Remember the Golf Plus, well this is its replacement, the Golf SV, which is short for ‘Sport Van’. It’s the third model in the Golf line-up after the hatch and estate, so what separates it from those two? Well, interior space. You’ve probably noticed the SV is taller, much taller, so not only do you sit up higher, but there’s more space front and rear. If that appeals to you, this is the closest you can to buying an MPV, without actually buying an MPV. The SV is built on VW’s super-adaptable MQB platform, which essentially lets engineers stretch its cars in a computer and drag and drop shared parts. So, the SV is 83mm longer than the Golf, 81mm wider and 126mm taller. So, in the front you sit noticeably higher up, and there’s an abundance of headroom.There are also loads of places to put things. Extra width and an electric handbrake means there’s lots of space between the front seats, and I particularly like this elasticated band to keep your phone from sliding around. There’s also a cubby below the windscreen and large door bins. Interior quality is really good, and probably this car’s biggest advantage over a Ford C-MAX. Essentially the gauges are infotainment system are straight from the Golf, which has one of the best dashboard’s in the business.This optional beige cloth might not be the best choice for families, but with the huge windows it does make for a very airy interior. With 48mm more room between the front and rear wheels, knee room in the back is noticeably better than the Golf. This is a strict five-seater though, if you need seven seats your into VW Touran or Grand C-MAX territory. Access to the boot is great thanks to a large hatchback and low loading lip, and with 500 litres, there’s 76 litres more than the old Golf Plus and more importantly, 68 litres more than the C-MAX. So can it live up to its ‘Sport Van’ title? Well, not exactly, but we are driving the BlueMotion model, which is tuned for economy above everything else. We’re sure the 2.0-litre diesel GT with its larger wheels feels more athletic, but this BlueMotion model on its 16-inch low-rolling resistance tyres, certainly feels happier pottering around towns.The Ford C-MAX is definitely a more entertaining steer. But is that what you want out of a quasi-hatchback-MPV? Despite this car being fitted with 15mm lower suspension to make it more aerodynamic, it feels really, really comfortable. You
just sort of waft along, and if you see a bump, well you hardly feel it in the cabin or through the steering. But that’s not the best thing about this car. No, that’s the 1.0-litre engine petrol. And OK, Ford has had the 1.0-litre EcoBoost for ages, but it still feels genuinely shocking to think there’s an engine in front of me with the swept capacity of a bottle of water. And yes, you have to work it a bit, but with 113bhp it will get the SV to 62mph in 10.4 seconds, which isn’t bad. Economy? Well, I have a 50-mile mainly motorway commute, and I’ve seen as high as 64mpg. On a B-road dash I managed to get it down to 42mpg, and the average is a claimed 62.8mpg. The SV starts from just over £19k, which is a few hundred quid more than the C-MAX, so they are quite close on price.This petrol BlueMotion model starts from £21k, while this test car is £24k with sat-nav, front and rear sensors, smartphone connections and a winter pack fitted. Driving around in the SV, it almost feels like the forgotten Golf, because you just don’t see many on the road. Which is odd, because it shares a great many of the Golf’s talents, with more space and the higher driving position so many people are flocking to crossovers for. And perhaps that’s the SV’s Achilles heel. The customers it’s aimed at are probably being wooed by the chunky style and kudos of owning a small SUV. .