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The big but small Golf SV


In Europe, this car is known as the Golf Sports Van, however, in South Africa, the word 'van' describes something that’s used by a delivery company and in turn makes it seem utilitarian. It is for this reason that Volkswagen has decided to rename it the Golf SV for our market. When one brand decides to do something you can be sure that others will follow. Not so long ago BMW launched the 2 Series Active Tourer. Three days later, Mercedes-Benz launched its face-lifted B-Class. Now Volkswagen has joined the party with its all-new Golf SV.

What is it actually? 

It’s bigger than a Golf but smaller than the Touran, which is being replaced with a newer seven-seater version soon. The Golf SV combines the sporty look and feel of the iconic award-winning Golf hatchback with the practical and active lifestyle appeal of a Mini People Mover (MPV).

It looks like a big Golf on the outside

That's exactly what the Volkswagen designers had intended. It has a look that clearly follows the design of its sibling, with strong elements of Volkswagen’s design DNA oozing from every angle. The exterior dimensions of the Golf SV, together with its completely new and sharply contoured styling, give it a sporty yet sophisticated look. The Golf SV transfers the design quality of the new Golf to the compact MPV class, while its silhouette emphasises an extended look to make it appear lower, larger and sportier. 

Does it look like a Golf on the inside?

Actually, no, it doesn't. At first glance it might appear to look the same. Golf drivers will find the instrument cluster, central touchscreen and controls extremely familiar but Volkswagen has actually redesigned the entire dashboard that surrounds these familiar elements, for this model. The dashboard and all the instruments have been raised slightly to allow for ease of use. 

The Golf SV also has clever storage compartments, which play a big role in the safety aspect of things. For instance, under the front seats on the Comfortline model there are storage trays where you can store Tablets, handbags and other valuables. A new and very clever storage element featured on the Golf SV can be found at the rear. Most cars have the parcel shelf that can be removed depending on what you’re transporting. The problem comes in when you have nowhere to store this shelf and you end up leaving it in the garage or it gets lost. In the Golf SV, however, there is a specially designed storage compartment for the parcel shelf under the boot floor, just above the full-sized alloy spare wheel.

Regarding model specification, Volkswagen is offering two variants namely, the Trendline and Comfortline. The Trendline being the more basically specced vehicle and the Comfortline is the more liberally specced model. There are many standard comfort and safety features available but as always there is an options list, which allows customers to fully customize their model. 

All about that space…’bout that space...

I was pretty impressed by the amount of space inside. There’s ample leg room at the rear and this is a result of a very clever seating setup. The Golf SV features a standard 60:40 split rear bench seat with individual longitudinal adjustment of its sections. The entire three-seat bench can be adjusted by up to 180mm. Alternatively the seat on the right side of the vehicle (40 percent) and the double seat on the left side (60 percent) can be individually adjusted over a range of 180mm. In addition, rear passengers can adjust the angle of their backrests as well as slide the base of the seats back or forth. 

With all the seats up, boot space offered by the Golf SV is around 500 litres. Move the seats to their most forward position and you gain an extra 90 litres. However, once you lower them, you triple that figure and can expect 1 520 litres of space, which is probably enough for a statue or two. 

It has the looks and the space now what about power?

Volkswagen will be offering three engine derivatives in the Golf SV. For those who value fuel economy, there’s a 1.2-litre TSI motor, which is shared by the Polo. The little turbocharged engine develops 81kW power output and a torque figure of 175Nm. For the driver looking for more power you should consider the turbocharged 1.4-litre TSI with 92kW and 200Nm of torque. This engine is offered with a six-speed manual or optional seven-speed DSG gearbox. For the driver wanting a blend of economy as well as power then I would suggest the 2.0-litre TDI engine, which is good for 81kW and 250Nm of torque. Volkswagen claims an average fuel consumption figure of around 4.6 litres/100km for this model. 


Despite its pretty face I don't find this car particularly exciting. Volkswagen will introduce an 'R' version in Europe, which should be pretty awesome. I doubt whether it will be available in SA.

About the costs, how much is it?

Volkswagen has been able to come in at a very competitive price. In fact, the most expensive Golf SV costs as much as the entry level BMW Active 2 Series. Prices start at R292 500 for the 1.2 TSI Trendline and go as high as R359 200 for the range-topping 2.0 TDI DSG model.

What's the verdict?

To be honest, I don't think South Africans like these mini vans as much as other countries do. We still prefer our big, bulky SUVs or sporty hatch backs and sedans. However, times are changing and people are starting to compromise due to costs and lifestyle needs. Who knows, we might become a nation of MPVs and station wagons in years to come and if that's the case then I recommend looking at the Golf SV. It looks like a Volkswagen Golf, drives and feels like one and you can't go wrong with that. 

1.2 TSI with BlueMotion Technology Trendline (81 kW) six-speed Manual

R292 500

1.4 TSI with BlueMotion Technology Comfortline (92 kW) six-speed Manual

R325 200

1.4 TSI with BlueMotion Technology Comfortline (92 kW) seven-speed DSG      

R340 700

2.0 TDI Comfortline (81 kW) five-speed Manual          

R343 700

2.0 TDI Comfortline (81 kW) seven-speed DSG  

R359 200



Article written by Justin Jacobs
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