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Back to Listers Volkswagen
By Jonathan Crouch
Added 17th August, 2018
Volkswagen's heaviest hitter looks a stronger proposition in third generation form. Jonathan Crouch reports
With this revised post-2014 version of the MK6 Jetta model, Volkswagen kept all the practical elements people always liked about this compact saloon, while effectively addressing the aspects that weren't quite so good - things like the downmarket cabin and the lack of the kind of high tech options buyers now expect at this level. The result was a much more competitive product. And for the right kind of buyer, perhaps even quite a tempting one.
After all, for much the same as you'd pay for a used Golf from this era, you get a car that's eight-tenths of what you'd get in the pricier Passat - so great rear seat room, a huge boot and a classy ride are all provided, as are a range of efficient engines. Viewed in this light, you can see why the Americans like it so much. Find a well looked after Jetta from this period and you might too.
It's certainly true that for the asking price, the Scirocco R counts some pretty exotic machinery amongst its rivals. Plus cost-wise, it's quite a step up from the 2.0-litre TSI GT version. Volkswagen, always asserted that this performance coupe was also quite a step up in terms of its driving experience and buyers who set that as their main priority will certainly appreciate what this R can do.
No, it doesn't have quite the kind of track-car feel you'd find in hairier-chested rivals and some of them of course can offer you more power and four wheel drive for this kind of money. Even so, on a challenging road in dry conditions, we'd wager that this car's 265PS or 280PS output will be quite enough to give any sportscar in the world a run for its money. It's fast, it's classy and it feels right. Plus it has the edge over every direct rival in terms of its long term ownership proposition. You can't ask for much more than that.
The Volkswagen Golf SV has evolved - primarily beneath the bonnet. Jonathan Crouch tries the revised version of this mid-sized five-seat MPV and its clever 1.5-litre TSI EVO petrol engine.
If you think you'd need a very good reason to buy a compact MPV with fewer than seven seats, you might like the Golf SV. It offers a range of very good reasons. The class, style and quality on offer here are certainly very tempting compensations for the absence of those extra chairs. And if you have decided that you can do without the additional pews, an SV certainly stacks up very well against the other potential five-seat solutions on offer for families seeking more flexibility than an ordinary Golf or Focus family hatch could offer. Do you really want the mundanity of an estate or a converted van, the rather self-conscious funkiness of a Qashqai-style crossover - or the maternity unit practicality of, say, a Scenic or a C-MAX?
Here's a slightly different way to go. A proper Golf that is also the kind of proper People Carrier its Golf Plus predecessor never was. True, other five-seater MPVs from this era can offer you slightly more space and seat-fumbling flexibility, but the incremental benefits they deliver aren't really very significant. Overall, this is a car that adds a dash of desirability to the business of owning what is, at the end of the day, nothing more than a practical family tool. The result is a car you could be proud of.
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