"Good to look at and great to drive, the Volkswagen Scirocco offers an appealing blend of performance, practicality and style."
Based heavily on the suspension and chassis that underpin the MkVI Volkswagen Golf, the Scirocco is an exciting-to-drive coupe that competes with the likes of the Renault Megane coupe and sporty Audi S3. The range includes 1.4-litre turbocharged and supercharged petrol engines as well as a 2.0-litre diesel. There's an optional R-Line equipment level that adds the sports look without any mechanical changes. It's not to be confused with the flagship R model, which is fitted with a 261bhp version of the turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine in the VW Golf.
The Scirocco is based loosely on the MkVI VW Golf GTI, but is lower and wider than its hatchback cousin. It's also built with lightweight aluminium suspension parts, which make it feel very different to drive. On the road, the Scirocco feels nimble, and responsive. Thanks to the standard Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC), cars can also be tailored to respond in almost any situation. It offers two modes. Keen drivers should ignore Comfort mode and go straight to Sport, which delivers even sharper steering and throttle responses. And we have no complaints about the engine range –our favourite is the 2.0-litre turbo, which, combined with a manual gearbox, offers strong acceleration. The 1.4-litre turbocharged and supercharged engine also impresses but we would avoid the flagship R model - its suspension is uncomfortably firm, and the DSG automatic gearbox feels slow and clumsy.
The Scirocco's dampers constantly adjust the stiffness of the suspension to suit the quality of the road surface. As a result, the ride is never uncomfortable. This, combined with the wider track and unique aluminium suspension parts, also makes the car feel stable on challenging roads. Inside, there's plenty of space for driver and passengers, with even those in the back getting a surprising amount of head and legroom. The bucket seats fitted up front are very comfortable over long distances, while the adjustable driving position is also very impressive.
It might be a bit bland to look at, but the inside of the VW Scirocco is beautifully crafted. The car feels robustly built from behind the wheel, too, and both the steering and brakes feel reassuringly weighty. With a five star Euro NCAP crash-protection rating the car has performed well in safety tests, and also offers traction control and electronic brake force control as standard.
A strict four-seater, the Scirocco has a 321-litre boot that's not terribly easy to load, thanks to an awkwardly shaped hatch that can only be opened by a keyfob, or from the inside of the car. A high loading lip means retrieving bulky items from the bottom is difficult too. At least you can fold the rear seats flat, which liberates up to 1,100 litres of boot space. With the seats folded down, the rear of the car is at least as big as key rivals, and almost as spacious as family hatchbacks like the Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf.
Value for money
With flagship versions of the Scirocco costing almost £30,000, we would never describe this car as cheap. However, compared to rivals it does offer reasonable value for money. Entry-level machines cost from around £18,000 and are well equipped as standard, offering air-con, traction control and electronically adjustable suspension (ACC) as standard.
Diesel versions of the Scirocco offer the best fuel economy, while all cars have very strong resale values. However, if you're looking to keep your long-term costs down, the cheapest 1.4-litre TSI has the lowest running costs, with impressive fuel economy and the strongest residual values. Servicing, thanks to the Volkswagen Service Promise, is reasonably good value, with VW promising to match quotes for work and offer some routine maintenance free of charge.