From £19,0908
First purpose-built Golf MPV is short on innovation but neatly transposes the hatchback's merits onto roomier product

What is it?

The new Volkswagen Golf SV, or 'Sportsvan' as it’ll be known in the rest of Europe. Officially, it replaces the proportionally awkward Golf Plus that in 2013 ended an eight-year tenure during which it sold a modest 42,248 units in the UK. 

But while the Plus was intended as an MPV, it was really just a vertically stretched Mk5 Golf, confined as it was to the old hatchback's platform and wheelbase.

Thanks to the shape-shifting wonders of the Mk7 Golf's MQB platform, however, the SV now has the tools to take a proper swipe at the compact MPV class in general and the sharp-handling, practical and roundly impressive Ford C-Max in particular.

For a £1245 premium over the five-door Golf hatch, or £550 more than the Golf estate, the SV offers passenger-focused roominess (its 2685mm wheelbase and 1578mm height easily outgrowing both siblings) and more flexible seating while retaining a manageable overall length of 4338mm – some 224mm shorter than the estate and just 83mm longer than the hatch.

Despite its transformations, the SV uses tricks such as a glasshouse-extending fifth side window and bonnet-lengthening creases to comfortably upscale the hatchback's considered aesthetic. And while the driver's seating position remains elevated and visibility is very good, there's no unwelcome, perched feeling that you're sitting atop a copy of Greater London's Yellow Pages.

What's it like?

Inside, the tidy switchgear, premium cabin materials and smartly functional dash theme are all familiar, but the bespoke layout is less driver-centric than in the other Golfs.

Door bins are well sized rather than cavernous front and rear, but imaginative cabin storage solutions are scarce – the drawers under the front seats (paired with seat-back picnic tables in SE and above), for example, are too small and tricky to access to make a decent contribution.

By today's standards, the rear seating solution also lacks an ingenious spark. The three-seat bench splits, slides, folds and reclines either as a whole or in 60/40 sections – much the same as the Golf Plus's did – and the middle seat remains quite skinny. A top-spec C-Max's rear seats additionally tumble forward, swallow up the middle pew when it's not needed, or come out altogether.


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But headroom is excellent, as is legroom, unless the rear bench is slid right forward to extend the boot's healthy 500-litre capacity by 90 litres (maximum load space is an equally impressive 1520 litres).

Our 2.0-litre TDI engine (joined by a 1.6 TDI and 1.2 and 1.4 TSI petrols at launch) delivered plenty of pep via the positively weighted six-speed manual gearbox despite a 120kg weight penalty over the hatchback – adding just 0.6sec to the 0-62mph stat – although there's little shove on offer above 4000rpm and the engine's droning wears a bit thin. Otherwise, dynamics are very much like the hatch's: tidy rather than scything handling, a convincing balance of body control with ride comfort and rolling refinement in spades.

Should I buy one?

That depends on whether you can talk yourself out of the C-Max, which despite being £275 more expensive is quicker, more involving, offers more flexible accommodation and more extra luxuries than the SV.

That said, the VW's superior economy, generous roster of modern safety tech and its faithfulness to the hyper-polished and desirable Mk7 Golf template will likely win plenty of buyers over.

Volkswagen Golf SV 2.0 TDI SE

Price £23,950 0-62mph 9.2sec Top speed 132mph Economy 65.7mpg (combined) CO2 112g/km Kerb weight 1474kg Engine 4 cyls, 1968cc, turbodiesel Power 148bhp at 3500-4000rpm Torque 251lb ft at 1750-3000rpm Gearbox 6-spd manual

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9 May 2014
Crushingly dull and getting duller but with bigger discounts, i predict the VW group will suffer a Tesco like drop before too long.

9 May 2014
Still happy I got the new Picasso. Nothing can touch it bar possibly the handling but for me its not far off the C-Max in that respect.

I still think the French do this the best.

This does come across as a bit of a half arsed market filler.

11 May 2014
The new Picasso looks great, that's the way to go if you need this type of vehicle.. that golf in orange or not looks absolutely dire. Any bloke that steps out of one of them is a complete and utter gimp.

13 May 2014
Lol NY_69 as if any prospective buyer gives a monkeys what you think. I would rather have a this than a French blancmange with the instruments from an Astra GTE.

16 May 2014
Cleverzippy1 wrote:

Lol NY_69 as if any prospective buyer gives a monkeys what you think. I would rather have a this than a French blancmange with the instruments from an Astra GTE.

Loss of perspective? I think you need to loose your preconceptions. The C4 is lighter than nearly all its rivals, more practical and better on fuel. The GTE had a Digital dash, all put the bottom spec C4's come with a high-def screen which you can customise with personal photos, view the sat nav, a few others or just have the dials. funnily enough its not a world away from the new mk3 Audi TT, not a 25yr old Astra.

9 May 2014
The Golf and this variant is dull and boring and has been for too long, while the price creeps to BMW/Audi prices.

This was fine before when its rivals had serious flaws, but nowadays you cant say any Golf rival is bad at all. They are are good, maybe not Golf good (technically), but looks nice and are reliable, even Renault and PSA nowadays! The cheap keep getting better, and BMW etc prices are getting cheap. Honda is struggling in the UK because of this, and VW is next.

13 May 2014
Baggsson... I have a twin charger TSI Golf and it is superb - it is a very enjoyable (and very fast) car to drive. I've also had a E46 330 coupe, and my current Golf is a better drive than that ever was. When I bought my Golf 3 years ago, I compared it back to back with the 3 series saloon, and preferred the practicality of the Golf. The quality of the VW was better, and the ride much smoother. In my experience (of owning and test driving many BMWs and VWs) VW are (have pretty much always been) at least as good as BMW, both in build and quality of materials. Drive similar models from both BMW and VW and you'll realise what a rip off BMW is today. You say "creep towards Audi prices", but if you check you'll find that Golf and A3 prices are virtually identical. You take your pick, you make your choice. VW have moved up market, and they compete directly with BMW/Audi/Merc.

9 May 2014
Behold the new Golf Lard!

10 May 2014
that wouldn't even suit the rather dull-ish car (Golf) that this rather lardy car-MPV is based on. Golf Plus was more like it.

11 May 2014
I know the Touran has seven seats, but is there really a place for another Golf MPV? I didn't think the previous Golf Plus was that bad, and I wouldn't go calling this a vast improvement. It's certainly no less 'awkward' if they think the previous model was awkward. I've seen a fair few new Picassos on the roads now and it looks absolutely fantastic.


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