From £19,7808
Mild mid-life refresh enhances the appeal of Volkswagen’s oil-burning coupé

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Scirocco

Golf-based coupe comes at a surprisingly tempting price, but can it revive a classic name?

Matt Burt
6 October 2014

What is it?

Potentially, one big contradiction – but Volkswagen has long shown that the marriage of a sportily styled coupé body and a sensible fuel-sipping diesel engine has merit.

Indeed, diesel variants of this Golf-derived Scirocco are more popular than petrols in the UK, which is the second-biggest market for the car. 

We’ve driven both the higher-powered 2.0-litre R-Line version and the range-topping Scirocco R on international turf before, but now it’s the turn of this 148bhp diesel to prove itself on home soil.

What's it like?

This version’s 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine produces 148bhp – 10bhp more than the equivalent outgoing model – and maximum torque of 251lb ft. It’s the punchy mid-range shove that’s most impressive here. Even in this lower-powered diesel option in the range, there’s a prodigious amount of it across a wide spread of revs.

For the most part, the diesel is refined. Only when the revs climb high is there a reminder, via the engine’s noisy tone, that there’s an oil-burner under the bonnet. 

However, the healthy torque on offer means that it’s not a situation explored too often. You don’t have to chase every engine revolution to eke out excellent performance, meaning that this car is best suited as a comfortable, leggy cruiser.

Of course, the real benefit of opting for one of the diesels is the economy. Volkswagen claims 62.8mpg on the combined cycle for the DSG-equipped variant, and our test drives over varied routes consistently and effortlessly returned north of 50mpg, according to the trip computer. 

The six-speed DSG transmission occasionally isn’t as slick as you’d like during mixed-pace driving, and there’s a tendency to hang on to lower gears for longer than you might wish, even if you’re not calling on all the power. Stubby paddles behind the steering wheel enable manual shifting but don’t raise the levels of involvement for the driver.

As part of this facelift, the Scirocco’s electro-mechanical steering has been remapped. It weights up adequately at higher speeds and delivers linear responses and a moderate amount of feel. 

The Scirocco is unruffled and composed over most road surfaces. Handling is benign without being particularly involving or rewarding.

The mid-life styling tweaks for a model first seen in 2008 are more nip and tuck than extensive overhaul but, to our eyes, the Scirocco’s design still looks sleek and fresh.  

The practical cost of that figure-hugging body style is poor rear visibility, accentuated by two huge rear headrests that all but block out any vestige of sight via the rear-view mirror. 

This and cramped legroom in the rear are the only significant ergonomic drawbacks of an otherwise comfortable and well appointed cabin, which now features an updated dashboard.

Should I buy one?

This Scirocco variant’s blend of comfort, frugality and performance points towards it being an excellent long-distance cruiser rather than the fully engaging sporty coupé that its styling might imply.

2014 Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDI 150 DSG

Price £26,525; 0-62mph 8.6sec; Top speed 132mph; Economy 62.8mpg; CO2 119g/km; Kerb weight 1470kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Power 148bhp between 3500-4000rpm; Torque 251lb ft between 1750-3250rpm; Gearbox 6-speed dual-clutch automatic

6 October 2014
It still has those damned silly fixed rear headrests which block the view when reversing. Why not use common sense and fit the slide down headrests used in other cars that sit almost flush with the top of the backrests?

I've never seen more than two people in a Scirocco anyway. Come on VW, get your act together.

6 October 2014
God if that's all you can pick on - the headrests, you must lead one exciting life.

6 October 2014
I was considering it for my wife who would like a better view when reversing. My Cayman S is exciting enough but thanks for your polite comment.

6 October 2014
The Scirocco never really worked for me, could never see the appeal over a Golf. And when you consider £26k for an interior closer to a mk5 Golf let alone a Mk7? That'll explain the lack of new Scirocco's over the last few years.

6 October 2014
Regardless of whether updates were needed or not, this mid-life refresh has come six years after the car was launched which is either rather late or this Scirocco is going to have a long shelf life. I'd have thought an all-new, Mk 7 Golf-based model would be round the corner unless VW have different plans for their small coupe. Perhaps something based on the next Jetta which will be replaced around 2 years time? The Jetta is totally now distinct from the Golf and has its own life cycle since the Mk 5 Golf morphed in to the "Mk 6" but the Mk 5 Jetta was replaced by an all-new model and is no longer just a 4dr Golf.

6 October 2014
£26k seems an awful lot compared to the £22k I paid for my mk7 Golf with the same engine in SE spec. This Scirocco is no faster, it weighs more, as a result of weighing more it also uses more fuel. As someone has also said it's based on a mk5 Golf so it's ageing a bit and IMO the interior isn't as nice as in my car. However, I do understand that this car is midway through its life as where the mk7 Golf isn't, but with this in mind I think pitching it at £26k is a step too far. Somewhere around the £23k mark would be more palatable for many. Yes it's well known to be better to drive than a Golf but I think that gap has reduced with the current offering.

6 October 2014
AddyT wrote:

£26k seems an awful lot compared to the £22k I paid for my mk7 Golf with the same engine in SE spec. This Scirocco is no faster, it weighs more, as a result of weighing more it also uses more fuel. As someone has also said it's based on a mk5 Golf so it's ageing a bit and IMO the interior isn't as nice as in my car. However, I do understand that this car is midway through its life as where the mk7 Golf isn't, but with this in mind I think pitching it at £26k is a step too far. Somewhere around the £23k mark would be more palatable for many. Yes it's well known to be better to drive than a Golf but I think that gap has reduced with the current offering.

How the F* did you only spend £22k on a 2.0TDI Golf, when they are not offering any discounts (according to the local dealer) and even with basic options like metallic paint, keyless entry and folding mirrors the price pushes up to nearly £25k.....

7 October 2014
Just checked Orangewheels and they will get you £4200 off a new 2.0tdi SE so £18500.

7 October 2014
PhilM4000 wrote:

Just checked Orangewheels and they will get you £4200 off a new 2.0tdi SE so £18500.

That's because the SE has now been replaced by the Match so is only available from existing stock. Still a new car and a cracking deal but it's already been built so spec is fixed.


6 October 2014
That price is a complete joke. For only £470.00 more, you could land yourself an entry level, petrol version of the Jaguar XE which will have 197bhp and only 179g/km CO2. Ok, the Scirroco is a coupe in the class below, but that price for a small VW coupe is ridiculous. Also, compared to the XE which is high tech, advanced, fantastic looking and will be class leading, the Scirocco is not only already 6 years old but it's based on an 11 year old car in the Mk 5 Golf and is not competitive. So, a compromised, old-hat car with ancient mechanicals and questionable ability or the most cutting-edge car in its class that will set new standards and blow its rivals away? Any one who goes for the VW is clearly mad.

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