New Volkswagen Golf SV Review

Spacious MPV version of the Golf is an excellent family car

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • Refined and well built
  • Good passenger space
  • Excellent engine range
  • Not as involving as rivals
  • Less practical than rivals
  • Not the cheapest in its class

£20,575 - £28,935 Price range

5 Seats

52 - 68 MPG


The Volkswagen Golf SV is a more practical and spacious version of the VW Golf and it’s a far more capable MPV than the Golf Plus it replaces. The Ford C-Max is it’s closest rival followed by the Citroen C4 Picasso and the Renault Scenic.

Prices start from £20,575 and if you buy your new Golf SV using carwow you can save £6,760 on average.

Inside, it’s typical VW fare – material quality that is above the class average and supreme build quality. There are very few differences between the SV dashboard and a regular Golf one except for the larger air vents and better spacing between buttons. Passenger space is great on all seats except the middle one in the back row. The boot, while big, falls behind rivals’ ultimate capacity.

Security and confidence are the main feelings you get while driving the Volkswagen Golf SV. It has minimal body roll and goes into corners eagerly, helped by the clever electronic front differential that keeps it in check.

TheVolkswagen Golf SV comes with a large range of petrol and diesel engines. As with the hatchback, the 2.0-litre diesel has the best blend of performance and running costs, but the 1.4-litre petrol is not far behind and is almost as frugal while sounding better.

Equipment levels closely follow those of the Golf and the basic S model does without alloy wheels, but gets air-conditioning, seven airbags, an infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth phone connection.

A bigger Golf really is the best way to describe the interior of the SV. The classy dashboard is almost identical to its smaller sibling, meaning high quality and easy to use switchgear, although the driving position is less driver-focused and more practical. You sit higher than in a Golf hatchback so you get a better overview of the road ahead. There is the same large range of adjustments for the driver’s seat as in the regular Golf so anyone can easily find a comfortable position behind the wheel. 

VW Golf SV passenger space and storage

The Golf SV is longer, wider and much taller than a Golf, meaning generous space for four adults. The middle rear seat is narrower than the others and also suffers from limited legroom because of the transmission tunnel. 

Space for passengers is more than in a Ford C-Max or a Renault Scenic but storage areas have been less of a priority for VW. There are generous door bins and some under-seat storage, but practical features are lacking compared to the Citroen C3 Picasso and Ford C-Max that have much more cubby holes and actually usable underseat storage areas.

VW Golf SV boot space

Boot space is better than in the Golf hatchback too, at 590 litres with the sliding (and reclining) rear seat bench all the way back. That is more than what the rivals like C-Max (432 litres), Picasso (537 litres) or Scenic (522 litres) can offer and the space can rise to 1,520 litres if you fold the rear seats to the floor. 

However, with the seats down, it’s a fair way off the C-Max (1,684 litres), Picasso (1,852 litres) or Scenic (1,837 litres) despite being priced to compete with them. 

You might be forgiven for seeing the SV’s size and thinking it won’t be anywhere near as good to drive as a Golf. In fact, many testers agree that it feels almost as agile as a Golf, and still maintains its great balance of a controlled, comfortable ride and good body control.

However, most agree that the Ford C-Max is a slightly more involving steer all round. Some testers also feel that the ride in GT trim is too firm considering it isn’t a sporty machine. Wind and road noise are impressively absent though, much as in the MK7 Golf, and the seating position, whilst higher, is still very comfortable. Many testers feel that the optional £800 adaptive dampers are a bit unnecessary on an MPV of this type.

The SV follows the recent family car trend for turbocharging, meaning even the 1.2-litre petrol (in 108hp guise) has a decent turn of pace according to testers.

VW Golf SV petrol engines

The 1.2-litre engine is the cheapest way into Golf SV ownership and despite it’s small size it provides the small MPV with decent, if not above class average, pace. 0-62mph in under 11 seconds is reasonable while a combined fuel economy of 56mpg is commendable. That being said the 1.2-litre can feel overwhelmed when the car is full of passengers or luggage. It emits 117g/km of CO2.

Some reviewers say the 1.4-litre petrol is the best engine in the lineup – it’s gutsy in both power levels (124 and 148hp), makes light work of overtaking and is also surprisingly economical, managing around 50mpg. CO2 emissions are slightly higher but still hover between 114-127g/km depending on gearbox choice.

There is also a 1.0-litre petrol available for BlueMotion models that can achieve a fuel economy of 62.8mpg whilst being at 105g/km of CO2.

VW Golf SV diesel engines

The diesels are still very capable, although testers feel that the 1.6-litre TDI isn’t as smooth or quick as it could be, despite hitting 70mpg. It is, however, the cleanest engine thanks to CO2 emissions of 95g/km. The tried and tested 2.0-litre TDI, however, is recommended by many as it is as strong as ever, and although it isn’t the quietest around, it can manage 60mpg with ease while the sub 10 seconds to 62mph mean it’s decently fast. VW’s seven-speed DSG automatic (six speed in the 2.0 TDI) is as slick and easy as ever, but testers feel the smooth six-speed manual is the choice for most.

There are no expert reviews yet for the entry-level Golf SV, but if the car's 1.2-litre TSI petrol unit is as well received here as it is in other Volkswagen group models, it could be worth a look for private buyers largely confined to the city.

Two versions are available, with 85 PS and 110 PS outputs. On paper, the 85 PS car struggles a little for performance, at 13.2 seconds to 60 mph, but the 110 makes a better fist of things with a 10.7-second sprint and up to 56.5 mpg economy with the optional dual-clutch gearbox. Vehicle tax is just £30 a year.

Check back soon as we're expecting the Golf SV 1.2 TSI to be reviewed shortly.

The 1.4 TSI hasn't been reviewed in full yet, though a few testers have sampled the engine as part of general reviews - select General from the drop-down menu above to read their verdicts.

The 1.4 TSI slots above the 1.2 TSI in the Golf range, and offers the most power among the petrol options. Developing 125-150 PS, it touts a brisk 8.8-second 0-60 sprint at its quickest and combined economy of just over 52 mpg at its most frugal - the DSG automatic offers a little more.

It's a more refined unit than the diesel options, but reviewers say it does need working hard to negotiate steeper hills. One reviewer describes the engine note as "wearing", but the lower-power variant is a little more tuneful. You should find the gearbox and clutch easy to use, too.

There are no reviews of the 1.6 TDI Golf SV just yet, but we've a fairly good idea of the engine's capabilities from the myriad other Volkswagens, Audis, Skodas and SEATs that use the same unit.

An entry-level model puts out 90 PS, but most SVs use a 110 PS version of the engine. Performance varies accordingly, though neither is a fire-breather. More useful is economy, which drops CO2 emissions to 95 g/km in the Bluemotion variant - an MPG figure isn't yet listed, but 95 g/km equates to around 79 mpg combined, and of course, zero-rate VED.

While not yet reviewed, testers suggest the 1.6 TDI's performance in the regular Golf means it may struggle a little with the SV's extra weight. Refinement is occasionally criticised in other models too, so the 1.6 TDI may be an economical purchase alone.

Reviews for the 2.0 TDI Golf SV are just beginning to filter in. Its mix of qualities here are as appealing as they are in other Golfs - strong performance (9.2 seconds to 62 mph) and low thirst, with some models achieving mid-60s economy.

Reviewers say it's "punchy throughout the rev range", but does its best work before 4,000 rpm - after this point, engine noise can wear a little thin. At lower revs the noise settles down, and whether you pick the six-speed manual or smooth DSG auto, you'll have little to complain about in the gear-changing department.

These are general, non engine-specific reviews of the Volkswagen Golf SV. They give you a good idea of what the car is like without going into detail on one specific engine or trim line.

As with all Volkswagens, you and your passengers are well looked after. Stability control is standard, as is a driver’s knee airbag and twin front, side and curtain airbags. If you step up to an SE spec car, the SV comes with a ‘City Emergency Braking System’ which can detect a low speed collision (up to 19mph) and apply the brakes quicker than you can. 

It also comes with adaptive cruise control and a Driver Alert system that can detect tiredness. Especially good is PreCrash, which primes the airbags, tightens seatbelts and closes windows just before a collision.

Similarly to the Golf the SV gets several trim levels – S, SE, Bluemotion and GT.

VW Golf SV S

The basic model SV still gets plenty of equipment – ticking the bare necessities for family life – air-con, all-round electric windows and an advanced infotainment system are all standard. The latter has a 6.5-inch touchscreen that can stream music and phone calls through Bluetooth and read out SMS messages from Android phones.


SE trim is in our eyes the one to go for. It gets a lot of comfort and convenience features such as adaptive cruise control, adjustable driver’s seat, a leather trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, automatic lights and wipers and a range of driver assistance systems such as emergency city braking, that makes the car even safer.

VW Golf SV Bluemotion

The Bluemotion trim is solely focused on fuel economy. You get a slightly different bodykit along with lower ride-height to improve aerodynamics, while the longer gear ratios and low-rolling resistance tyres help the SV dip below 100g/km of CO2. On paper it sounds great, but testers say the almost negligible difference in real-world fuel consumption is not worth the sacrifice in performance brought by the longer gear ratios.


The top of the range Golf SV seems a bit pointless. You do get desirable extras like privacy glass, sport seats and an improved infotainment system with 3D map view, but the sport suspension coupled with the 17-inch alloys make the ride quite firm. Too firm, in fact for a MPV. A Ford C-Max manages to be fun to drive without sacrificing ride comfort.


There’s no denying that the Golf SV is a very capable car, and perfect for those who want their MPV to feel like a standard hatchback. It’s very spacious, good to drive, well-finished and refined. It’s also very safe.

However, it isn’t very exciting to look at, drive or sit in. More importantly, it’s priced to compete with proper MPV’s such as the Citroen Picasso and Ford C-Max, which outclass it completely in terms of practicality and bootspace. It’s a very good car. It just isn’t a very good MPV.

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