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.