Volkswagen's stylish new Arteon comes with lots of surprises...

Technology has come a long way in the last 15 years. We’ve journeyed from the Nokia 3310 – the highlight of which was Snake 2 – to the iPhone 7, which will order you a sofa if you ask it nicely. Meanwhile lifelike robots are only a few years away from being available in Argos. And even more importantly, Smart fridges exist.


Given all that progression, the relative lack of change in the way we drive seems surprising. Although GPS means we get lost less often, and digital music has given us a break from our 3-song tape decks, the central activity has stayed largely the same. We’re told self-driving cars are the next big thing, but legislation and technology hiccups have blocked its progress.


So when a car comes along that could genuinely change things – and save lives – it’s time to sit up and pay attention. The VW Arteon fits that bill, and it might just be the most intelligent mass-market car yet.


Here’s why: if you haven’t touched the accelerator, brakes or steering wheel within a certain period of time, the Arteon will, perhaps fairly, assume you’ve fallen asleep at the wheel. That’s when it kicks into action, trying to wake you up with sounds, visual cues, and even a physical brake tap.


And get this – if that doesn’t work, the Emergency Assist 2.0 feature will take over, which means the car will safely steer itself to a nearside lane. Given that one in six crashes1 resulting in death or injury on major roads are fatigue-related, this feature could save thousands of lives.


Emergency assist 2.0 is supported by a number of other smart extras, including Dynamic Light Assist, which lights up the road ahead by controlling the main beam automatically – giving you greater visibility, and making you safer than ever. The Arteon will even keep you in your lane if you start to drift without noticing, and its Area View function shows you images from the space surrounding your car, so you don’t bump into anything when you’re parking.


This attention to detail extends to the Arteon’s look, too – its contours, frameless windows and rear design all adds up to create a lasting impression. And on top of that, the multifunction leather steering wheel and stylish ergoComfort seats will make sure you’re sitting comfortably.


But despite all the above, our second favourite feature of the Arteon has to be the Car-Net Guide & Inform package. The system, which is displayed through a screen on the central console, will let you know in real time whenever a traffic jam is forming, and adjust your route automatically. It will also take you straight to tourist hotspots, parking spaces and filling stations after just a few screen-swipes.


For us, it was always going to take something special to beat the Smart fridge. But with the Arteon, we think Volkswagen might just have managed it.


The VW Arteon is available at our Volkswagen dealerships - book your test drive here.


1Jim Horne and Louise Reyner, Sleep Related Vehicle Accidents, Loughborough University, 2000

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