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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.