Could Volkswagen's Arteon be an antidote to our SUV mania?
First Irish drive: Volkswagen Arteon
I suspect many of you would choose an SUV over a large 5dr any day. The figures suggest as much.
But are we overlooking some key facts? Lots of people may want to drive something different but don't necessarily fancy an SUV.
Volkswagen reckon their new Arteon 5dr coupe-like motor might just fill a niche or two in that area of the market with its room, styling and handling.
We'll have to wait and see, but senior Volkswagen executes told me they reckon the Arteon can attract those who don't fancy an SUV but do want something fresh.
It's a striking looking car, no doubt, and with the 2-litre 150bhp diesel powering it in combination with the exceptional DSG transmission, it certainly provided food for thought. Would we buy this or a mid-size SUV for €45,000?
On space alone, thanks to its long wheelbase, the Arteon beats the socks off many a similarly priced crossover.
There's a mega boot (563-litres or 1,557 with rear seats folded) and all-round rear-seat room is huge.
The the lower centre of gravity means you get a better drive, but you do lose the high driving position so many now expect and enjoy.
The car's entry price is €43,295 - our short-test Elegance spec cost €46,770 before a few grand's worth of extras were added. That's €50,000+. For a Volkswagen 'saloon'?
Yes, but more people are buying Highline spec on the Passat so the price gap isn't as wide as might appear.
It is, of course, seen as the successor to the Passat-based CC, but Volkswagen point out it is a totally different model (though the cabin is redolent of Golf and Passat).
As well as the 2-litre 150bhp I drove, there is a 190bhp, and range-topping 240bhp (4MOTION AWD standard). While the 150bhp has a 6spd manual, I'd favour the DSG. It costs €2,200 more.
Three trim levels apply. Standard Arteon spec includes predictive cruise control, 18ins alloys, 8ins Discover Media sat nav system, PDC, ErgoComfort seats, app connect, auto wipers, 3-zone aircon (rear controls).
Elegance (most popular, they reckon) has leather side seat bolsters, voice control, active info display, rear view camera, ambient lighting, 18ins Muscat alloys, LED rear lights.
The sportier R-Line spec adds eponymous details on steering wheel, seats, scuff plates, badging etc, 19ins alloys, adaptive chassis control (240bhp diesel; €1,201 option on other R-Line models).
The probable major seller, the 2-litre 150bhp Elegance 6spd manual, starts at €45,995. The 190hp Elegance version has 7spd DSG and costs €50,195, while the top-of-range R-Line starts at €47,795.
There are several time-specific technology upgrades and packs that, they claim, cost a lot less as bundles than if you were to opt for them individually. Over to you.