Can Volkswagen do luxury? | THEVOLKSWAGEN.COM

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Volkswagen has never done much, or much good, with prestige cars. The upscale Passat CC became better when Volkswagen realised it need three seats across the back for Australia, not just a pair of luxury armchairs. But the Phaeton — a personal dream of VW Group chief Ferdinand Piech — was a glory project and never made it down under. Now there is the Arteon.

media_cameraCoupe-like profile: Volkswagen Arteon. Pic: Supplied.

THE PICK-UP

ALI: It looks very coupe-ish, long and stylish.

PAUL: It’s a big move for Volkswagen, a proper flagship and the on-road price is more than $70,000, which means it’s up against Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

ALI: This is nothing like a Polo or a Golf. And it’s not like Mercedes or BMW, which tend to make a small, medium and large variety of their cars — they are all functional and plush but I don’t see a lot of thought past functionality. The Arteon has style in spades, with the digital dash and three colours for cabin lighting.

THE BAG

media_cameraThe liftback design frees up space for a huge boot. Pic: Supplied.

THE BAGGAGE

ALI: Wow, check the size of the boot. It’s hinged like a hatchback. I reckon you could fit two prams and a bike in there.

PAUL: And it’s not just a giant boot. There is great legroom in the back, too.

ALI: It reminds me a bit of the Skoda Superb.

PAUL: Well, they’re in the same family, so there must be some crossover.

ALI: The interior is finished really well and, getting back to the boot, I like the elastic luggage net for when you have only a few things or something fragile.

media_cameraThe engine has plenty of grunt. Pic: Supplied.

THE COMMUTE

PAUL: It ticks the boxes for safety gear, including one of those all-round camera set-ups, radar cruise control, auto emergency braking and semi-automatic parking for both 90-degree and parallel parking.

ALI: Sorry to sound jaded but it’s a standard VW drive for me.
I can’t tell the difference.

PAUL: But it gets along well, with 206kW and all-wheel drive. The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox also shifts smoothly and it’s pretty light on fuel.

ALI: I like the huge infotainment screen, which has great graphics and is easy to navigate. I like the various drive modes, although Eco makes the car snoozy. Sports certainly ramps things up if you’re into chewing through fuel.

PAUL: I really like the suspension adjustment, which is a slider and not just a couple of presets. I found a position that has good grip without killing the ride.

media_cameraParking is easy with the camera and sensors. Pic: Supplied.

THE SHOPPING

ALI: The reverse camera image is nice and clear. Parking is much easier now with the camera and sensors.

PAUL: The all-round view is great but I wonder about the pillarless windows with no support around the glass. It helps the coupe design but could eventually lead to rattles.

ALI: But it’s a VW. My old Beetle doesn’t rattle after 50 years.

SUNDAY RUN

ALI: I think it’s a good all-rounder. I’ve driven it a lot and it’s useful in the city and on a long trip. It’s got comfortable seats and the great entertainment will make ferrying a family across the country a breeze.

PAUL: I like many of its features, from the fluid ride to the excellent LED headlights and the head-up speedo display, even if it looks cheap like those in small Mazdas.

media_cameraThe interior is classy, with clear readouts. Pic: Supplied.

THE FAMILY

PAUL: It works better for us than a similarly priced Audi or BMW or Mercedes, with all the space in the back and that giant boot.

ALI: It’s giant, and I like the leather trim. Ventilation to the back is good, too.

ELI: My scooter fits in the boot. The back windows are really small, hard for me to see out.

PAUL: But there is that other bonus.

ELI: Yes, heated seats.

PAUL: It’s the family appeal that works for the Arteon, because badge snobs are never going to shop it against a prestige brand. That’s a point for Volkswagen to push.

THE TICK

ALI: I like the space, I like the comfort, I like the equipment. It’s a Tick from me.

PAUL: It’s not an easy sell, because luxury buyers don’t dream about Volkswagens, but it’s a very classy car and the value deal is good with everything you get. A Tick from me, too.

Originally published as Can Volkswagen do luxury?