Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan

Debut: 2014
Maker: Volkswagen
Predecessor: Golf Plus

 Published on 20 May 2014
All rights reserved. 

Until now Volkswagen does not have a proper weapon to fight against Ford C-Max, Citroen C4 Picasso and Renault Scenic in the compact MPV segment. The Golf Plus is merely a Golf with a taller body, while the larger Touran is about as interesting as a school bus. As the long-serving Golf Plus is due for replacement, Wolfsburg has developed a better substitution, Golf Sportsvan or simply Golf SV.

Built upon the flexible MQB platform of the latest Golf, the SV is able to stretch wheelbase to 2685 mm, 50 mm longer than its hatchback sibling. Moreover, it is 126 mm taller and marginally wider, so the cabin is benefited with increased room. The MQB also contributes to more lightness, as reflected by the 30 kg reduction of kerb weight. More spacious yet lighter, who doesn’t want?

What the new SV doesn’t innovate much is styling. It keeps the signature conservativeness of the VW brand, and can be easily recognized as a variant of Golf. That’s not necessarily bad to buyers, but I suppose a funkier looking MPV could be more desirable to young families. In this respect, Citroen C4 Picasso has the edge.

What you can’t argue is the Volkswagen’s superior build quality, especially inside. It carries over the high-quality materials and tactile switchgears from the Golf. The dashboard design is similar but not identical. The center console is no longer oriented to the driver. The LCD screen is mounted at higher level for easier reading, whereas air vents are relocated to either side. You sit 6 cm higher than the case of the regular Golf, thus you can have a better view on the road. The larger windows and additional rear quarter windows, which slim up the C-pillars, afford better visibility, too.

As expected, the cabin has more storage cubbies. The front passenger seat is foldable, and a drawer is provided beneath it. The 60/40-split rear seats can slide back and forth independently for a range of 18 cm, and it can recline or fold nearly flat. The boot floor is adjustable for height. Its luggage volume, varying between 500 and 590 liters depending on the position of rear bench, is competitive enough.

Nevertheless, this cabin still falls short of the flexibility of some rivals. Its rear seat doesn’t tumble forward like Ford C-Max. Neither does it serve the middle passenger as well as Citroen C4 Picasso as its middle seat is narrow, flat and obstructed by the central tunnel. Volkswagen’s interior design still lacks innovation.

However, in terms of driving dynamics the SV is good, as you would expect for something building on MQB and riding on multi-link rear suspensions, at least for models with more than 140 hp (note: torsion beam axle serves lower power models). Its handling is sportier than most rivals, if not as capable as C-Max. The ride could be a bit stiff for a people carrier but in return it doesn’t roll or wallow like French cars. Moreover, you have a vast range of good Volkswagen engines to choose from, especially the 150 hp 1.4 TSI with fuel-saving cylinder cut-off technology and the torquey 2.0 TDI. Good DSG gearbox is another bonus.

That said, high quality things come at a price, especially when they are sealed with Volkswagen logos. The Golf SV is quite a lot more expensive than the comparable Citroen and Ford, both of which are very strong rivals. While it is certainly more competitive than Golf Plus, it is not good enough to top the class yet.

Length / width / height
Valve gears
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Golf SV 1.4TSI DSG
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4338 / 1807 / 1578 mm
2685 mm
1395 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
DI, cylinder deactivation
150 hp
184 lbft
7-speed twin-clutch
F: strut
R: multi-link
1334 kg
132 mph (c)
8.3 (c)
Golf SV 2.0TDI
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4338 / 1807 / 1578 mm
2685 mm
Inline-4, diesel
1968 cc
DOHC 16 valves
VTG turbo
150 hp
251 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
1399 kg
132 mph (c)
8.7 (c)

Performance tested by: -

AutoZine Rating

General models

    Copyright© 1997-2014 by Mark Wan @ AutoZine