The VW Golf was the absolute zenith of hatchbacks. As we all get older and our families grow, our tastes become a little more functional. That’s where the SV steps in. Bigger inside and out, this family-sized car isn’t an MPV. It does, however, offers much more room than a standard Golf, making it absolutely perfect for families.
If the ‘regular’ Volkswagen Golf is a nine-hole pitch ‘n’ putt, the Golf SV is a full par-five, 18-hole course. The SV is still a Golf at heart, that much is obvious from the styling. There’s just more to it. It’s bigger and beefier than its comparatively wimpy younger brother.
While the old VW Golf Plus was like a slightly pumped-up version of the famous hatchback, this SV has clearly been hitting the gym hard. It’s both taller and longer than other Golfs, yet mostly retains the look you’d expect. In other words, there’s been no drastic overhaul in the aesthetic. That can only be a good thing, of course.
‘SV’ stands for ‘Sports Van’, by the way. A slightly odd name, given it doesn’t look particularly sporty or like a van. What it looks like is a slightly bloated Volkswagen Golf.
The SV is still a Golf at heart, that much is obvious from the styling.
What’s it like to drive?
Being a bigger and more utilitarian version of the Golf, you’d expect there to be a noticeable drop-off in drive quality. Yet there isn’t.
Despite being quite obviously taller, wider and heavier than the non-SV version, the ride quality and performance is almost identical.
Okay, so drivers with a really keen driving sense may feel a slight reduction in steering sharpness. Other than that there’s all the grip, punch and response you’d expect from a Golf. Compare the drive to some of the SV’s chunkier rivals and it excels itself. The SV has the scale of a Scenic with the drive of a Golf. What’s not to like about that?
You’d expect there to be a noticeable drop-off in drive quality. Yet there isn’t.
As you’d expect, there’s a fairly lofty seating position in the SV, so you benefit from nice height while driving. It’s hardly a sporty sitting locale, but it does give a great view of the road ahead. As you’d also expect, there’s plenty of room throughout the rest of the car. After all, why make a car bigger if you don’t have more space? Legroom is ample, while headroom is positively bountiful.
Anyone familiar with the interior of a Golf will recognise the style, touches and layout of the interior - all apart from its swish customised moulded dashboard. That’s a nice unique feature. That classy dash sits quite high, making everything just that easier to reach. Altogether the Golf SV oozes a simple classiness. Inside it’s unfussy and well built. If you like your design slightly more modern and bolder though, you may be a tad disappointed.
The infotainment system comes with an unusually large touchscreen. This lends an air of the upmarket to the experience. The lack of tactile buttons can prove a little tricky to navigate at first. DAB and Bluetooth come as standard, with higher spec SVs featuring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity options.
There’s plenty of room in the boot of the SV, of course. Understandably, larger MPVs will carry more. For a crossover like this, there’s lots of space.
Slide the back seats forward and you triple your storage, giving you a full 25% more capacity than a regular Golf. If boot space is a big priority, you may want to look at the Golf estate instead.
As for clever interior storage solutions, the designers clearly weren’t having a very inspired day when they came up with the Golf SV. The glovebox is a decent size and the front and rear door bins are fairly generous. Other than that? There’s no innovation, no clever little cubby holes, or anything above and beyond what you might expect. Which is a minor shame.
Running costs and reliability
Just like its slightly slimmer and shorter younger sibling, the Golf SV comes with a range of engine options. Most of your choices offer quite impressive fuel economy indeed. Pick a petrol engine and drive like the sensible and mature motorist that we know you are and you’re looking at anywhere up to 45 miles to the gallon. Opt for the newer 1.6-litre diesel and you can add an extra 10mpg to that.
As with all cars from the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer, the Golf SV comes complete with a series of different safety systems. It also received the maximum five-star rating in its Euro NCAP crash test. They’re about as safe as safe can be.
What we love
As your family grows and space becomes one of the most important aspects of a vehicle, hatchbacks like the Golf can become a distant memory. With the VW Golf SV, you’re able to keep the fun and performance of a Golf but gain a whole heap of space. The SV is the perfect option for anyone who needs more room and practicality but doesn’t want to give up on a fun drive and good looks.
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With impressive fuel economy, slightly better performance than some rivals and a nice heightened driving position, there’s plenty to like about the VW Golf SV. And with acres of space, plenty of comfort for everyone inside and a smooth ride, it’s a great pit stop between hatchback and MPV. Especially if you want it to look like a Golf. And who wouldn’t?
This review was