Volkswagen Golf SV

VW Golf SV lr

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By Tim Saunders

When I was told that I would be testing the Volkswagen Golf SV, I imagined it was the standard hatchback model. That is not the case though. The SV is a larger than life hatchback, more like the C-Max is to the Ford Focus. It’s larger and higher up in all the right places although it does look a little more van-like than its smaller hatchback relative. Outside the UK it is actually named Sportsvan and is in fact the direct replacement for the Golf Plus. VW sold over 900,000 of these and in Germany the Plus accounted for 20 per cent of all Golf registrations.

A trip to Kent puts it through its paces.

To start, it has to contend with all the usual Saunders paraphernalia that includes everything except the kitchen sink. If we did not have a need for a pushchair probably all of the luggage would fit in the large boot. I am always impressed with the high quality of finish on every VW I have driven and this model is no different. The seats are comfortable and supportive, finished in a hardwearing fabric. I like the fact that the rear seats can be pulled forward by 180mm giving a larger boot space if required. That extends the load area from 500 litres to a 590 litres while folding the 40/20/40 split rear bench increases space to 1,520 litres allowing me to transport a washing machine to the tip and collect a load of logs.

At times the SV does feel a little too large for comfort when driving, notably when trying to reverse park. Arguably it would benefit from parking sensors and a video camera. I try to parallel park on the outskirts of Faversham and my attempt would be a fail on a driving test and the parked driver behind me leaves in disgust. It would also be advantageous if this model was fitted with satellite navigation.

Overall the driving experience though is good, it travels at speed on the motorway with ease although there is a little noise but then there are high winds. The 1.6 turbo diesel unit prefers not to travel at slower speeds especially in second or third gear. It really does need a boot to deliver good performance. In common with most diesels it does need a bit of welly to get going but this is all part of the diesel experience and the frugal amongst us will not mind when we see that despite travelling at 70mph it still returns over 50mpg. In these days of six and seven speed manual gearboxes some might expect something a bit grander than the five speed unit but it is typical VW, smooth and reliable.

Being higher up than a standard hatchback provides the driver with a better view of the road ahead and allows me to overtake a slow moving vehicle where I would otherwise be unable to in a lower car.

“Longer, wider, taller and more spacious than the hatchback it’s based on, the new Volkswagen Golf SV is the perfect antidote for growing families no longer able to squeeze into the firm’s regular hatchback,” writes Parkers, the car experts. “The boot’s almost as big as the Estate model and there’s extra passenger room all round thanks to a wheelbase 48mm longer than the hatch it’s based on. It may not have proved quite so popular here, but plenty were still captivated by the extra space and flexibility offered, and it only gets more practical in the latest incarnation.”

Overall, while there is a feeling of quality and robustness about the vehicle one cannot help feeling that it is lacking some useful features that would be really appreciated.

2014 onwards

New price range:

£19,075 - £27,015

Used price range:

£14,437 - £24,696

Top speed: 119mph

0-60mph: 10.9secs

Power: 108bhp

Economy: up to 72mpg

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