Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
  • Decent petrol and diesel range but no hybrid
  • BlueMotion model dropped from 2017 facelift
  • New 1.5-litre petrol is smooth, punchy and quiet

There are six engine outputs to choose from with four petrols and two diesels ranging from 85hp to 150hp. All but the base 1.0-litre motor have a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes, so if you want a DSG you’re well catered for.

Petrol engines

Kicking things off is the entry-level 1.0-litre TSI with 85hp from 5,00rpm available in S trim with a five-speed manual gearbox only. This offers up 175Nm from 2,000rpm and is unlikely to be a particularly exciting powerplant - that’s reflected in its 0-62mph time of 13 seconds and 110mph top speed.

More like it is the punchier 110hp version of the same engine - a three cylinder unit, incidentally, which doesn’t announce its piston count particularly vocally unless you really hammer it, although you need 5,000rpm for peak power.

There’s a swell from the turbo in the middle of the rev-range, where you’ll find 200Nm of torque from 2,000rpm, and a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed auto gearboxes. This car takes 10.7 seconds to get to 62mph at tops out at 119mph.

Offering the same transmission choice is the 1.5-litre EVO TSI with 130hp from 5,000rpm and is realistically all the power your Golf SV needs, taking just 9.6 seconds to get from 0-62mph. This engine is far smoother and quieter than the 1.0-litre, and although it produces the same 200Nm of torque, it’s more readily available at lower (1,400rpm) revs. Top speed here is 125mph.

Topping the bill in terms of petrol power is the 150hp version of the same engine, with a burlier 250Nm of torque, from 5,000rpm and 1,500rpm respectively.

This boosted figure means you get the stronger six-speed auto ‘box or a manual with the same number of ratios, and the choice of GT trim only. It’s faster too with 0-62mph taking 8.8 seconds and the top speed is 132mph.

Diesel engines

These won’t arrive in the UK until 2018 when we’ll be among the first to get behind the wheel, with a 1.6-litre, 115hp unit and a 2.0-litre 150hp engine, featuring five-speed manual and seven-speed auto or six-speed manual and six-speed auto gearboxes respectively.

The latter has proved impressive in larger VW vehicles such as the Touran and Tiguan thanks to its higher torque output, and we reckon this will be a great engine if you regularly fill the car and boot to max capacity.

  • Similar driving experience to a Golf hatchback
  • A bit more body lean and slower controls though
  • Dynamic Chassis Control offers a sportier edge

Like most things based on VW’s one-size-fits-all chassis (called MQB by engineers) the way the Golf SV drives is spookily similar to the Golf hatchback – so body movements are well controlled while the steering is nicely weighted and accurate (although numb), helping you place the car where you want it on the road.

The extra height, width and wheelbase means the SV’s responses are slightly softened compared to the sharper hatchback, but there’s still plenty of front-end grip, the SV using the same electronic XDS differential to maximise traction across the front axle through a bend.

Through the tighter corners, and at speeds you wouldn’t dare travel at with children on board, it will push wide and begin to lean over more, but it’s never unsafe or even particularly unruly.

Tailor your experience with performance options

Dynamic Chassis Control - which alters the responses of the suspension - is available but our experience of the Golf hatchback suggests that should your car not be kitted out as such, you’ll rarely notice its loss.

A drive select system with Comfort, Eco, Sport and Individual (allowing users to tailor all responses) modes for the steering, engine and, where fitted, automatic gearbox responses is available on higher spec cars.

Regardless of choice the steering isn’t laden with feel and feedback, but it is more than acceptable for a family car of this type.