Crucially, despite these dimensional mutations, VW has largely managed to retain the hatchback’s considered aesthetic using tricks such as a glasshouse-extending fifth side window and bonnet-lengthening creases. Glimpse the SV on the road and you could mistake it for a normal five-door Golf – not an error you’d have made with the Plus.
There’s familiarity in the specially designed cabin, too. Neat switchgear, high-quality finishes and sound ergonomics reprise the standard Golf, but the controls are more democratically positioned, being less angled towards the hot seat. The driver’s hip-point is at least 59mm higher than in the hatchback, too, giving the driver a good view through the glass expanses while avoiding the feeling of being perched too high.
Door bins are generous front and rear, but cunning storage solutions are few. Mid-range trim brings drawers under the front seats but they’re small and awkward to access. Likewise, the rear seating lacks an innovative edge. The bench slides 180mm fore and aft and folds and reclines, all of which can be done as a whole or with a 60/40 split.
A top-spec C-Max’s rear seats additionally tumble forward or can be removed altogether, and its central seat can stow away to free up more room for the remaining tenants. The SV’s middle pew is both skinny and inhibited by the MQB’s fixed transmission tunnel.
All that said, head and leg room is excellent front and back, even with the rear bench in its mid-way setting. The boot has a flexible floor that can be set to various heights (including flush to the boot lip) and has flaps that smooth over the not-quite-flat floor when the seats are folded forward. The front passenger seat can optionally be foldable, too, creating a 2484mm-long space.
As for equipment levels there are three trim levels - S, SE and GT with the first available with Volkswagen's Bluemotion technology. Opt for a basic Golf SV and you will find 15in steel wheels, a variable boot floor, air conditioning, all round electric windows, and a 6.5in infotainment system completer with Bluetooth preparation, DAB tuner, and USB and SD card connectivity. Upgrade to the mid-range SE models and you'll get 16in alloy wheels, lumbar adjustable front seats, adaptive cruise control, automatic lights and wipers and an active crash system.
The first two trims are also available with Bluemotion technology and aldo get low rolling resistance tyres, sports suspension, while the SE also gets cruise control.
The range-topping GT trim comes with bigger alloy wheels, silver anondised roof rails, front sports seats, front and rear parking sensors, and sat nav.
The driving experience is classic Mk7 Golf fare: untaxing, comfortable and largely refined, with a decent helping of agility. Push on over snaking roads and the balance of body control and ride quality is well struck, while the latest-generation XDS electronic differential lock quietly trims your line using the brakes on both axles. Sharp ridges are more heard than felt at low speed, and a host of available safety kit, such as city brake assist and self-parking, simplify urban sorties. Motorway progress is rock-solid.
The 148bhp 2.0 TDI engine delivers plenty of pep via the positively weighted six-speed manual gearbox despite a 120kg weight penalty over the hatchback that adds just 0.6sec to the 9.2sec 0-62mph stat. Negatives are the lack of shove over 4000rpm and an almost continuous drone from the engine bay.