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Bigger Golf SV measures up as a versatile, spacious family holdall

06:00 02 October 2014

Volkswagen Golf SV is a much more practical multi-purpose vehicle spin-off than the Golf Plus it replaces.

Volkswagen Golf SV is a much more practical multi-purpose vehicle spin-off than the Golf Plus it replaces.

Andy Russell/Volkswagen

Volkswagen’s new Golf SV packs plenty of space and practicality, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

Volkswagen Golf SV

Price: Volkswagen Golf SV S 1.4 TSI DSG automatic £22,060; manual £20,645 (range £18,875 to £26,815)

Engine: 1,395cc, 125PS, four-cylinder turbo petrol

Performance: 0-62mph 9.9 seconds; top speed 124mph

MPG: Urban 45.6; extra urban 62.8; combined 54.3 (manual 40.9, 62.8, 52.3)

CO2 emissions: 121g/km (manual 125g/km)

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 17% (18%)

Insurance group: 16E (out of 50)

Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? Length 4,338mm; width (including door mirrors) 2,050mm; height 1,578mm

For all its motoring might, Volkswagen’s Golf Plus never quite added up in the multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) market despite riding on the back of the enduringly-popular hatchback.

Launched in 2005, UK sales peaked the following year at 8,856 and by last year just 1,672 found homes.

The Golf Plus was essentially a taller hatchback, with the added benefit of sliding rear seats, but it wasn’t a big Plus for practicality and nor did this rather dull model add much to the Golf’s desirability.

That is all set to change with its replacement – third version of the Mark VII Golf after the hatchback and estate. Called Golf SV in the UK (Sportsvan in mainland Europe), it’s clearly part of the family but much more stylish and attractive than the Golf Plus and also practical. That’s because it is bigger than the hatchback in every respect – 83mm longer, 81mm wider and 126mm higher with the added benefit of an extra 48mm between the front and back wheels – all of which help to make it roomier inside.

Add a host of clever touches and practical features and the Golf SV is also a lot more attractive to live with, particularly for those who have bought into the Golf brand but find themselves needing more space for growing families or load-lugging duties.

For starters the rear bench seat slides back and forth through 180mm to tailor rear legroom and cargo capacity to meet a variety of load needs and passengers.

Even with the rear seat set right back to give a huge amount of legroom for six-footers to stretch out in, the Golf SV still has a deep, 500-litre boot – 76 litres more than the Golf Plus and considerably better than the 380 litres found in the Golf hatchback. Slide the rear bench forward and, while legroom is best suited to children or small adults, the Golf SV’s luggage capacity rises to 590 litres which is only 15 litres short of the estate’s loadbay.

To make it even more practical, while the rear bench seat cushions split 60/40 the seat backs split 40/20/40 and fold completely flat for a long load floor with the multi-level boot floor slotted into its highest position at sill height for easy loading and concealed storage underneath. For taller items, simply position the floor panel lower or, to maximise boot space, take it out altogether. All this potential for load-packing practicality makes the Golf SV’s versatility as attractive as its looks compared to the dumpy, dowdy Golf Plus.

When my two sons were young, and we seemed to carry everything but the kitchen sink with us, something like the Golf SV would have proved so much more satisfying to live with and drive than our humble estate car while wide-opening doors and comfortable, supportive seats, set at a sensible height, make getting in and out – or popping children into child seats – easy.

With so many thoughtful, practical features there’s not disputing the Golf SV is easy to live with but, on the driving front, it also boasts that highly-enjoyable Golf experience.

The supple suspension does a good job of soaking up bumps and lumps, even with a full load. Combine that with very little tyre noise even on poor surfaces and covering long distances is most relaxing.

Like the Golf, the larger SV model has sure-footed handling, cornering confidently and tidily despite the taller body and the steering makes light work of parking but weights up nicely at speed.

Engines are also shared with the Golf range. The 90 and 110PS 1.6-litre and 150PS 2.0-litre turbo diesels will find favour with many buyers but if you don’t do the miles the refined TSI turbo petrol engines – 85 and 110PS 1.2-litre and 125 and 150PS 1.4-litre – have a good combination of performance, economy and low emissions.

I drove the 125PS 1.4 TSI, mated to the seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox, which is a pleasingly potent package with a sub 10-second 0-62mph sprint and 47 to 53mpg in mixed motoring.

What you also get is the Golf’s tasteful, user-friendly fascia with all the controls at your fingertips – especially the touchscreen for the intuitive infotainment systems – plenty of cabin storage and quality trim.

The only thing that took the shine off my test car was the electronic parking brake which released automatically with a bit of a jolt no matter how gentle you were on the throttle pulling away.

The Golf SV is offered in S, SE and GT trim levels – all well kitted out with SE upwards gaining additional and useful driver aids.

With this new Golf SV, Volkswagen now has the measure of the car-derived MPV market and not just in terms of space and practicality.

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Andy Russell

Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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