Volkswagen Golf SV hatchback
Price £18,875 - £26,815
- Spacious cabin
- Huge boot
- Solid build quality
- Dull looks
- Less room with seats folded than rivals
- Suspension on GT model is too firm
At a glance
"The Volkswagen Golf SV is perfect if you want all the attributes of a normal Golf, but with more space"
The Volkswagen Golf SV is billed as a more practical version of the Volkswagen Golf, with extra space for people over the Volkswagen Golf Estate, and a boot that's almost the same size. The MPV will be called the SV in the UK only, getting its full-blown SportsVan tag across the rest of Europe. It is effectively a replacement for the old Volkswagen Golf Plus, a car that failed to sell in the numbers Volkswagen hoped.
Key to the new SV is a flexible interior and the car features a back seat that can slide backwards and forwards. They also split 60:40 and the VW can be specced with a front passenger seat that folds forwards for carrying longer items.
The engines on offer will be shared with the normal Golf range and are set to include 1.2 and 1.4-litre petrols, as well as 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesels. The smaller diesel qualifies for free road tax and can return economy of more than 75mpg.
Trim levels will include S, SE, GT and BlueMotion. All models get air-conditioning and a centrally mounted touchscreen.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Diesels offer excellent economy
The most economical version of the new Volkswagen Golf SV will be the 1.6-litre Bluemotion diesel, which is capable of 76.3mpg and will cost nothing to tax. It goes on sale soon. For now, the more powerful 1.6-litre is the most economical option and can return an impressive 72mpg, plus CO2 emissions of just 101g/km. The 2.0-litre diesel can still manage economy of 65.7mpg and has much more power for overtaking - if you can afford it we would recommend going for this engine because the difference in economy between the 1.6-litre diesel and the 2.0-litre diesel won't be huge in the real world, and the 2.0-litre engine is better if you plan to drive the car fully loaded.
The 109bhp 1.2-litre is the most economical petrol, it can get economy of 56.5mpg and its CO2 emissions mean you’ll pay £30 for road tax, annually, while the 1.4-litre can return economy of 54.3mpg and costs £110 to tax a year.
Engines, drive & performance
Excellent range of engines
The 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel Golf SV has plenty of power for pulling along a fully laden MPV. It feels quick enough at motorway speeds – with 0-62mph taking 9.2 seconds on the way to a top speed of 130mph – while it doesn’t cost the earth to run. The 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine isn't far off matching the 1.6-litre diesel in terms of economy – only 3mpg separate the two – and it's more than £1,000 cheaper, when fitted with VW's seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.
To drive, the Golf SV feels very much like the standard Golf, but with some extra lean in the corners. The steering is just as sharp, though, and the suspension keeps the comfortable feel of the normal car.
Interior & comfort
Interior's quiet and well-built
The Volkswagen Golf SV’s dashboard is near identical to the standard Golf’s, though the layout doesn’t focus quite so much on the driver. It is still one of the best in the business – solidly constructed, nice to look at, and easy to use. The interior is also just as quiet as the Golf's at speed, although the economical 1.4-litre petrol engine is noticably more hushed than the 1.6-litre diesel alternative. While it undoubtedly feels well built, the interior can seem a bit bland having sat inside a Citroen C4 Picasso.
The SV also has a slightly raised driver’s seat for better visibility of the road ahead, and the car also gets all the same adjustment as the normal Golf, so getting comfortable behind the wheel should be easy.
The suspension is also largely unchanged and doesn’t suffer from the SV’s extra weight – the ride is comfortable, although the body does lean a little more in corners.
The GT model has 17-inch alloys and lowered sports suspension, which seems a bit pointless on this type of car and it makes the ride feel a little bit too firm for an MPV. It’s not that it's hugely uncomfortable, it's just not a setup that suits the car. You can’t deslect the stiffer suspension if you want the GT and all the extra equipment that comes with it, so the only option is to pay an extra £800 for the adaptive suspension that has a comfort setting.
Practicality & boot space
Bigger and more flexible than the Golf inside
The normal Volkswagen Golf has enough space for four adults so it’s hardly a surprise that the Golf SV is also spacious. A downside is the middle seat in the back, which is compromised by a floor that isn’t flat and is small in comparison to the Ford C-MAX’s. The Volkswagen rear seats also miss out on the flexibility of the high-spec Ford C-MAX models. Their seats can tumble forwards and be removed completely if needed.
The Volkswagen’s rear seats can slide forwards to liberate an extra 90 litres for the already capacious 500-litre boot. That 500 litres means the SV has 120 litres more load lugging capacity than the standard Golf. Put the boot floor in its highest position and fold the seats down and you have a flat load bay with a total capacity of 1,520 litres. However, even when you remove the false floor the total load space with the seats down is a lot less than in a Scenic, C4 or C-Max.
There are plenty of storage spaces, with mid-range cars getting drawers under the front seats and all models having a split-level boot, meaning you can get the floor level with the boot lip for easy loading of heavy items. A front passenger seat that folds forwards is a useful option if you plan to carry long items and door bins are larger than those in the standard Golf too.
Reliability & safety
Well built and safe
The Volkswagen Golf SV is brand new so it didn’t feature in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. But it shares engines, technology and its construction with the Volkswagen Golf that came 18th place out of 150 cars.
Volkswagens come with a standard three-year/60,000 mile warranty, which can be extended to five-years and 90,000 miles at extra cost.
The Golf SV was put through Euro NCAP's stringent crash tests for 2014 and achieved an impressive five-star rating, so you can be confident it's a very safe car. The car comes equipped with seven airbags, a post-collision braking system (which applies the brakes after an accident to prevent a secondary collision), plus seatbelt and tyre-pressure warning buzzers.
Price, value for money & options
Price, value for money & options
All models of Golf SV get air-conditioning, DAB radio, a 5.8-inch touchscreen and a Bluetooth phone connection. Opting for the GT version we drove gets you stiffer suspension, which does a better job of cutting out body lean, and you also gets items such as leather seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, all round parking sensors and sat-nav. One option we would recommend is the £1,415 seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox, which improves performance, economy and efficiency.
The Volkswagen may be priced above some of its rivals, but it is likely to hold its value better than all of them and, as a result, could well be the better long-term proposition in terms of value.