Just Add Fam­ily

BRIAN BAS­SETT hosts the Fat Pack in the Golf SV

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - Styling In­te­rior Safety and Se­cu­rity Per­for­mance Costs and com­pe­ti­tion

VOLK­SWA­GEN is now of­fi­cially the worlds’ largest car­maker.

They pro­duce cars un­der some twelve brand names in­clud­ing Audi, Bu­gatti, Porsche, Lam­borgh­ini, Skoda and Seat, three brands of com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles and Du­cati bikes.

In the Far East they also own 20 per­cent of Suzuki, so it is fair to say that Volk­swa­gen as a com­pany are ev­ery­where in the mo­tor in­dus­try.

Volk­swa­gen is known not only for its size, but also for its pur­pose­ful de­sign. The com­pany un­der­stands its mar­ket and en­sures that it prod­ucts meet mar­ket needs in terms of both qual­ity and ap­pro­pri­ate­ness. Nowhere does this ap­proach show it­self more clearly than in the Golf SV, which is based on the Golf, but ex­panded to meet the needs of the mod­ern fam­ily.

Our thanks go to Keith Abra­hams, Dealer Prin­ci­pal of Barons Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, for al­low­ing us a few days with the ve­hi­cle. Volk­swa­gen says that the SV looks just like the Golf, but you have to look closely to pick up the tra­di­tional Golf styling cues.

For my money the SV is more sub­stan­tial and bet­ter look­ing than the Golf. It also has a greater on-road pres­ence. This is a con­sid­er­able com­pli­ment be­cause the Golf it­self is no slouch in the aes­thet­ics depart­ment.

At the front end the SV is very Euro­pean in in­spi­ra­tion with a chis­elled bon­net fronted with a three-slat­ted grill and cen­trally placed VW badge.

Be­low the front bumper is a fur­ther grille flanked by two fog lamps. The over­all ef­fect is both pleas­ant and sat­is­fy­ing, while the swept back na­ture of the head­lamps adds a small amount of ag­gres­sion.

Colour-coded side mir­rors are elec­tri­cally op­er­ated. The ribbed bon­net leads the eye up­ward to the large, steeply-in­clined wind­screen and high roofline, traced by sil­ver an­odised roof rails, for car­ry­ing a roof box on hol­i­day.

The rhythm ends with a rear spoiler above the large tail­gate and two large rear lamps thatwrap around the sides of the car. The whole ef­fect is one of pre­mium qual­ity and ex­cel­lent de­sign. The first im­pres­sion of the in­te­rior is one of spa­cious­ness and qual­ity. Our car was up­hol­stered in black leather and soft, black plas­tics. The dash and steer­ing were ac­cen­tu­ated by pi­ano black de­tail­ing, which I have come as­so­ciate with the VW range.

The black in­te­rior could be a lit­tle som­bre for some, but our car had a panoramic sun­roof, which bathes the in­te­rior in a re­fresh­ing, cool light and is a R9 000 op­tion which is well worth­while hav­ing.

The seats are all com­fort­able and the driver’s seat is fully ad­justable, as is the multi-func­tion, leather-trimmed, tac­tile steer­ing wheel, from which you can op­er­ate the ra­dio, Blue­tooth, speed con­trol and — quite a sur­prise ni new cars these days — six-CD player, with which our car was equipped.

The se­cret of the SV is in the rear seat space. The Fat pack and I had not been out in a ve­hi­cle for months and we piled into the SV for lunch at Not­ties. The SV is a full five-seater, with am­ple space at the rear for three, beefy, grumpy old men, who were able to ac­cess the ve­hi­cle with­out any prob­lem at all, even af­ter a large lunch.

The con­trols are eas­ily read and ac­ces­si­ble to the driver and the dash is neat and func­tional, with two ana­logue di­als con­tain­ing speedome­ter, rev counter, fuel gauge and tem­per­a­ture mon­i­tor, all linked by a dig­i­tal bridge pro­vid­ing a wide range of in­for­ma­tion. The cen­trally-placed eight­inch touch screen is use­ful and easy to op­er­ate, while link­ing your phone to the Blue­tooth sys­tem does not re­quire an engi­neer­ing de­gree.

Boot space is a more than ad­e­quate 500 litres while, with the seats folded flat in 60/40 fash­ion this rises to about 1500 litres. The in­te­rior stor­age space is also con­sid­er­able and there are plugs for all your elec­tronic toys. The Golf SV has a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rat­ing and ev­ery­thing that goes with it.

Like ABS with EBD, driver, pas­sen­ger and cur­tain airbags, as well as auto hold for hills and steep de­scents; and a multi col­li­sion brak­ing sys­tem.

The car also has side im­pact bars, seat­belts for all five pas­sen­gers and ISOFIX child seat an­chors.

I par­tic­u­larly liked the Park Pi­lot sys­tem, which was very help­ful in tight park­ing spots, with which the world is filled these days, while the anti-theft alarm and cen­tral lock­ing look af­ter the car while you are shop­ping. There is also a use­ful tow away and tilt pro­tec­tion fea­ture, which I wish my car, pos­sessed.

The 2.0l TDI Com­fort­line DSG, which we drove has a four­cylin­der, turbo-diesel en­gine putting out 81kWs and 250Nm, ex­pressed on road via a but­ter smooth 6-speed auto box.

0-100 comes up in about 10,5 sec­onds and top speed is around 190 km/h. Fuel con­sump­tion is around 5,4l/100km, but it all de­pends on how you drive.

The SV is not a ro­bot racer, it’s a fam­ily car de­signed to serve mod­ern fam­ily needs. It is easy to drive and park in town and with 250Nm of torque it can cover ground on the N3.

I vis­ited friends in the Kark­loof one evening and the car took a poorly-main­tained D-Road and a rut­ted farm road in its stride with re­spon­sive and ath­letic han­dling. We re­turned at night, and the lighting pro­vided was of su­perb qual­ity. There are five mod­els in the Golf SV range, the 2.0l TDI Com­fort­line auto will set you back around R395 000. There is a three-year 120 000 km war­ranty and a five-year, 90 000km ser­vice plan. Browse in the B-seg­ment be­fore you buy and ne­go­ti­ate pre-pur­chase.

PHOTO: LIND­SEY SAKER

The Golf SV is as spa­cious as it is hand­some from all an­gles.

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