Talk about making life tough for the Volkswagen Passat. There it is, steadily earning a comfortable living as the posh family car of choice, with success as our Tow Car of the Year along the way in 2015,  then along comes a younger, sleeker, more efficient sibling, in the shape of the Volkswagen Arteon four-door coupé.

And to rub salt into the wounds, the Arteon was named Tow Car of the Year in 2019,. Ouch! But the Arteon is far more than just a Passat that’s been trimmed up a bit, because it’s roomier than you might expect, and very classy inside, and most importantly, it makes a superb tow car.

What’s it like inside?

A large touchscreen, sat-nav and digital driver's display all come as standard
A large touchscreen, sat-nav and digital driver’s display all come as standard

The Arteon may be based on the Passat’s underpinnings, but it’s longer, lower and wider, and there’s also more distance between the front and rear axles.

This translates to genuinely generous space. There’s loads of legroom in the rear seats for even taller passengers to be able to stretch out, and while you might expect the Arteon’s sloping roofline to impinge on the headroom, it actually doesn’t.

One slight compromise, though, is that the Arteon’s rear seat  can be a bit trickier to get into and out of than the Passat’s. And you probably wouldn’t want to sit in the central rear seat for too long, either, because of the large central tunnel.

Front-seat occupants will have plenty of legroom and headroom, however, and there’s loads of adjustment in the front seat and steering wheel, so finding a good driving position is simple.

The 563-litre boot is more than roomy enough, and easily accessed through a large hatchback opening; the Arteon could put some estate cars to shame in this regard.

The interior doesn’t have the same flair as the exterior, but plenty of cars put style ahead of usability, and they can be annoying. Standard kit includes a large touchscreen, sat-nav, a digital driver’s display, LED lights, dynamic indicators – and more safety gear than Thunderbirds!

How does it drive?

Driven solo, the Arteon's ride quality is supple, smooth and very comfortable
Driven solo, the Arteon’s ride quality is supple, smooth and very comfortable

The best in the range is the VW Arteon 2.0 TDI 150, a great car to drive, whether or not it’s hitched to a trailer. Solo, the Arteon is a smooth and comfortable companion that takes long distances in its stride. Wind and engine noise are conspicuous by their absence, and road noise is bearable.

The ride quality is supple, and the Arteon won’t feel out of sorts on a twisty road.

When towing, the Arteon is simply superb. It remains stable in all conditions, and has no trouble reaching and maintaining 60mph on the motorway.

The manual gearbox is absolutely fine, but on balance, the DSG automatic makes life just that little bit easier in traffic and when manoeuvring.


Not for nothing was the Arteon Tow Car of the Year in 2019. It’s roomy, comfortable and well able to cope with a trailer. And now it’s available on the used market – brilliant!


What will it tow?

  • Kerbweight 1614kg
  • Towing limit 2000kg
  • Noseweight limit 90kg
  • 85%match 1372kg
  • (Figures for 2018 2.0 TDI 150 DSG)

Running costs (2.0 TDI 150 DSG)

  • Insurance group 22
  • Annual VED £155
  • Average economy 53.3mpg
  • Interim/full service £97/£135
  • (Servicing prices supplied by Servicing Stop, 0844 324 5262,

Trouble spots

Volkswagen hasn’t had cause to recall the Arteon too often, with just five in total. Some early cars were recalled because of incorrectly manufacturers rear wheel bearing housings.

There was also a recall for a software update in the car’s ECU, because the engine wasn’t developing enough torque. Another involved the coupling of the brake pedal, and some cars could also have incorrect wiring.

Further information on the recalls can be found at

What to pay

  • High: Price £27,000 Model 2020 2.0 TDI R Line Miles 8000
  • Sweet Spot: Price £22,000 Model 2018 2.0 TDI R Line Miles 12,000
  • Low Price £15,000 Model 2018 2.0 TDI R Line Miles 120,000

Or you could try…

Audi A5 Sportback

Audi A5 Sportback
Audi A5 Sportback

The Audi A5 Sportback shares engines and gearboxes with the VW Arteon, but adds a touch of class with the Audi badge on the front. However, the Sportback cannot match the Arteon for rear-seat space. It hits back with a 40/20/40 split rear seat. The interior is superb, filled with great kit. Sat-nav comes as standard, and everything is controlled via Audi’s MMI system.

BMW 4-Series Gran Coupé

BMW 4-Series Gran Coupé
BMW 4-Series Gran Coupé

This car aims to blend the practicality of a 3-Series saloon with the style of a 4-Series coupé. There’s good legroom front and rear, and headroom in the back isn’t too compromised. The boot is huge, and an electrically operated tailgate is standard. BMW has also always offered a vast range of petrol and diesel engines, so you’ll easily find one to match your needs.

Mercedes-Benz CLA

Mercedes-Benz CLA
Mercedes-Benz CLA

One for those who put style ahead of practicality, because it can’t match the other cars here for room. It’s smaller for occupant space in the rear, and the boot is nowhere near as big. However, the driver and front-seat passenger will be comfortable. Better still, kit such as dual-zone climate control and a touchscreen is standard. If you go for one of the diesels, expect a fuel economy figure in the 50s.

Looking for a new caravan to go with your tow car? Pick the best caravan for your needs with our guide to the top tourers on the market in 2022!

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