A Golf for hat wearers

Road test: Volkswagen Golf SV

In our astonishingly busy lives, the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’ often becomes blurred. I need a coffee. I want a holiday. These simple words are often interchanged and uttered with little thought to their absolute meanings. Never could this difference be more poignant than in the world of motoring. I need a faster car, I hear you say. No, but I’m quite sure you want one! I need to swap this three year old model for something newer. Again, unlikely. I need a larger car. Well, here is where the lines converge but do we really need a larger Volkswagen Golf?

In the past, the Golf Plus was the slightly taller version of the benchmark C-segment family motor. For the Mark 7, it’s called the Golf SV or Sports Van (although there’s no ‘SV’ on the tailgate to point this out to the uninitiated). It’s 128mm taller, 83mm longer and 81mm wider than the otherwise very capable Golf ordinaire. Where these changes make a real difference is for rear seat passenger leg room, due to the extra 48mm between the axles.

The Golf SV is arguably less attractive than the regular Golf. The glass area is tall and the proportions are not quite as pleasing. That said, the standard corporate Volkswagen front is neat and the simple lines are unlikely to show their age.

Step forward in quality

Inside, the new tall Golf reflects Volkswagen’s latest step forward in terms of cabin quality. It is the small things, from the smooth feel of the indicator stalk to the quietness of the six-speed fan which might not be noticed by anyone new to the brand but they all add to the long-term pleasure in their use. The textures are also improved, with better plastics on the dashboard and neat high gloss inserts. Having just attended the new Polo launch, we were surprised to find just a smaller media/nav display screen in this Golf than that fitted to higher spec Polos.

The Golf SV is not going to set the pulses racing in terms of dynamic handling but it is certainly well behaved and with the punchy 150PS diesel, it is no slouch. The DSG dual clutch auto is well suited to Volkswagen’s diesel in this type of application and it makes reasonable progress (0-62mph in 9.2 seconds). Sport mode makes little difference to the steering feel but does hold lower gears in our auto. The only downside of the DSG ‘box is that quick getaways from standstill (particularly in reverse) can be a little jerky.

Need or want?

Do we need a larger Golf? Need might be necessitated by an additional family member, greater luggage capacity or additional towing ability. The Golf SV really only delivers additional useful length and a little height: good for viewing the road ahead, aiding access and egress for those marginally less mobile and wearing tall hats. Modest sales of the Golf Plus demonstrate there is a market for the taller Golf but unless you habitually wear a stovepipe hat, your reason for buying the Golf SV is likely to sit firmly in the ‘want’ category.

Golf SV GT TDI, £26,815 as tested

Power: 150 PS (@ 3,500-4,000 rpm), torque: 340 Nm (@ 1,750-3,000 rpm), emissions: 122 g/km CO2 (band D), 0-62 mph: 9.2 secs.

Motor Writer rating: ●●●○○

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