scale. The 1.5 petrol and the lower-powered diesel sit between groups 21 and 23 depending on trim level, while the more powerful 2.0-litre petrol and diesel, plus the plug-in hybrid, sit between groups 27 and 29. The R, meanwhile, incurs a group 35 rating, so premiums on that version will be a lot more costly.

The Shooting Brake was released in 2021, so all versions are taxed according to the post-2017 Vehicle Excise Duty regulations. This means a flat rate of £180 per year for petrol and diesel cars, with a £10 deduction for the plug-in hybrid.

That’s not the full story, though, because cars that cost over £40,000 when new are subject to an additional ‘luxury car’ surcharge, which adds £390 to the cost of your annual road tax for five years, coming between years two and six of the car’s life, taking your annual outlay up to £570. While some versions of the Shooting Brake were priced below that threshold, some were priced above, so it pays to know the situation before you buy.

Bear in mind, too, that the threshold includes the price of any optional extras fitted. So, if the car you're considering cost £39,999 when new, but had an optional extra worth £2, it would still be liable for the surcharge.

How much should you be paying for a used Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake?

"The Shooting Brake looks rather pricey as a new car, and choosing one over the premium-badged competition isn’t likely to save you much cash, although you are compensated with more generous standard equipment. The VW’s relatively poor resale values mean that it makes much more sense as a used car, though."

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake Review: Dynamic

If you buy the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake as a brand new car, the most affordable versions start at around £43,000 and rise to around £60,000 for the R, while the most affordable version of the interesting plug-in hybrid model costs around £47,000.

That means that the entry price for a BMW 3 SeriesTouring is actually lower, but you do get a lot more standard equipment in the VW. Elsewhere in the range, the prices are reasonably similar version-for-version, with the Volkswagen usually costing slightly less. It’s perhaps a bit surprising that the price difference isn’t bigger given the Arteon’s slightly less desirable badge, but it doesn’t feel like you’re being ripped off with the Arteon.

Where that less desirable badge does play into buyers’ hands, though, is on the used market. The big VW doesn’t hold onto its value as well as the BMWs and Audis it competes with, so there are more bargains to be had. Browse our listings, and you’ll find several examples of cars that are two or three years old, with between 20,000 and 30,000 miles on the dial, for around twenty grand less than their as-new price, and that’s a saving definitely worth having.

Very early on in the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake’s life, it was offered in SE Nav trim, which sat at the foot of the range structure. These versions were still pretty generously equipped, though, with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED lights all round, keyless entry and go, four powered windows, three-zone climate control, automatic lights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors, and heated, power-folding door mirrors. That’s on top of all the infotainment and safety features we’ve already talked about. However, it didn’t take long before this trim was discontinued.

That made Elegance trim the new entry point into the range, and this brought 18-inch alloys, heated front seats, part-leather upholstery, a powered tailgate and a reversing camera. On top of that, there is the R-Line model, which adds 19-inch alloys, extra styling elements inside and out, and an electrically opening panoramic roof.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

The Arteon Shooting brake is a very decent car. It’s a bit of a leftfield alternative to the regular premium estate choices from the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes, but the Volkswagen makes a compelling case for itself with sleek looks, strong quality, excellent practicality and a quiet and comfortable driving experience.
Many shooting brakes are less practical than their conventional estate-car rivals because their slinkier shape means they’re not as boxy, so lose out on some outright capacity. That’s not the case with the Arteon, though, as its 590-litre boot space is bigger than you get in many premium estate rivals. There’s lots of passenger space, too.
The most affordable versions of the Volkswagen Shooting Brake cost around £43,000 when bought brand new, while prices rise to around £60,0000 for the high-performance R version. However, the car looks like a real bargain on the used car market, as the VW’s comparatively weak resale values mean second-hand examples can be had for a fair chunk less.

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