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Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Undercover MPV is sleeker than boxy Touran


  • Practical
  • Easy to drive
  • Comfortable
  • Not an SUV


  • Not very exciting
  • Bigger than Golf hatch
  • No hybrid model
  • Not an SUV


Volkswagen Golf SV

Few cars highlight the difference in car culture between the UK and Europe like the VW Golf SV – a mini-MPV that has sold ten times as well in Germany than here since it was launched.

It rivals small MPVs like the Ford C-Max and Citroen C4 Picasso, with a flexible rear seating setup and large boot that should make it more attractive to families than the considerably more popular Nissan Qashqai.

A five-door hatchback that takes the immensely successful VW Golf and adds practicality, interior space and ride comfort – it’s hard to understand what’s not to like.

What engines does the VW Golf SV come with?

Following a facelift in 2017 the engine line-up was revamped with a choice of 1.0- and 1.5-litre petrols and 1.6- and 2.0-litre diesels.

Power outputs range from the entry 85hp petrol to the top 150hp petrol or diesel – the former is a three-cylinder unit while all options are turbocharged. There’s a selection of five- and six-speed manual gearboxes plus six- and seven-speed DSG autos too depending on engine torque, with the exception of the 85hp unit, which is manual only.

VW says the top seller will be the 1.5-litre TSI with 130hp and DSG in SE Nav trim, followed by the same configuration with a manual ‘box. These two alone will make up half of all sales - such is the suitability of this particular engine to the Golf SV.

Does it come with lots of equipment?

It’s hard to say for now because the full UK spec for the facelifted car hasn’t been released yet but models up until the 2017 model year came with a similar selection of equipment to the standard Golf.

Facelifted cars get new bumpers front and rear plus standard LED rear lights and a different headlight layout with optional LEDs.

The radar sensor for the now-standard autonomous braking has been moved behind the VW badge and new, larger infotainment screens from the Golf hatch find their way into the cabin.

Is it very practical?

Yes – considerably more so than a Golf hatchback because of an extra 50mm within the wheelbase, but not so much as a boxy seven-seat Touran.

It has more headroom and rear legroom than both the hatch and estate, and a boot that fits between the two.

The rear bench slides forwards and backwards, plus the seat backs tilt, so rear passengers will find it very easy indeed to get comfortable.

The Parkers Verdict

The Golf Sportsvan is one of the most flexible and spacious hatchbacks around. With its elevated seating position and a rear seating system with longitudinal adjustment, the Sportsvan offers interior properties that are otherwise usually found only in a traditional MPV.

As a result, this Golf will appeal to drivers who like to sit a little higher, who travel with children, who want flexibility for their leisure activities and who value a compact Volkswagen that offers a lot of stowage space. 

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