How do you judge a car in just three or four days?
There really isn’t much you can say about it other than the way it drives, how the interior feels, and the overall efficiency.
That is the issue with motoring journalism in Malaysia.
So the best way to properly understand a car is to look into a forum where other owners share their experience.
Or to drive a somewhat high mileage car that has been properly used and abused by other members of the Malaysian motoring fraternity.
Which is what I did when Volkswagen Malaysia handed me a car with a little over 10,000km on the odo.
There is no doubt that the Volkswagen Arteon is one the best looking car of its segment.
It created waves when it was first introduced to the world, and it still turns heads today.
At about RM220,000, it seems a better buy than the established competition; the BMW 3-Series, the Mercedes C-Class and the Audi A4.
It is a lot bigger than the competition and a lot more spacious.
And surprisingly offers more creature comforts, though it does not offer as much safety tech as the other Germans.
And that is what makes it fall short of being utterly perfect.
But then again, the Arteon also has held up surprisingly well after 10,000km in the hands of motoring journos.
Of course the cars are fully refurbished before being passed from one journo to another, but there are things that simply cannot be done so quickly.
Such as seat bolstering, faded plastics, buttons that become undone and surfaces that are easily scratched such as the door sills.
I found none of that in this Arteon.
What I did find though is that in the 5-6 days that I had the car, the entertainment system failed on me, once!
This was when I wanted to switch from the Apple CarPlay, to which I was connected to wirelessly, to a regular radio station.
I had Google Maps running (not a fan of Waze) and perhaps the onboard processor had too much.
The system then wouldn’t respond for a couple of minutes, and then it went blank for another couple of minutes.
Shortly after it restarted and was fine for the rest of my drive time.
Just tech being tech, I guess.
But other than that though, I have nothing but praises.
I loved the spaciousness of the Arteon.
For the first time ever, I did not need to move the front passenger seat forwards to accommodate my kid’s rear facing car seat.
The 563 litre booth accommodated everything you need to manage a child over a weekend, plus groceries, plus the wife’s bags, and then some.
Just for reference, the booth is slightly smaller than that of the Passat, but yet is bigger than the 4-Series and the Audi A5 Sportback.
The entertainment system, despite that one issue I experienced with it, was impressive with a 700W 12-speaker DynAudio sound system.
Metallica’s S&M album never sounded so good in a mid-segment passenger car.
The wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity is truly god sent, and something Mercedes-Benz and BMW should take a card from.
However, I do feel the engine does not do justice to the car’s good looks.
The 2.0-litre engine produces just 187hp and 320Nm of torque.
But for those with a need for speed, there is the Arteon R that produce over 300hp.
But it has never been officially offered in Malaysia save for that one time Volkswagen showcased a demo car to gauge public interest.
That didn’t go too well since it would have costed over RM300,000.
But the one great thing that the standard Arteon does incredibly well is fuel efficiency.
I did about 550km during my drive and still had about a quarter tank left when it came time to return the car.
Volkswagen also claims that the Arteon needs just 6.3 litres of fuel to travel 100km on the combined cycle.
And this technically means that in an ideal scenario, the Arteon can travel 1000km with its 66-litre tank. This does depend on how heavy your right foot is though.
Despite its frugal nature, the Arteon also offers the usual array of Drive Modes that make the car sharper or comfortable, all at the touch of a button.
This either stiffens or softens the suspension, adjusts the steering wheel and the accelerator according to the selected drive mode as well.
This did lead to a more interesting drive in Sport mode as the car generally felt more eager.
Even after 10,000km of being driven by people determined to bring out the worst in the car, yours truly included, the Arteon has been steadfast.
The interior is always the first place that wear and tear sets in, and is not easy nor cheap to restore, and despite that the interior of this Arteon has held well.
The powertrain too has proven to the naysayers that Volkswagen has left its old engine and gearbox issues firmly in the past.
And for if you regularly maintain it with care, then there shouldn’t be any issues.
If you do buy brand new, the entire ownership experience is made better with a five-year warranty and a three-year free maintenance program.
Also, it is also worth noting that the new 2021 Volkswagen Arteon is due to be launched in Malaysia real soon.
This means prices of the current Arteon will drop, making it an incredibly good buy in the used car market.
If you can look past the lack of power and appreciate the overall design and the efficiency of the car, then the Arteon would be well worth considering.
Especially when compared to the old guards from Germany.
The Volkswagen Arteon is priced at RM221,065.28 excluding insurance.