2021 Volkswagen Arteon eHybrid Review

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The Volkswagen Arteon eHybrid’s plug-in drivetrain adds efficiency to Volkswagen swoopy saloon.

Volkswagen’s Arteon Fastback is a more emotional alternative to the practical Passat saloon. But adding the firm’s eHybrid plug-in powertrain means it can now appeal to the head as well as the heart, and this petrol-electric set-up is well suited to the swoopy Arteon.

The car is a premium product that focuses on refinement, and the 1.4 TSI eHybrid delivers plenty of this, thanks to its electrical assistance. The electric motor makes 84kW on its own, taking the total output to 160kW and 400Nm of torque. It’s this that helps whisk the Arteon along in relative refinement.

Volkswagen Australia is yet to confirm pricing and timing locally, so we don’t know if the hybrid is on the horizon yet.

VW claims a total of 62km of electric running, but in our experience this was closer to 48km. Still, in EV mode performance is adequate and the Arteon will easily be able to travel at freeway speeds without troubling its combustion engine.

Running on electric power alone, you occasionally notice the older six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission’s slightly more binary approach to shifting compared with newer automatic hybrids, but it’s better with both motors contributing.

Here the electric motor adds a worthwhile boost to the car’s performance – 0-100kmh takes a fair 7.8 seconds – and the Arteon is civilised when just cruising around. Refinement breaks down a little once the battery is depleted, because the 1.4 unit has to shoulder the load itself. As a result, it gets a little more vocal than when both power sources are working in tandem.

To charge the 13.0kWh battery takes three and a half hours using a 3.6kW feed from a wallbox, rising to five hours with a standard three-pin domestic supply.

There’s also a driving mode to charge the battery. However, this seems counter-productive to the Arteon eHybrid’s ethos of reducing its environmental impact, since it uses the petrol engine as a generator. Limit your journeys to match the Arteon’s battery range, though, and it should be frugal.

However, the extra weight that the battery and electric motor add means that the Arteon doesn’t offer the level of agility its looks might suggest. That mass means it’s more lethargic in corners than its pure-ICE equivalent. Its handling is neat and tidy, with just a flash more fun than a Passat, but not much. Its mature road manners mean that it’s a good cruiser, though, where the hybrid system’s refinement pays dividends.

Dynamic Chassis Control adaptive dampers are fitted as standard, but they’re best left in comfort, where the ride offers a good balance of smoothness and control.
In the sportier modes the car becomes a little choppier and is less settled.

There’s a 563-litre boot on offer behind the big, powered tailgate, so practicality is fine, even if headroom in the rear is a little tighter than in a conventional saloon, owing to the swooping roofline that defines the Arteon’s styling.

In Elegance trim you get three-zone climate control, keyless operation, semi-autonomous adaptive cruise control, a 10.25-inch digital dash and an eight-inch infotainment system with nav.

There’s plenty of safety and assistance features too, including adaptive LED lights, lane assist with road-edge recognition, blind- spot monitoring, autonomous braking, all-round parking sensors and a rear camera.

The Volkswagen Arteon eHybrid uses a known toolkit of parts, so the outcome of this recipe is relatively predictable. The plug-in model offers strong efficiency (with the battery charged), plenty of kit and the car is a bit more stylish than some VWs. It’s not that sporty, but majors on refinement and a ride that on the whole is comfortable.

Sean Carson

Final Verdict:

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