Volkswagen Golf SV Review
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.
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Refined and well built
- Good passenger space
- Excellent engines
What's not so good
- Not as involving as rivals
- Standard car looks better
- True MPVs more spacious
Volkswagen Golf SV: what would you like to read next?
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 Golf SV. It has minimal body roll and goes into corners eagerly, helped by the clever electronic front differential that keeps it in check.
The SV looks like a regular Golf that has been magnified in low-res
The SV gets the Golf’s 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.
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.
A bigger Golf really is the best way to describe the interior of the SV.
The Volkswagen Golf SV is perfect for anyone who wants a bit more space than a regular Golf hatchback, but doesn’t want an SUV or estate. However, it’s certainly not the most exciting thing to look at
If you want to get an idea of what a Golf SV is like, imagine taking a regular Golf and inflating it a bit
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 under-seat storage areas.
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, it feels almost as agile as a Golf, and still maintains its great balance of a controlled, comfortable ride and good body control.
The 1.4-litre petrol is a gusty performers but the diesel's the one to go for if you cover lots of miles
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.
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.
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 while being at 105g/km of CO2.
The diesels are still very capable, although 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 the six-speed manual is a perfectly good choice for most.
The Ford C-Max is a slightly more involving steer all round. We 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. The optional £800 adaptive dampers are a bit unnecessary on an MPV of this type.