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.
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