What is it?
As we’ve started to see across the wider motoring industry, electrification is becoming an intrinsic part of how modern cars are made. Mild-hybrid technology is being applied across the board while plug-in hybrids – such as the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake eHybrid we’re looking at today – are quickly becoming the norm.
We’ve already tested the regular Arteon Shooting Brake and found it to be a well-rounded – if slightly uninspiring – estate car. So does this hybrid version add a bit of sparkle? We’ve been finding out.
From the outside at least, this is the same old jaw-droppingly-good-to-look-at Arteon Shooting Brake. Save for some subtle badges and second filler cover for the charging port, you’d have a hard time differentiating this hybrid from the other petrol and diesel-powered versions.
No, it’s underneath where things are a bit different. Of course, being a plug-in hybrid means you can top up the Arteon’s batteries either at home or at a public charging point. It gives you the flexibility of being able to lean on the petrol motor should you want to do longer journeys, while still having the ability to pootle around on electric-only power for those shorter trips.
What’s under the bonnet?
Underneath the bonnet of the Arteon eHybrid sits a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, hooked up to an 85kW electric motor and a 13kWh battery. It’s the same setup you’ll find in a multitude of different Volkswagen Group cars, such as the Golf GTE. Here, you get a combined output of 215bhp – noticeably less than the 242bhp you’ll get in the Golf – as well as 400Nm of torque.
It’ll manage the 0-60mph sprint in 7.6 seconds, which is more than adequate for a car of this size. But, of course, it boils down to efficiency and that’s where the Arteon does well – returning up to 205.6mpg with fully charged batteries while emitting just 32g/km. It’ll also manage 39 miles on electric-only power, while a full charge will take just over three and a half hours via a home wallbox.
What’s it like to drive?
At slower speeds, the Arteon eHybrid feels as comfortable and as quiet as you’d expect a plug-in hybrid to be. It means that around-town driving is quiet and composed, yet because you can use electric power at speeds of up to 80mph, you’re able to transfer this to the motorway too.
Our R-Line Arteon also got Volkswagen’s Dynamic Chassis Control as standard and this allows you to soften off the car’s ride. Do so, and the Arteon becomes refined and comfortable. In fact, we never felt the need to stiffen up the car’s ride.
The seating position feels a touch high, but you’ve got good visibility while the cabin itself is light and the seats comfortable. The steering is relatively light, too, but this only adds the feeling of manouverability. The Arteon feels just as suited to twisting country lanes as it does hammering along the motorway, in fact. The car’s efficiency, of course, boils down to how much you charge it; with a flat battery we were seeing mile per gallon figures in the high 30s; you’d see far better from a normal diesel.
How does it look?
We’ve already stated our admiration for the way the Arteon looks and that hasn’t changed for this new hybrid version. Sleek and elegant, the Shooting Brake is arguably one of the best looking cars on sale today. As we’ve already mentioned, Volkswagen hasn’t gone to town with ways to highlight this hybrid’s eco-credentials, with only a small boot badge denoting it as anything different to a normal Arteon.
Our particular car, in R-Line trim, brought larger alloy wheels and a front bumper with C-shaped gloss black air intakes. It also adds matt black door mirrors with integrated indicators for an even more stealthy appearance.
What’s it like inside?
Like the rest of the Arteon range, the interior of the eHybrid is a classy and well-made place to be. You’ve got plenty of high-quality materials, wide displays and easy-to-read dials, while the front seats offer a good degree of adjustability. They’re wide and comfortable, too.
Space in the rear is good too and, though that sloping roofline does cut into headroom somewhat, there’s should be more than enough for most passengers.
As a result of that hybrid powertrain, boot space has taken a hit. In the regular car, you get 590 litres of seats-up space, whereas the hybrid offers 455 litres. It’s quite a significant drop but, in truth, there’s still a lot of room to take advantage of and you can, of course, extend it further by lowering the rear seats. It does mean that if you’re looking for outright stowage space, the hybrid might not be for you.
What’s the spec like?
Our test car – priced at £47,995 after options – came in R Line specification, which brought a whole host of standard features. Highlights include keyless entry, three-zone climate control and a panoramic sunroof – the latter of which really does help to brighten up the car’s cabin. In terms of technology, there’s a 10.25-inch digital display ahead of the driver, complemented by an eight-inch central touchscreen with satellite navigation and media functions. It’s simple and easy to operate, too.
Options added to our test car included the Assistance Pack Plus (£985) which added an around-view camera and parking assistance, as well as ergoComfort seats (£1,170) with 14-way adjustment, massage function and memory tech. As we already mentioned, they’re supremely comfortable and, if you’re frequently doing long-distance trips, are bound to be a worthwhile addition.
It felt like only a matter of time until Volkswagen introduced a plug-in hybrid Arteon. As we’re seeing, electrification is happening across the firm’s range, so it was a natural step for it to be included on the firm’s most executive model.
Its fitment to the Arteon could be a good thing for some drivers. Those who conduct shorter trips and will be able to take advantage of electric power will no doubt see the eHybrid as a great option. However, drivers who venture further afield – and will no doubt see the Arteon’s comfort levels as a shoe-in for this type of driving – will be better served by the long-legged efficiency you get from the petrol and diesel models.