Volkswagen Golf SV 2020 review

Find out more about the Volkswagen Golf SV in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • More spacious than the standard Golf
  • High-quality interior
  • Big boot


  • Uninspiring design
  • Quite pricey
  • Some engines feel underpowered
Model review

Before the crossover segment boomed to the size that it is today, many used to find the appeal in small MPVs. It was quite a popular segment at a time too, with plenty of manufacturers competing for market supremacy. 

And it was this appeal that led Volkswagen to launch a ‘Plus’ variant of its popular Golf in 2005 – offering additional practicality and a more spacious interior. It proved quite popular, with older buyers and families appreciating this extra practicality. 

The Golf Plus lasted for two generations before Volkswagen introduced a new MPV derivative on its seventh-generation Golf, renaming it to the SV. It slotted neatly between the Golf hatch and the Touran MPV, and added a sleeker look and more driver assistance tech including adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking. In terms of size, it’s 8cm longer than the Golf and 8cm wider, which helps to improve practicality. 

Latest model

Volkswagen facelifted its Golf at the start of 2017 and by the end of the year, the new SV model had also debuted. 

Key changes included the introduction of a new 1.5-litre petrol engine with cylinder deactivation, along with an updated infotainment system offering a screen size of up to 9.2 inches, though even an eight-inch touchscreen is fitted as standard. 

New LED lighting was also introduced, along with the usual touches seen from a facelift, such as revised bumpers, new colours and alloy wheel options.

However, with Volkswagen launching a new eighth-generation Golf in 2020, and with no plans to create an ‘MPV’ version due to the market’s dwindling popularity, the SV’s days are sadly numbered. 

Value for money

Despite its more upmarket badging, the Golf SV actually represents decent value for money, with models available from as little as £22,305, though the mid-spec Match Edition is the version to go for – adding kit like LED headlights, satellite navigation and alloy wheels. Even at a smidgen over £25,000, it is decent value considering the standard equipment levels and roomy interior. If you compare it with a standard Golf – admittedly the outgoing seventh-generation model – it is almost £3,000 more expensive, though. 

But the best value Golf SV models can be found on the used market, where its limited desirability next to the standard Golf has caused prices to plummet. For around £6,000 you can pick up a six-year-old car with around 90,000 miles on the clock. But nearly-new models are the ones that make the most financial sense. We spotted a mid-spec Match Edition with the 1.5-litre petrol engine for £18,000 – a huge £7,000 off list price. 

Looks and image

While the standard Golf is one of the most popular and desirable used cars around, the same can’t be said for the SV. It lacks the street cred of its standard hatchback sibling, while boxy styling, a higher ride height and greater dimensions mean it doesn’t disguise the fact it’s an MPV very well. That said, it’s far from being a bad-looking car, as it still has neat proportions and a sleek front end, while the sportier looks of the GT make this specification the most appealing to look at. 

However, it’s a much better story on the interior. Despite being based on the last-generation Golf, the SV’s cabin is a great place to spend time, with all facelifted versions gaining a touchscreen of at least eight inches. The quality throughout is also superb – arguably better than the new Golf in fact – and while the switches and controls might show this model’s age up a bit, everything remains easy to use. 

To drive, it also behaves very similarly to the standard Golf, with a compliant ride, well-weighted controls and surprisingly good handling, though its higher shape leads to a little more roll through the corners. Just avoid GT models if you’re looking for the best comfort, as these come with a sports suspension setup, which doesn’t sit well with the SV’s relaxed character. 

Space and practicality

Practicality is the main reason you’d probably choose the SV over the standard Golf, and it’s certainly a roomier thing than the regular car. 

It’s the boot where you’ll notice the most space, and with 590 litres on offer, it’s more than 200 litres bigger than the regular Golf, which is seriously impressive considering its compact shape. Folding the rear bench increases this to 1,512 litres. Sliding rear seats also come on the SV, which is another advantage over the standard hatchback, while rear space is plentiful. 

Despite being roomy, though, it lacks the flexibility of more ‘normal’ MPVs, such as the Citroen C4 SpaceTourer and Ford C-Max


A good selection of both petrol and diesel engines are available on the Golf SV, with a 113bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol kicking off the range, which comes with a six-speed manual gearbox. The other petrol option is a turbocharged 1.5-litre, which is available with 128bhp or 148bhp. Choose the former and it comes with a manual gearbox, but the latter gains a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. 

As for diesel, a 113bhp 1.6-litre paired to o a five-speed manual kicks off the range, though if your budget will stretch to the 148bhp 2.0-litre it’s well worth opting for. It also comes with a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. 

Running costs

Regardless of the engine you go for, all Golf SVs should be affordable to run.

But for the best running costs, the diesels remain the best options – especially the 1.6-litre TDI, which will return up to 55.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of 132g/km. At the opposite end of the spectrum the 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol is the least efficient, with Volkswagen claiming 42.8mpg, and CO2 emissions of 155g/km. 

Things to look out for

Despite Volkswagen’s premium billing, its models are often not quite as reliable as you might expect. And it’s often the DSG automatic gearbox that can prove problematic, though only on a small number of cars. For that reason, it’s worth having any car mechanically inspected before buying. 


With the small MPV market in decline, the number of models rivalling the Golf SV is quite small. Perhaps the closest oppositions are the more upmarket Mercedes B-Class and BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. In terms of more conventional MPVs, the Citroen C4 SpaceTourer, Renault Scenic and Ford C-Max are worth looking at. 


The Golf SV suffers from heavy depreciation much more than the standard Golf, with limited desirability meaning models don’t hold their value all that well. If you’re looking at used models, though, it makes this Volkswagen a shrewd used buy. 

Trims explained

Three trim levels are available on the Golf SV – S, Match Edition and GT Edition. Equipment highlights and pricing are as follows.


Standard equipment on the Golf SV includes an eight-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth and DAB radio, along with a space saver spare wheel, LED rear lights, LED daytime running lights, air conditioning and electric and heated door mirrors. You also get autonomous emergency braking and a driver attention alert included.

From £22,305

Match Edition

Upgrade to the Match Edition – our pick of the range – to get 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, tinted glass and LED headlights. The eight-inch touchscreen also gains satellite navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, along with two-zone climate control, electric folding mirrors and a heated windscreen. A host of extra safety kit is also included, such as automatic lights and wipers, adaptive cruise control and front and rear parking sensors.

From £25,025

GT Edition

At the top of the range, the GT Edition gains larger 17-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension and a black styling kit. Chrome interior styling is also included, along with part Alcantara sports seats and ambient interior lighting.

From £26,875


  1. Big boot
  2. Lots of rear seat space
  3. Larger in size than standard Golf
  4. Good engine choice
  5. Firm ride on GT models…
  6. But otherwise very comfortable
  7. Plenty of standard kit
  8. High-quality interior
  9. Great used buy
  10. A compelling option if a standard Golf is too small

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