Volkswagen was late producing a midi-MPV, and was made to pay dearly as many rivals plundered a market clearly hooked on new found levels of versatility. Now, realising that its traditional models may no longer cut it with many of today’s car buyers, VW has set about fighting back.
Not content with the Golf and Touran, it has just added a further model to its ranks: the Golf Plus, which it boldly describes as a ‘reinvention of the traditional hatchback’.
If this all sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve been here before. Cars like the Peugeot 307 SW, which expands the functionality of the 307 hatchback without growing too much in size or price, have paved the way. VW’s version is a multifaceted five-seater that succeeds in extending traditional hatchback boundaries.
With its one-and-a-half box silhouette, the Golf Plus manages to avoid the boxy look of many midi-MPV rivals. Among the new details are trapezoidal-shaped headlights, a small quarter window ahead of the front doors, a more defined V-form in the lower edge of the rear windscreen and stylish tail lamps using LED technology taken from the upmarket Phaeton saloon. Strangely, however, VW has decided not to endow its latest model with its new corporate grille, as seen on the Golf GTi.
Underneath, the Plus shares its underpinnings with the new Golf. The two are the same width (1759mm), and the Plus is just 2mm longer (4206mm). The big difference is in height, which increases by 95mm to 1580mm.
In the cabin
The increased height has allowed VW’s engineers to incorporate appreciably larger door apertures than on the Golf, easing entry. The doors open wide and you virtually step up into the interior. With the front seats 75mm higher than those in the Golf, there’s no awkward folding of body parts: you simply slide onto the seat and swing your legs into the generously sized footwells. The driver is presented with a commanding view of the road.
The high-mounted dashboard uses the same agreeable (if somewhat dark) soft-touch plastics as the Golf, but has been thoroughly redesigned. The fascia is dominated by a large central pod a hand’s width away from the steering wheel that houses secondary controls.