First Drive: Volkswagen Golf SV
Sector: Mini-MPV Price: £18,875–£26,815 Fuel: 50.4–76.3mpg CO2: 95–130g/km
The new Golf SV is one of those cars which, on both paper and in the metal, seems quite an appealing proposition. Yet who it is exactly going to appeal to, I’m not quite sure.
And those were near enough my exact same thoughts when I drove the Golf Plus for the first time. Back then, I scratched my head and wondered who would need, or desire, and then pay for the privilege of owning what was fundamentally a Golf hatchback with an additional 20mm of extra headroom? But then again, what do I know? Since it first went into production, nine years ago, Volkswagen has sold over 900,000 units, globally.
Volkswagen is clearly on a mission to prove me wrong again, and the Golf Sportsvan – or SV – is all set to replace the car I couldn’t fathom out, with another car I still can’t fathom out.
It shares the same platform and running gear as its smaller and larger siblings, but it now has a sense of its own individuality. The Golf design DNA is still prevalent throughout, mildly disguised behind a cloak of what seems to be the architecture of a mini-MPV. The end product, however, does culminate into something which appears to be a slightly effeminate, anabolic-steroid enhanced Golf. It’s so wrong, it’s right.
Inside, anyone who has recently driven a new Golf could be sitting behind the wheel of the SV and swear it was the same car. Even the trim levels follow that of the Golf hatchback, with the S, SE and GT. All cars are equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio and a 5.8-inch touchscreen monitor as standard, while the SE and GT receives adaptive cruise control with front assist and city emergency braking.
The longer wheelbase and wider track makes the cabin feel more spacious than a standard hatchback and the rear bench slides backward or forwards, to either give greater legroom to back seat passengers or increase the load area slightly. Fold the back seat flat to the floor – which has the option to be split in 40-20-40 configuration – and its cargo capacity expands from 500 litres to 1,520 litres, which is 76 litres more than the outgoing Golf Plus. The front passenger seat also folds fully forward to give 2,484mm of unobstructed length.
Despite the fact it could easily be mistaken for a small and mundane people carrier, the Sportsvan driving characteristics still mirror those of its hatchback brother, which is never going to be a bad thing, even if it seems a tad predictable.
When it comes to the choice of engines and transmissions Volkswagen has stuck to the tried and tested, leaving the selection between two petrols – a 1.2-litre TSI or 1.4-litre TSI, or two diesels; either the 1.6-litre TDI and 2.0-litre TDI. There’s also a 1.6-litre 108bhp six-speed manual Bluemotion which, unsurprisingly, delivers the best economy – 76.3mpg and 95g/km CO2. All these engines are the exact same sources of power found in the rest of the Golf range, with virtually identical performance figures to match.
The Golf SV is a bit of an anomaly. Mixing MPV, estate and hatchback, it ticks many boxes, but leaves a sense that it may have done better ticking one or two very well.