What is it?
This is the new VW Golf Plus 2.0 TDI 110 SE, the latest version of VW’s Golf-sized almost-MPV.
It’s a bit of a case of spot the difference with the new VW Golf Plus. At the front the horizontal grille slats are now fewer in number and no longer body coloured, while the headlights mimic the new Mk6 Golf’s in design if not in shape. Otherwise the sheet metal is all but identical to the outgoing model.
The interior, shared with the Tiguan and the previous VW Golf Plus, is more or less carried over. The seats are more shapely, there is a new steering wheel design, and a smattering of new materials, but the overall effect will feel extremely familiar to existing VW Golf Plus owners.
The big changes are under the skin, where the VW Golf Plus gets the chassis and running gear from the Mk6 Golf including, in this case, the latest-generation 2.0-litre 108bhp common-rail turbodiesel, which is expected to be the biggest seller in the range.
What’s it like?
Fans of top hats will undoubtedly be pleased to know that headroom in the latest VW Golf Plus is as generous as ever, as is, on a more serious note, interior space in general.
Thanks to that extra height, the seats in the VW Golf Plus are more upright than in the ordinary Golf, making for more generous legroom front and rear, despite the Golf Plus sitting on an identical wheelbase to its sibling, and adding only 5mm in length. The extra height of the VW Golf Plus also means that seats-up luggage space is 550 litres, bettering the Golf by 200 litres.
The most significant addition to the equipment list is VW’s park assist system - now standard on SE models - which steers the car into spaces for you. It’s unnerving, and must be undertaken slowly, but it is quite effective, if a little gimmicky.
On the road, the new VW Golf Plus displays the same quiet, supple, refined ride that characterises the new Golf. The engine, as we’ve come to expect of VW’s common-rail turbodiesels, deploys its 108bhp and 184lb ft with sophistication and adequate gusto. Our only criticism is that it occasionally feels as if it has to take a breath before giving its best at low to medium revs.
In terms of handling, the VW Golf Plus feels exactly like what it is – a taller, heavier Golf. So while, it steers and handles with authority, it doesn’t have the incisive, rewarding handling of, say, a Ford C-Max.
Should I buy one?
Here lies the rub. If you want a family hatch with a VW badge, an ordinary Golf is just as effective, while if you want a proper MPV, then go for a VW Touran. So although the VW Golf Plus is a perfectly competent car, we just don’t see the point of it. Unless, as we say, you are fond of wearing top hats.