Road tests 26.7.2018 11:18 am

New VW Arteon is a beauty to compete with the big boys

Yes, it’s a ‘ship’ – but it grows on you with its signature R-line steering wheel and heated seats.

One would think that a manufacturer as big as Volkswagen would do some in-depth market research on car
sales trends before they jump in and build another luxury saloon car that may not even sell.

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In recent times, VW has tried to compete with other luxury car manufacturers by introducing saloon cars such as the VW Phaeton, the VW Passat and even the VW CC into their range – and one must admit, it hasn’t been much of a success story.

European sales statistics show people are more likely to purchase VW SUVs, such as the Tiguan – and even its panel vans, such as the Caddy, are more popular than these luxury cars.

This has affected sales so much that VW has recently discontinued the CC range.

We also no longer get the Jetta sedan in this country. These are tough times and VW has decided that the Arteon is what they need if they want any real chance of keeping up with the “big” luxury car manufacturers.

Keep in mind that Audi and VW are sister companies, so this really is no challenge for them at all.

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When I first saw the Arteon, the car seemed huge. It convincingly filled up a parking bay, and for some, it may seem a daunting challenge to navigate this “ship” around the bustling streets of Johannesburg.

The 20-inch Rosario wheels filled the wheel well in proportion to the car, and the R-Line body kit, with its unique front bumper, was eye-catching.

The finer details such as the chrome beading down the side, the double chrome tail pipes and – my favourite – the panoramic sunroof, manage to give the car a stylish and sporty look that could stand out alongside its competitors.

So stylish that it commanded the attention from owners of Audis, BMWs and even the Golf 7 R, as I saw them peer over when I stopped at the traffic lights.

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I used the car in and around the city during the heart of the school holidays, and I took full advantage of its luxury by taking my family on several outings.

The R-line theme was carried on throughout the interior with the signature R-line steering wheel, silver pedals, interior lighting, and, for the cold winter mornings, the R-line heated seats.

The infotainment system is similar to other cars in the VW range: it is easy to use, whether it is Bluetooth connectivity, or more advanced features such as the navigation, anybody can figure it out.

After driving from one side of the city to the other, one thing was clear: this 2.0 litre turbodiesel engine, was economical.

VW claims a consumption of 5.6L/100km.

Yes, you heard me right!

Although this Arteon has a TDI engine, VW offers you the option to fit the R-Line body kit onto all its models as an optional extra.

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If I had the option I wouldn’t have it any other way. The TDI engine paired with the R-line body kit is the perfect balance of sportiness and economy.

The only downside is that you don’t have 4-motion system on the diesel option, but who needs all wheel drive when you can save money on your fuel costs, especially with the price of fuel rising?

As my time with this beautiful car came to an end, I realised this ride had grown on me.

Although I was sceptical about this car in the beginning, VW has proven that they can most definitely compete with the big boys.

Now we wait to see if VW can improve on their previous saloon car sales failures and prevent this beauty from also being discontinue.

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