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Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake R-Line Fast Fleet test – 6 months in the stylish estate

We look back at the highs and lows with the evo Fast Fleet Arteon Shooting Brake R-Line

In most people’s eyes the Arteon Shooting Brake it a stylish car, in a non-boxy, non-traditional-estate-car kind of way. Just as Mercedes’ now-discontinued CLS Shooting Brake provided an alternative for those who didn’t want an E-class wagon, the Arteon follows the same formula and is the less capacious relative of the Passat

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Its more distinctive nose, frameless doors and sloping roofline meant spotting it when searching for its custodian, evo art editor Rich Browne, in whatever car park was being used for a photoshoot rendezvous point was often a little easier that it might otherwise have been. That said, there are better colours than the Retirement Red (or Kings Red Metallic, to give it its official name) of our car to accentuate the Arteon’s looks, which with it being an R-Line model included a different front bumper with ‘C-signature’ intakes, different door sills and a mix of matt and gloss black trim. 

> Kia Stinger GT S Fast Fleet test – 12,000 miles in the V6 sports saloon

Despite looking different, the Arteon didn’t exactly have a bristling personality of its own in terms of its driving experience. The combination of 187bhp 2-litre, four-cylinder turbo engine and seven-speed DSG gearbox was fine if all you wanted to do was get somewhere; long journeys glided by, revs barely rising, the highest gear possible always engaged. But if you wanted a little bit more expression it became a rather flat package, the four-pot feeling sluggish, the gearbox unresponsive. ‘Walk, don’t run’ sums up the Arteon’s preferred state of momentum.

The optional Dynamic Chassis Control was £940 of VW’s money well spent, the tighter body control more noticeable than when more performance orientated models are upgraded with similar kit, and its Sport setting proved a good all-round choice. It didn’t bring the Arteon to life, but it became tight enough beneath you to make progress without embarrassing itself or you. 

As with so many of its kind, the addition of a set of 19-inch wheels and some black trim didn’t make the R‑Line a more involving or interesting drive over a regular Arteon, and while it delivered on being a flawless chase car during 2021’s eCoty shoot, it was also a pretty forgettable one. The proper R variant injects some excitement into the dynamics to back up the Shooting Brake’s neat design, but for now, looks aside, a regular Passat estate would appear to deliver more than its stylish relative, and not only because it can actually carry more.

Date acquiredJuly 2021
Duration of test6 months
Total test mileage6232
Overall mpg37.5
Costs£0
Purchase price£48,240
Value todayc£30,000

This story was first featured in evo issue 295.

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