Volkswagen Golf Plus

Debut: 2005
Maker: Volkswagen
Predecessor: no
Concerning the trend of crossover between conventional hatchback and MPV, Seat has the Altea. Now Volkswagen has Golf Plus. It is sensible to market the car as a new member of the Golf family rather than a stand-alone model, because: 1) people will discover they are 90% the same very soon; 2) not to hurt the sales statistics of Golf, because this car will inevitably draw a lot of customers from Golf, apart from other car makers.

Basically, Golf Plus is a high roof version of Golf. Volkswagen is very successful in its styling, preserving the character of Golf while injecting new inspiration. It is different enough to distinguish from the Golf. Under the clothes is the same floorpan, sharing not only the same mechanicals but also the same wheelbase, the same length and the same width. The only difference is the height, which is stretched by 9.5 cm.

What is the purpose of this change? it intends to enhance two things: space, and sense of spaciousness. The taller roof of course increases cabin volume, but as in all MPVs, passengers actually do not need so much headroom - unless you are Yao Ming. What people really love is the sense of spaciousness. By raising the roof, the windows are enlarged, enhancing the light and airy ambience of the cabin. By raising the sitting position by 7.5 cm, the driver and passengers are less confined by the waistline (which is increasingly high in car design these days). They can have greater view outside - the open road, the trees, blue sky…. that also enhance the sense of spaciousness. Moreover, the high sitting position also deliver a secure feel, just like sitting in a bus or SUV. Nowadays' metropolitans are so lack of secured feel in their hearts.

Of course, the cabin is not only larger but also more versatile. It is not as versatile as a real MPV, but the 40/60-split rear seat can be independently slide back and forth for 16 cm. This allows the luggage room to vary from 395 litres to 505 litres. If you need to sit big guys at the back, slide it to the rear most position.If you need to pack more luggage, slide the rear seat to the front-most position. Not enough? simply flip the backrest and you obtain 1450 litres of volume.

There are other versatility as well: the center rear backrest can be folded down to become a table or arm rest; the whole car has 34 storage cubbies, including a series of storage boxes mounted on the roof, in aircraft style. Also like aircraft, a DVD screen can hang down from the roof to play movies. (It's an expensive option of course). Besides, the floor of luggage compartment can be opened to reveal another small compartment, usually used to store tools or dirty stuffs. Golf Plus should answer the need of most people.

In the mechanical aspect, there is not much to talk about because all engines, gearbox, steering, suspensions are the same as Golf. Predictably, the suspensions is tuned to deal with the taller body - they have longer travel but stiffer springs and dampers to resist body roll. On the road, the Golf Plus displays understeer earlier than its sister, and performance is burdened by the extra 100 kg of weight. However, its chassis keeps the high standard of handling and ride as the Golf, one that hardly beaten by other rivals with non-independent rear suspensions.
The above report was last updated on 14 Feb 2005. All Rights Reserved.


General remarks

Golf Plus 2.0TDI

Front-engined, FWD

Steel monocoque

Mainly steel

Length / width / height 4206 / 1759 / 1580 mm

Wheelbase 2578 mm

Inline-4, diesel

1968 cc

Valve gears
DOHC 16 valves

VTG turbo

Other engine features
Pump injection

Max power
140 hp

Max torque
236 lbft

6-speed manual

Suspension layout
F: strut
R: multi-link

Suspension features

Tyres front/rear

Kerb weight
1426 kg

Top speed
126 mph (c)

0-60 mph (sec)
9.1 (c)

0-100 mph (sec)

Performance tested by: -

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