8 December 2004

Volkswagen will launch a taller Golf with added flexibility next summer. The Golf Plus gets unique exterior styling and new sliding rear seats that move fore and aft by up to 160mm for extra rear legroom or a larger boot.

But the new VW will be no longer or wider than a standard five-door Golf. The car only differs in its height, which grows by 95mm, offering buyers more spacious transport that takes up no more road space than a family hatchback. The Golf Plus range will mirror the standard Golf’s direct-injection petrol and common-rail diesel engine and S, SE and Sport trims; Volkswagen UK may exclude the Golf’s 1.4-litre entry-level motor, however. If so, the car should be available from around £15,000 for a 1.6-litre FSI model.

The Golf Plus will be unique in a segment where, until now, increasing cabin space meant buying a larger car. Its closest competitor is Ford’s Focus C-Max, which also accommodates five with the advantage of independently sliding rear seats – but the C-Max is more than 100mm longer and wider than a new Focus. Mercedes’ forthcoming B-class five-seater should be a close rival for the Golf Plus, but if it is faithful to the Vision B concept it will also be 100mm longer than the VW.

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