A car for the fam­ily

BRIAN BAS­SETT stretches it in the new Volk­swa­gen Golf SV.

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

THOSE who read this col­umn reg­u­larly will know that I have great re­spect for Volk­swa­gen.

The com­pany has come to be the sec­ond-largest mo­tor man­u­fac­turer in the world, sec­ond only to Toy­ota.

In South Africa the same ap­plies, with Toy­ota and Volk­swa­gen fill­ing the top two spots. The suc­cess of the Volk­swa­gen brand is based on en­dur­ing qual­ity and pur­pose­ful de­sign.

The newly launched Golf SV is no dif­fer­ent. I am grate­ful to Kevin Pil­lay, dealer prin­ci­pal of Baron’s, Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, who has just won the Volk­swa­gen Na­tional Dealer of the Year award for his deal­er­ship, as well as to Alison Wilt­shire, new-car sales manager for the deal­er­ship, who has also just won a na­tional award for her work and for whom noth­ing was too much trou­ble, for mak­ing a new Golf SV avail­able to me for a few days.

Styling

Volk­swa­gen says that the Golf SV looks a lot like the Golf, but you have to look closely to find tra­di­tional Golf styling cues.

For my money, the new SV is larger and bet­ter look­ing than the Golf, although the Golf it­self is no slouch in the aes­thetic stakes.

The front of the SV is ag­gres­sively styled with a three-slat­ted grill and centrally placed Volk­swa­gen badge link­ing the swept­back head­lamps, while the colour-coded front bumper un­folds into sleek, con­toured fog lamps.

The bon­net has two ribs, which lead your eye up­wards to the steeply-in­clined wind­screen and high roofline traced by sil­ver-an­odized roof rails and end­ing in a pro­nounced boot spoiler.

At the rear, the twin ex­hausts add an air of busi­nesslike ef­fec­tive­ness, while the large rear door gives easy ac­cess to the gen­er­ous boot area.

In­te­rior

The in­te­rior of the SV re­flects re­fined func­tion­al­ity. The seats both front and rear are very com­fort­able and ro­bustly up­hol­stered, although full leather is avail­able as an op­tion. The fully ad­justable front seats and steer­ing al­low driv­ers to se­lect a po­si­tion best-suited to their needs.

The high roofline adds spa­cious­ness to the in­te­rior and the ve­hi­cle is a full five-seater, as I found out when the Fat­pack went to tea at a restau­rant in the Curry’s Post area.

At no stage, even af­ter a num­ber of scones and cream, did the car feel full, and all four bulky gen­tle­men were not only quite com­fort­able, but also had no trou­ble in ac­cess­ing the ve­hi­cle.

The dash­board is neat and func­tional.

Con­trols are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble and at no stage did I have to take my eyes off the road to op­er­ate them.

The centrally placed eight­inch touch screen is use­ful and I par­tic­u­larly liked the 3D map views and MP3 func­tion­al­ity, to­gether with the eight-speaker ra­dio/CD with SD card and all of the plugs needed in an elec­tronic age.

The leather-cov­ered, three­spoke mul­ti­func­tion steer­ing wheel is a plea­sure to han­dle and many of the func­tions re­lat­ing to the car and your jour­ney, like the cruise con­trol, can be op­er­ated from here.

The boot space with all seats in place is a gen­er­ous 500 litres. By fold­ing the seats flat this can be ex­tended to 1 520 litres.

The qual­ity in­te­rior also has a wide range of stor­age space to make life eas­ier for the fam­ily.

Safety and se­cu­rity

The Golf SV has a 5-Star Euro NCAP rat­ing, so it is one of the safest cars you can buy.

There are driver and pas­sen­ger air bags, with key de­ac­ti­va­tion for the pas­sen­ger bag.

The ve­hi­cle also boasts side and cur­tain air bags, as well as a knee air bag for the driver. Side im­pact bars of­fer en­hanced safety and there are seat belts for all and an­chors for child seats to Isofix stan­dards.

Then there is also ABS, EBD, Auto Hold and a Multi-Col­li­sion Brake Sys­tem.

I found the Park As­sist, Par­al­lel Park As­sist and the rear-view cam­era to be very help­ful, and the pas­sen­ger side mir­rors with the curb-view fea­ture adds ma­te­ri­ally to the ve­hi­cle’s safety.

There is an anti-theft alarm, cen­tral lock­ing and a rather use­ful tow-away and tilt pro­tec­tion fea­ture.

Per­for­mance and han­dling

I drove the two-litre TDI Com­fort­line DSG Au­to­matic, which is equipped with a four-cylin­der diesel en­gine putting out 81 kW of power and a con­sid­er­able 250 Nm of torque via a sev­en­speed au­to­matic gear­box.

The SV is de­signed firstly as a fam­ily ve­hi­cle, ideal for all the fetch­ing and car­ry­ing that goes with mod­ern fam­ily life and the oc­ca­sional time away in the Berg.

It is not a robot racer, but in town it is a plea­sure to drive and easy to park, while pro­vid­ing a feel­ing of safety and se­cu­rity.

On the N3, the car holds the road well and the torque makes pass­ing long loads easy, even on hills with the Fat­pack on board. I used a visit to friends who have a small­hold­ing in the Ash­bur­ton area to drive the car over about 20 km of dirt road, some­times at speed.

While the Golf SV is not de­signed as an off-roader, the car put in an ex­cel­lent per­for­mance and dis­played ab­so­lute sta­bil­ity, even on sharp sandy bends.

Ac­cel­er­a­tion is not bad ei­ther, with 0-100 km/h com­ing up in about 11 sec­onds, and a top speed, should you ever need it, of 190 km/h.

Fuel con­sump­tion in the diesel is bril­liant. Ac­cord­ing to the car, I got 5,2 l/100 km.

Costs, guar­an­tees and the com­pe­ti­tion

There are five mod­els in the Golf SV range. The en­try level man­ual six-speed 1.2TSI Trend­line costs about R294 00, while the range­top­ping 2.0 TDI Com­fort­line DSG is around R360 000.

The car comes with a three­year or 120 000 km war­ranty and a five-year or 90000 km ser­vice plan, with 15 000 km ser­vice in­ter­vals.

There is also a 12-year, anti-cor­ro­sion war­ranty.

As to the com­pe­ti­tion, the B seg­ment is one of the most com­pet­i­tive in the RSA, so give your­self the plea­sure of brows­ing widely be­fore buy­ing.

PHOTO: QUICK­PIC

This is one Golf that is as much at home on dirt roads as it is in the school park­ing lot.

PHOTO: QUICK­PIC

Not even the Fat Pack could fill up all this rear leg room.

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