Think of the Volkswagen Scirocco as a hatchback dressed up for a night on the town. It's based on the VW Golf, and you get lots of the uber-sensible Golf's practicality. Yet it can’t be denied that the Scirocco coupé simply looks drop-dead gorgeous. You lose some of the Golf’s space to get those curvaceous lines – so you need to choose between big boots or glass slippers.
The Scirocco doesn't look like a car that went on sale in 2008. Put one in a new car showroom today and it would still turn heads. It's much more than a Golf-coupé, with its swooping curves and balanced proportions. You really wouldn't guess it’s based on a humdrum hatchback.
VW facelifted the Scirocco in 2014, and it's these post-2014 cars we'll concentrate on in this review. New headlights and taillights mark out the later cars, as well as revised bumper styling. The changes add some sharper details to the curvy basic shape.
The ultimate Scirocco is the R, which adds hot-hatch performance to the mix as well as its own distinctive and purposeful styling.
Put one in a new car showroom today and it would still turn heads
What’s it like to drive?
The Scirocco's character changes depending on the engine is under the bonnet. The 1.4-litre petrol is tame, and suits buyers who value low running costs over vivid acceleration. The diesels are quicker, and the ones to choose if you cover a lot of miles – they make stylish and comfortable motorway cars.
Pick one of the more powerful petrol model and things warm up nicely, especially if you go for the sizzling-hot Scirocco R. It corners with poise and precision, and balances this with comfort around town and on the motorway. It's great fun but still easy to live with.
If you cover a lot of miles – they make stylish and comfortable motorway cars. .
There's a bit of a mismatch between the catwalk-ready looks of the Scirocco's exterior and the fairly ordinary cabin. There's nothing wrong with Scirocco's dash or the standard of finish, it's just a bit bland and predictable.
Being a coupé, you expect some compromise in space and practicality compared with a normal hatchback. Well, you won't notice much of a trade-off if you're travelling in the front of the car, with plenty of head and legroom and lots of adjustment to the driving position. The thick pillars and small window at the rear mean the view behind the car is compromised, though.
You do lose out a bit in the back, where there are two seats rather than a bench for three. There's enough legroom for adults. The sloping roofline means your head will rub on the ceiling if you're tall.
Any post-facelift Scirocco will have a digital radio, Bluetooth, and a touchscreen infotainment system. GT, R-Line, and R models all have sat nav as well. Whichever spec you choose, the Scirocco comes with a six-disc changer – handy if you haven't yet ditched CDs completely. Fortunately, there are connectors so you can also play music from your smartphone.
Choose a Scirocco over a Golf and you do lose some boot space. There's also a big lip to load items over, which can put a strain on your back if you are lifting something heavy.
For a coupé, though, the Scirocco makes a reasonably practical car, and you can fold the rear seats if you need more room for bags. There's plenty of storage space in the cabin for various odds and ends, and cupholders between the front seats.
If you want a coupé but really need a roomy hatchback, you may find the Scirocco a little short on space. On the other hand, for a slinky-looking coupé the Scirocco is a practical choice.
Running costs and reliability
Just as the Scirocco is a very different car to drive depending on the engine you choose, so running costs vary a lot from model to model.
The sensible buys for high-mileage drivers are the diesels. The less powerful of the two diesels can go 67.3 miles on a gallon, according to the official figures. That's probably a bit optimistic but take it easy and you should see close to 50mpg.
As a rule, the least powerful petrol model will also be cheap to run. Officially 52.3mpg should be possible. Reckon on closer to 45 miles from each gallon of unleaded. Go to the opposite end of the performance spectrum, and the R has an official combined figure of 35.3mpg for the manual, or 35.8mpg for the DSG auto.
What we love
We love the Scirocco for the way it looks, and we're sure you will too. There's more than a superficial attraction, though. VW's coupé is good to drive and most versions are surprisingly affordable to run. If you love cars that are sporty in character as well as looks, the high-performance Scirocco R is hard to beat.
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Town and country drivers
Ignore the looks for a moment, and the Scirocco is a really good car. It's enjoyable to drive – especially the Scirocco R – and surprisingly affordable to buy and run too. Plus,there's more space inside than you'd expect. It's the drop-dead gorgeous looks that seal the deal, though.
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