Volkswagen Scirocco coupe
Price £20,455 - £29,520
- Stylish design
- Good to drive
- Practical interior
- Bland interior design
- Boot is tricky to access
- Rear seats aren't very comfortable
At a glance
"Good to look at and great to drive, the Volkswagen Scirocco offers an appealing blend of performance, practicality and style."
The Volkswagen Scirocco competes with coupes such as the Peugeot RCZ and Audi TT, although its more upright body shape means that it is more practical than both. The downside is that the VW arguably can’t match either the Audi or Peugeot for looks, but as with any car, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Volkswagen has developed a name for its self as a builder of excellent interiors and the Scirocco keeps that reputation intact thanks to the use of high-quality plastics, and a logical dashboard layout.
The Scirocco comes with a decent level of standard spec and buyers choose between models including the basic Scirocco, Scirocco GT, Scirocco R-Line and Scirocco GTS.
There are plenty of engines to pick from, too, ranging from relatively frugal petrol engines to economical diesels. The range-topping VW Scirocco R has been discontinued in anticipation of an all-new model, but there are still plenty available on the used market.
If you want everything that the VW Golf offers in a smaller and more stylish package, the Scirocco could be the car for you.
MPG, running costs & CO2
All models apart from the top-spec VW Scirocco R are relatively cheap to run
The basic Volkswagen Scirocco comes fitted with a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which can return 44mpg and emissions of 146g/km for road tax that will cost £145 annually. Upgrading to the higher-power 1.4-litre petrol comes at little cost to economy (returning 43mpg), although higher emissions mean road tax will be £180 per year.
The faster 2.0-litre TSI returns 38mpg and emissions of 172g/km for road tax that will set you back £205. The powerful VW Scirocco R model has now been discontinued, but if you want low fuel bills it's worth avoiding anyway – as those can only return 34.9mpg. A new model is due later in 2014, and we expect this to be slightly more frugal.
If you're looking for fuel economy then the diesels make the most sense. The basic model can manage 63mpg, while still feeling quick, and the top-of-the-range 2.0-litre TDI diesel returns 53mpg and is nearly as quick as the fastest petrol cars. Road tax for the diesels costs between £20 and £130, depending on model.
With a Volkswagen badge on its grille, the Scirocco should hold its value better than anything from Ford, Vauxhall or Hyundai.
Interior & comfort
Ride is never uncomfortable or harsh thanks to decent suspension
Even the basic Volkswagen Scirroco gets suspension that does a good job of soaking up bumpy roads, but buyers can also choose to spec a system called Adaptive Chassis Control. It allows the driver to choose between three settings – Comfort, Normal and Sport. Switching settings from Comfort up to Sport, means the suspension get stiffer (so that it better resists body lean in the corners), makes the steering heavier, and also makes the car more responsive when you press on the accelerator.
There's also a decent amount of space upfront and the Scirocco has full-sized rear seats, rather than the smaller ones you’ll get in a Peugeot RCZ or an Audi TT. For a coupe, the Scirocco is actually surprisingly practical.
Practicality & boot space
You need the keys to access the awkwardly shaped boot
The Scirocco has a decent amount of space inside, although it is a strict four-seater and the sloping rear roofline means headroom in the back might be tight for full-sized adults.
That's said, for a coupe, the boot is a reasonable size at 292 litres, and the rear seats fold flat to expand that to 1,200 litres. It does throw up one flaw though – you can only open the boot with the key fob or a button on the inside of the driver's door, so if you approach the car with arms laden with shopping, you’ll have to put it all down to fish your keys out of your pocket.
Inside, the Scirocco has plenty of storage spaces including a good-sized glovebox, storage area on the centre console, twin cupholders, and large door bins.
Reliability & safety
Tried and tested parts are also used in the previous-generation VW Golf
Although Volkswagen has a good reputation for reliability, it could only manage 16th place out of 32 firms in our 2013 Driver Power survey. That still means it finished ahead of big competitors such as Ford, Peugeot, and Citroen, however it failed to beat both BMW and sister company Audi for owner satisfaction. The Scirocco, meanwhile, came 60th out of 150 cars in the Driver Power model rankings.
The Volkswagen Scirroco got five-stars for safety when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2009, thanks to a long list of standard safety kit. The car gets equipment such as side and curtain airbags, as well as driver and passanger airbags, and electronic stability control.
Engines, drive & performance
Fun on winding roads but avoid top-spec R, which is firm and uncomfortable
The quickest Volkswagen Scirocco by far is the top-of-the-range R model, which can get from 0-60mph in just 5.8 seconds and is electronically limited to 155mph. It's worth noting that this model is no longer on sale, though there are plenty available on the used market.
The 2.0-litre TSI petrol model offers all the performance most people will need, however, and is also cheaper to run than the R. The 2.0-litre TDI diesel is the best option if you want to mix economy with performance, and can be had with either 138bhp or 175bhp.
If you want a comfy ride, then opt for the Adaptive Chassis Control, which does an excellent job of keeping things relaxed on bumpy roads. But no matter how many options you fit, the fact that it is based on the old Volkswagen Golf means it never feels as fun to drive as the latest Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Price, value for money & options
Decent value compared to rivals but some way behind the VW Golf
All VW Scirocco models come with decent levels of equipment, including 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, and a touchscreen infotainment system.
High-spec GT models, meanwhile, add things such as dual-zone climate control and Volkswagen's excellent Adaptive Chassis Control – with top-of-the-range R models adding twin exhaust pipes, lowered suspension, and clever electronics that make it even faster in the corners.
However, there's no avoiding the fact that the Scirocco is essentially a VW Golf under the skin, and with a higher price tag and less space inside, it simply can't be regarded as decent value for money.
What the others say
As with its rival, the Scirocco’s cabin can’t match the sense of occasion generated by the exterior. The dashboard is borrowed from the firm’s Eos drop-top, while the switchgear and dials will be familiar to Golf owners.
Slightly chunkier 17in alloys and heavier-looking tyres – visually that’s all that distinguishes the 1.4-litre Scirocco TSI from the full-strength 197bhp 2-litre. And for £387 of the £2K you’ve saved you can upgrade to 18s to complete the illusion.
While the 197bhp 2.0T engine might be broadly the same as the GTI's, the torque arrives earlier, making it seem quicker (though it hits 62mph in 7.2s, the same as the Golf). It's a bit inert when you really start to go mental, but you still come away with the sense that if you had to have a car that spans a multitude of situations, the Scirocco would be it.
So the Scirocco (named after a north African wind) is like a breath of fresh air. The last two were both based on the Mk 1 Golf. This one's underpinnings come from next year's Golf Mk VI. And it certainly brings back the excitement of the wonderful 190PS Corrado VR6.