- Drives well
- Not very exciting
- Not that cheap
Longer, wider, taller and more spacious than the hatchback it’s based on, the new Volkswagen Golf SV is the perfect antidote for growing families no longer able to squeeze into the firm’s regular hatchback. The boot’s almost as big as the Estate model and there’s extra passenger room all round thanks to a wheelbase 48mm longer than the hatch it’s based on.
Remember Golf Plus?
SV might be a new name – it’s named Sportsvan outside the UK – but it is in fact the direct replacement for the Golf Plus. A car that notched up over 900,000 sales, and in Germany accounted for twenty percent of all Golf registrations.
It may not have proved quite so popular here, but plenty were still captivated by the extra space and flexibility offered, and it only gets more practical in the latest incarnation.
Space, the final frontier
The rear seats are the Golf SV’s party trick, as while there’s acres of headroom everywhere (thanks to it being 126mm higher than the hatch) it’s second row legroom that really impresses. There’s enough room for adults to sit behind each other with room to stretch, and if you want to sacrifice some of that toe-pointing ankle-room the rear bench can be moved forward by 180mm.
That extends the load area from 500 litres to an impressive 590 litres (just 10-litres short of the estate model), while folding the 40/20/40 split rear bench increases space to 1,520 litres – though the backrests don’t sit completely flat. Those looking for the ultimate in practicality should specify the optional folding front passenger seat, which allows for loads up to 2,484mm long to be carried inside the car.
Four Trims, seven engines
Model designation follows the Golf hatchback structure, so there’s S, SE and GT as well as a standalone Bluemotion model. All are well-equipped, with entry level cars arriving in showrooms with Bluetooth, DAB digital radio, a 5.8-inch colour touchscreen, iPod connection, Isofix seat mountings, seven airbags and air conditioning.
SE cars add Adaptive cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, auto lights and wipers and driver profile selection to swap between comfort, sport, individual and eco modes for the engine, steering and air conditioning. Inside there’s some extra practical touches such as rear map reading lights, drawers under the front seats and rear picnic tables. GT models upgrade the wheels to 17-inches, while inside there’s sat-nav, Alcantara and cloth seats, and parking sensors to avoid any scrapes.
Engines are borrowed from the Golf, so the line-up starts with an 84bhp 1.2-litre TSI petrol and is supplemented by a 108bhp version of the same and two 1.4-litre TSI’s with 123bhp and 148bhp. The lower-powered 1.4-litre TSI is smooth, linear and plenty powerful enough for this family wagon. For those looking for petrol refinement with diesel economy, there's also a 1-litre TSI BlueMotion with a claimed overall efficiency of 62.8mpg.
On the diesel side there’s a 1.6-litre model with 89bhp or 108bhp, and a 2.0-litre with 148bhp. It’s the 108bhp 1.6-litre diesel that is expected to be the biggest seller in the UK, though we can tell you that the more powerful 2.0-litre is the sweetspot in the range in terms of efficiency and performance, managing to achieve over 60mpg while emitting less than 130g/km of CO2.
Efficiency hunters will do well to look at the BlueMotion, whose 1.6-litre TDI helps it return over 76mpg and emit just 95g/km CO2. All engines, except the entry-level 1.2-litre TSI and Bluemotion model, can be ordered with a six or seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.
The SV drives as you’d expect; like a Golf that is slightly heavier and slightly higher, with responses only slightly dulled during quick direction changes. Grip is plentiful, helped in part by the standard XDS electronic differential, and ride comfort is a highlight.
Alongside the Adaptive Cruise Control and Front Assist the Golf SV offers buyers the chance to add a Driver Alert system which will recommend the driver take a break if it detects reduced attention levels. There’s also a camera operated lane assist system, a Dynamic Light Assist which bends its high beam around vehicles in front to eliminate glare and a new blind spot monitor.
You can order your VW Golf SV from your dealer right now, with a list price that starting at £18,875 for the 1.2-litre TSI with 84bhp in S trim, while the SE 1.6-litre TDI with 108bhp will retail at £22,585.
Read on for the full VW Golf SV review to ensure you make the most informed decision you can when signing that order form.