From £19,0908
Larger SV drives like a standard Golf and its additional practicality may make it the more appealing family car to some
Matt Prior
14 August 2014

What is it?

Taller, longer, more spacious. Those are the three things that underpin the idea of the Volkswagen Golf SV, which here we’ve driven in the UK, in ‘GT’ specification, for the first time.

GT spec brings with it sports suspension, which sits around 15mm lower than other Golf SVs, so despite the SV’s height increase of more than 100mm over a Golf hatch, and a 50mm increase in wheelbase, GT trim is the one that gives it the best chance of retaining more of the regular Golf’s agility.

What's it like?

Sports suspension, you should know, isn’t very sporty. Unless your idea of sporty is, perversely, a ride I thought was better than a similar-engined SV, in ‘S’ trim, which rode on 15-inch steel wheels with 65-profile energy tyres. 

Maybe there’s less unsprung mass in the GT’s 17-inch alloys, or perhaps the sidewalls of the 45-profile tyres are softer than low-energy ones, but the SV’s ride, thus equipped, is both compliant and well-controlled, even without optional adaptive dampers.

The turbocharged 1.4-litre TSI motor of our test car pulled well from low revs, delivers its power smoothly, and the action of the six-speed ‘box is relatively slick. The steering’s accurate and responsive, making the Golf SV an easygoing companion. Perhaps less involving than a Ford C-Max, but its equal elsewhere.

Elsewhere it’s pretty Golfy, only with some buttons that are less aimed towards the driver, and a more airy feel. Rear accommodation is particularly generous, too, mostly as a result of the extra height.

That's useful if you regularly carry adult rear passengers, but just as appealing, we suspect, for those who will like the SV’s higher hip-point than regular C-segment hatches, making it an easier car to slide into.

Should I buy one?

That the Golf will outsell the SV – as the Ford Focus outsells the Ford C-Max – by such a significant margin mostly reflects how we feel about it.

Most people might as well stick to the regular version. But if you’re one of those who find its particular blend of attributes – a bit more space, a bit easier to step into, without buying into a much larger car – are what you need, this is the tall small family car we’d steer you towards.

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Volkswagen Golf SV GT 1.4 TSI 140

Price £24,895; 0-62mph 8.8sec; Top speed 132mph; Economy 50.4mpg; CO2 130g/km; Kerb weight 1466kg; Engine 4cyls, 1395cc, turbo petrol; Power 148bhp at 5000-6000rpm; Torque 184lb ft at 1500-3500rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual

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Inthedark 16 August 2014

Dashboard

I think I would prefer the SV over the standard Golf purely because it does not give driver eyeline priority to air vents rather than driver information.
fellwalker 14 August 2014

Golf SV actually fits golf clubs in the boot

I had an hour with one of these, and was able to get my electric trolley and big golf bag in the boot - by sliding the rear seats forwards about 4 inches. There is just enough space behind the wheel arches to fit the clubs in the bag width wise.
Whereas with my Skoda Octavia mk 2, I can fit two full sets in the boot, with the SV, one is the absolute max. I dislike the boot floor which normally has a shelf in to take its level up to the same as the folded back seats. What a waste of space underneath, and if you drop the floor there is a huge lip.
I didn't find the seat comfortable after 3/4 of an hour. My shoulders felt pushed forward, and my back not supported even though it has a lumbar support (too low for me). My electric seats are significantly better.
Amazed how the kit on my 4 year old Octavia is still better than the SV.
The SV drove very well, smooth, powerful, controlled. The DSG gearbox was excellent, gear changes hardly noticeable. Back in my Octavia the steering felt surprisingly heavy, though a fortnight later I don't notice it as heavy.
At the wheel, the SV felt so familiar with, with the same instruments and cubby holes. I'm not convinced by the satnav but didn't get long enough. At least they include updates for at least a while.
The seat makes the SV a no vote for me. Thank goodness for a longer test drive.
On balance, I'm still frustrated as there isn't a reasonably sized SUV (SPORTS utility vehicle) that takes a full set of golf gear in the boot without adjustment. I wish a manufacturer would build one with enough space behind the rear wheel arches. The SV is for and away the closest so far.
I hope it gets electric seats with a fully adjustable lumbar support like my Octavia. I'd love to see 4 wheel drive along with the excellent DSG on the 1.4 TSI, which is a superb engine. My wife has a polo blue gt with that DSG and engine and it is brilliant.
Shrub 15 August 2014

@fellwalker

Just a thought but have you tried a model without the more heavily bolstered sports seats (assuming that is what you tried)? There is a standard comfort seat available.
Pete-Suffolk 14 August 2014

Golf SV

I have already test driven one of these as I have been waiting for it to come out! I found it to be wondrously spacious, easy to get into and out of, with a massive boot, quiet, comfortable and - here's the best bit- it is not pretending to be a 4x4! So it's a more honest, does what it says on the tin sort of car.

The old Golf Plus was hobbled by looking so dreadful, but this looks fine. If I can only raise the funds I shall be buying one soon!

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