On the run-up to the new ‘64’ registration plate month of September Volkswagen UK squeezed-in a run-out for the motoring media of their latest new models, the Polo, the roomier Golf SV and the hot-to-trot Golf R.
Currently VW is the third best selling brand in the UK after Ford and Vauxhall but in Europe as a whole Volkswagen is the number one with their Golf range topping the sales chart.
The ‘new’ Polo is not totally new but it has enough changes to be called newish. Now it is a scaled-down Golf so if size matters and mid-sized C-segment Golfs are too big, the Polo ‘supermini’ will fit the bill. The Polo with the choice of three or five door models has redesigned front and rear ends and looks just like a Golf inside and out. The range comes with a new line-up of Euro 6 compliant engines, an all-new touchscreen infotainment system and prices start at £11,100 and go up to £19,715. The Polo is VW’s second best selling model range in the UK with 42,609 registrations in 2013 with 70% of sales going to retail customers. The Polo finished in 8th position in the UK’s top ten new car sales chart last year.
Verdict, improved in every way except for price but it’s worth it. Now a stronger contender to the Ford Fiesta for ‘supermini’ sector sales.
New Golf SV
The Golf SV is the third version of the mark VII generation of Golfs after the three and five door Hatchbacks and the Estate. It replaces the Golf Plus which was 134mm shorter than the new SV. The SV uses the same platform as the latest Golf but the wheelbase is 48mm longer improving rear passenger legroom. The newcomer is also 81mm wider and 126mm higher so the headroom is also better. Boot capacity for the SV is also more than the old Golf Plus at 500-litres which goes up to an impressive 1,520-litres with the rear seats folded down. Prices range from £18,875 to £26,815.
There is a full line-up of petrol and diesel engine options, mostly all Euro 6 compliant. The most popular version is expected to be the 1.6 TDI 110PS unit and the most popular SE spec model costs £21,650. VW expects to sell around 5,000 units of the SV in the UK in a full year with 55% going to retail customers, 80% of customers will choose a diesel powered model and 35% will choose a model with DSG automatic transmission.
What does SV mean? A VW spokesperson said in Germany it is known as the Golf Sport Van but as it is not aimed at the sporty market and it is not a van we are calling it the SV.
Verdict, it’s a larger and roomier Golf with no performance, handling or ride quality penalties. If size matters this is the Golf to go for.
New Golf R
The latest Golf R is the fastest accelerating Golf ever taking just 4.9-seconds to reach 62mph with the optional DSG twin-clutch auto transmission (5.1-seconds for the six-speed manual) and the top speed is limited to 155mpg. It is 18% more fuel and CO2 efficient than its predecessor despite having 30PS of extra power. Fuel economy is 39.8mpg (40.9mpg auto) with CO2 emissions of 165g/km or 159g/km for the DSG version.
At the heart of the Golf R is a newly developed 2.0-litre turbocharged direct injection petrol four-cylinder engine producing 300PS and 380Nm (280lb ft) of torque from 1,800rpm. The new Golf R uses the fifth generation 4MOTION all wheel drive system which provides just front wheel drive under low loads or on the over-run but up to almost 100% of the driving traction can be distributed to the rear wheels during hard acceleration. In normal use the Haldex system shuffles power to the axles where the grip is most needed.
Visually the Golf R can be recognised by its larger front bumper with large air inlets, modified grille with the ‘R’ badging. At the side are bespoke body-coloured extended sills and at the rear quad exhaust pipes. The R rides on 18-inch alloys with the ride height 20mm lower than standard Golfs and 5mm lower than the Golf GTI and GTD variants.
Prices start at £29,900 for the three door manual model and go up to £31,970 for the five door DSG auto version. VW expects to sell around 1,700 Golf Rs in the UK in a full year and currently it is outselling the Golf GTI (priced at £29,000) because it offers 70PS more power and has 4WD.
Verdict: Impressive, well balanced performance with immense cornering grip and marginally less expensive than the highly rated Audi S3 models which use the same drivetrain. By Miles better news agency