Golf SV puts you in a good space

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODTURN - BRENDAN SEERY

NOTH­ING gets me into “Grumpy Man” mode quicker than some­one (of­ten mo­tor­ing jour­nal­ists, too) ex­plain­ing that an SUV is a good buy be­cause you get more space – the sort you need when trav­el­ling with a fam­ily.

As some­one who has trav­elled in cars with a grow­ing fam­ily for years and who has driven most of the af­ford­able SUVs on the mar­ket, I can say that, hon­estly, the SUV and space ar­gu­ment is the big­gest mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion in mo­tor­ing since the Toy­ota Prius.

If you want space to cart a fam­ily around, then get a sta­tion wagon (not so many of them around these days) or a mid-sized sedan.

That’s what I did for a long time with the two VW Jet­tas I owned – a 1989 Mark 2 and a 1998 Mark 3. The boots on those cars were so enor­mous they swal­lowed ev­ery­thing we needed when go­ing on hol­i­day. And, in­side the cabin, there was plenty of legroom, so lit­tle feet didn’t keep pound­ing the back of the driver’s chair (in time to the “are we there yet” pleas).

I thought Volk­swa­gen could not re­ally im­prove on the space util­isa- tion of the Jet­tas (even the big­ger Pas­sat had a smaller boot, strangely enough)… but now I think they have.

The Golf SV looks like a pumped-up Golf, which it is, be­ing 83mm longer (with an ex­tra 48mm in the wheel­base), 126mm higher and 8mm wider than its hatch­back sib­ling. That may not sound like much, but when you ex­pe­ri­ence it in the flesh, you can see this is the win­ner of the fam­ily space race.

With the rear seats up­right, the boot holds 500 litres, even more than my Jet­tas, which made do with just over 400l.

Those seats can be moved for­ward (when kid­dies are still small), lib­er­at­ing a fur­ther 90l of space. With them folded down, there is a huge 1 520l of pack­ing vol­ume.

There is even more space in that back row than I ever had in ei­ther Jetta and they set the stan­dard for fam­ily com­fort for many years.

As you’d ex­pect with a Golf, even one with an elon­gated head, the SV ac­quits it­self well dy­nam­i­cally. It cor­ners pre­dictably and the ride is, for what it is, su­perb.

Driv­ing is a plea­sure be­cause the noise lev­els from the 1.4 litre, 92kW tur­bopetrol en­gine ver­sion we had are low. Seats are stan­dard VW, which is to say, nigh on per­fect, as is the driv­ing po­si­tion and er­gonomics.

Not quite at Audi lev­els – but then you’re not pay­ing Audi prices, are you?

The Golf starts at just un­der R300 000 and the ver­sion we tried out goes for just un­der R350 000 (with­out ex­tras).

Okay – so you won’t look like the Camel man/woman when you drop the kids off at school. Nor will you go very far off-road (but you won’t in some SUVs ei­ther).

How­ever, you will be able to carry more and the kids will have the space they need.

PEO­PLE-MOVER: The Golf SV could be just the comfy fam­ily ve­hi­cle you have been seek­ing.

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