Volkswagen Golf SV Review logo

Volkswagen Golf SV Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2014
      Body type
      MPV
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“A convincing MPV hatch combo”

Best bits

  • It’s space-efficient, given its dimensions
  • Very good rear-seat comfort
  • Economical engines and reasonably affordable

Not so great

  • Neither one thing nor another
  • Emphasis on utility rather than excitement
  • You’d rather have a Golf… better still, a Tiguan

Read by

Volkswagen Golf SV Right Side View

Overall verdict

Volkswagen Golf SV Front Interior

On the inside

Volkswagen Golf SV Front View

Driving

Volkswagen Golf SV Side Rear View

How much does it cost to run

Volkswagen Golf SV Right Side View

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The Volkswagen Golf SV won’t excite, but it will satisfy those who need a roomy family car to make daily life that bit easier. It’s an authentic Volkswagen that is, well, just like a Golf… only with a bit more space and comfort for those who need it."

Volkswagen Golf SV Right Side View

So what is the Golf SV? Its official name in Europe gives the game away: Sport Van. It’s a model more practical than a Golf, but more sporty-looking than a full-on MPV. Replacing the Golf Plus, it’s a sort of half-way house that only a company the size of Volkswagen can really justify making. But for some people, it’s neither too small, nor too van-like, but just right.


If you don’t want the bulk of a Touran people carrier but need more space and practicality than a regular Golf, particularly in the rear and load bay, the Golf SV ought to be on your radar. Indeed, it places passenger comfort high on its list of priorities. Usually with regular hatchbacks, there’s at least a degree of feeling second-class in the back.


Boot space is also substantially up on a normal Golf, with an estate-like 498 litres on offer. If only the outgoing Golf estate wasn’t so amazingly practical, with a vast 605 litres behind its rear seats…


The boot isn’t simply a decent size, though. It’s also well shaped, with a low load sill so you can slide things in easily. The rear seats fold flat and even the passenger seat backrest can drop out of the way, again underlining the ‘van’ part of the overseas name.


Family-friendly cheeriness is the name of the game here. There  is plenty of legroom and headroom in the back plus the seats themselves are more comfortable than an equivalent Golf. They’re higher off the ground and more substantial, so won’t start to bite after a couple of hours on the motorway. The backrests recline and the rear cabin is nice and wide, too. So it won’t be too painful even when travelling three-up.


Noise levels are low, the interior is very bright and airy, and equipment levels aren’t bad: load the ample glovebox up with drinks or chocolate, for example, and they’ll be nicely chilled for the family to enjoy thanks to an air conditioning duct that feeds in cool air. Look out for facelifted models, from early 2018, which had a much-improved infotainment system and extra safety gadgets.


It isn’t particularly exciting for the driver, but frankly that’s of little importance. The Golf SV is instead safe, refined and comfortable, with a nice ride quality and an impressive range of effortless turbo petrol and diesel engines. The preferred choice is the 1.6 TDI, and there’s a Bluemotion version that delivers even better fuel economy.


With crisp and decidedly un-MPV styling, the Golf SV is the secret people carrier for those who need one but don’t want to admit they do. It’s Volkswagen-like inside, reasonably cheap to run, and much more affordable to buy than either a big people carrier or the fancy SUVs many who are bored with hatchbacks are switching into. And the extra practicality of a Golf SV compared with an SUV really is pronounced.


It almost certainly won’t be the top of your shopping list, but it deserves a place on it. 

Is the Volkswagen Golf SV right for you?

The Volkswagen Golf SV is a particularly family-friendly machine, like all good MPV-style vehicles. It’s fully optimised for passenger space and comfort. Returning to the rear of a regular Golf hatchback will feel a step backwards for those who get used to its accommodating nature.


It’s also particularly good for those who regularly carry three people in the rear, rather than just two. The middle-seat passenger won’t feel like they’re travelling in economy class, which may just help stem the arguments every time the kids approach the car at the start of a long trip. We can’t promise, but you never know…


The fact it’s a little more expensive to buy or live with than a regular Golf also works in its favour. It offers a lot of extra space without forcing you to fork out richly for it. When the family is growing and you’ve got umpteen other things to spend your money on rather than a new car, the fact you’ll struggle to outgrow it is a big boon to those looking after the family budget.

What’s the best Volkswagen Golf SV model/engine to choose?

The most popular Golf SV versions used to be the TDI diesels, particularly the 1.6-litre TDI. The 2.0-litre TDI offers extra pulling power, which can be handy if you regularly drive with five adults, but the smaller engine is generally fine, and a fair bit more economical.


Turbo petrols are increasingly winning fans, though, and Volkswagen’s TSI engine range is among the best in the business. Maybe the 1.0 TSI 85 is just a bit too light on pulling power if you regularly stray from city limits, but the 1.4 TSI is an excellent all-rounder, with ample speed and good fuel economy. As with most Golf SV engines, you can have it with a DSG automatic as an option over the regular manual.


Entry-level S trim is perfectly decent if you’re on a budget, but SE offers many more luxuries that can make the difference in daily use – from alloy wheels, to a nice leather steering wheel, to adaptive cruise control, to neat picnic tables and air vents in the rear.

What other cars are similar to the Volkswagen Golf SV?

Renault invented the MPV sector and while the Renault Scenic is nowhere near as popular as it was, it’s still a strong option. BMW offers a hatch-MPV crossover in the form of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, and Mercedes-Benz has a similar vehicle with the Mercedes B-Class.


Some former direct rivals have morphed into MPV-SUV wannabes – cars such as the Peugeot 3008 – and the Vauxhall Grandland X is effectively the replacement for the old Vauxhall Zafira Tourer


Then, of course, there’s internal competition from the Volkswagen brand itself: the latest Volkswagen Golf, the Volkswagen Touran people carrier, the Volkswagen Touareg – even the smaller Volkswagen T-Roc for those who like the high-up seating position but want something a bit more stylish for similar money.

Learn more

Volkswagen Golf SV Front Interior

On the inside

Volkswagen Golf SV Front View

Driving

Volkswagen Golf SV Side Rear View

How much does it cost to run

Volkswagen Golf SV Right Side View

Prices, versions and specification