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Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

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Growth spurt: Golf SV adds space 'n spice

2015-04-09 18:00


YEAH, IT'S A GOLF - BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT: Just arrived in South Africa with a launch in Knysna in the Western Cape is VW's 'stretched' Golf - the SV. Image: Les Stephenson

  • Golf stretched in all directions
  • Three engines, one a diesel
  • And what's in a name?

Longer, wider, taller, higher and with versatility not equalled by any other family car – that’s the new Golf SV just arrived in South Africa bearing good tidings for families and, most likely, for VW sales staff.

It’s compact enough for easy city parking, converts from a spacious family car into a mini-removals van thanks to an ingenious seating system, and can even carry its own bicycle rack... under the boot floor.


Perhaps you have some original suggestions that VW SA could apply to the SV – let us know... As guidance, VW sees the cars’ main competitors as BMW’s 2 SeriesTourer, Mercedes’ B-Class and Citroen’s C4 Picasso, alternatively the Kia’s Sportage, Ford’s Kuga and its own VW Tiguan.

Whatever the name, after driving the SV for several hundred kilometres through the green and luscious countryside between Port Elizabeth and Knysna this week there’s no doubt that VW has come up with a very special package that, in Europe, is following a trend away from normal sedans, hatchbacks and station-wagons to what I can only call multicars.

GALLERY: 2015 VW Golf SV

Families there are demanding personal transport that does more than just commute, take the kids to visit granny, and carry suitcases a few times a year. They want wheels that can do everything in one package at prices than won’t break the bank: in South Africa the five models (for now) run from R292 500 to R359 200 with a choice of 1.2 or 1.4 petrol and a two-litre diesel power – each of them turbocharged (full price list below).

Each is a five-seater – if you feel the urge for seven seats then hang on for the arrival of the new Touran around the middle of 2015.

Other markets have opted to include 4Motion all-wheel drive and top-end R-Line models in their catalogue: VW SA’s Matt Gennrich told me neither was on the horizon for South Africa; the company preferred to see if demand for further models developed.

Meanwhile, VW is hoping to move 100 to 150 SV units a month against around 600 of the standard Golf.

How much bigger is the SV? This the second body variant of the seventh-generation Golf with “strong elements of VW’s design DNA” is based on the same platform but is 4.338m long – which is 8mm longer than the Golf hatch. The 2.685m wheelbase is 48mm longer than the hatch, 8mm wider at 1.807mm, 126mm higher at 1.578m (excluding the distinguishing roof rails) and ground clearance is a not very useful 2mm greater.


With those figures comes not only more rear legroom – the rear seat-group can slide back and forth through 18cm to accommodate either legs or luggage – but also much greater cargo/people flexibility. The bench and its backrests can fold and tumble to create a nearly flat floor and the associated rear parcel shelf can be removed and put into its own storage space.

With seats all in place, the rear set right back, the boot can handle 500 litres of luggage (standard Golf 380 litres); include the 18cm extra from sliding the sear forward and that grows to 590 litres; do the whole folding thing and your SV will swallow 1520 litres.

Like the Golf hatchback, the SV comes, VW says, with a raft of standard and optional passive and active safety systems, among them automatic skid correction and a post-collision braking system to avoid further impacts and destruction with movable and immovable objects.

Pre-crash (using the car’s parking radar) will identify a possible collision (speed and proximity) to tension seat belts and open windows and sunroof a little to allow the crash bags fastest deployment.

Auto high/low beam is optional; fuel-saving engine stop/start and battery regeneration is standard on the 1.2-litre/81kW/175Nm and 1.4-litre/92kW/200Nm petrol engines. The third engine is a two-litre/81kW/250Nm diesel. Don’t be deterred by the petrol engines’ small displacements – there’s plenty of power on tap and the cars come with either a six- or seven-speed DSG autobox or a five- or six-speed manual.


Each is capable of in excess of 190km/h and a more-or-less 10sec sprint to 100km/h. VW SA believes the diesel models will be the most popular.

The SV will only be offered in two equipment lines, Trendline and Comfortline. The Trendline has an SD card reader and CD player with a 1.7cm colour touchscreen; a front centre armrest; dual rear IsoFix child-seat anchors, seven crash bags (front, side and driver’s knees, multifunction (cruise, audio, trip data) leather steering wheel, four power windows,  five15” alloy rims/tyres, black roof rails and manual aircon.

The Comfortline has front fog lights; auto wipers; powered and heated external mirrors and silver roof rails.

The old Golf nose has been amended for the SV: there’s a distinctive new radiator grille and revised headlights and front bumper. Bi-xenon headlights are an option. The three horizontal struts of the grille together with the headlights and U-shaped diode daytime running lights create, VW says, “a modern and passionate interpretation of the horizontally aligned front styling”. Winglets - struts in the lower area of the bumper frame the middle air intake and the fog lights.

Three wheel sizes are available – 15, 16 and 17”.


“The SV’s interior designers,” VW says, “created an interior that is as high-end and stylistically sophisticated as it is clean and fresh. The dominant element here is the newly designed dashboard. Drivers of the current Golf will find the instruments, central touchscreen and controls extremely familiar yet the design of the dashboard in which all these elements are embedded, was redesigned down to the last millimetre.”

Each door can store a large bottle – 1.5 litre up front and one-litre at the rear – and passengers have a range of pockets and folding trays. There is a drawer under each front seat and the front-seat hip points are as much as 85mmm higher than in a standard Golf shell. The older among you will no doubt appreciate that...

There’s a long-object load-through facility in the rear seat-back; the maximum length of an item of cargo is close to 1.8m.

Each Golf SV has a touchscreen audio system and optional radio/navigation systems with a proximity finger-sensor. There are several options with details too extensive to list here – a long chat with a salesman will be much more profitable to a potential buyer.

The cars will also park themselves – parallel or perpendicular.

Highlights of the standard features of each equipment line:

Trendline (1.2 TSI 81 kW)  All the derivatives have:

  • ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist)
  • ESC (Electronic Stability Control) including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and ASR (Traction Control)
  • XDS electronic differential lock
  • Automatic Post-Collision Braking System
  • Driver Alert system
  • Driver’s and front passenger’s airbags with passenger’s airbag deactivation switch
  • Curtain airbag system, for front and rear passengers
  • Front seat side impact airbags
  • Driver’s knee airbag
  • Driver’s and front passenger’s whiplash-optimised head restraints
  • Isofix child seat preparation (for two rear child seats)
  • Leather-trimmed three spoke multifunction steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake grip
  • Electronic parking brake with auto hold function
  • Front centre armrest with storage compartment
  • Driver’s and front passenger’s seat height adjustment
  • Height and reach adjustable steering wheel
  • Split folding rear seat backrest 60:40
  • Multifunction computer with visual gear change recommendation for improved fuel consumption
  • Composition Colour system with 5.0-inch colour touchscreen
  • Front and rear electric windows
  • ‘Climatic’ manual air conditioning
  • Illuminated, cooled and lockable glovebox
  • Four load lashing points in luggage compartment
  • Battery regeneration and Stop/Start system
  • ‘Lyon’ alloy wheels with 195/65 R15 tyres
  • Full size alloy spare wheel
  • Black roof rails
  • Comfortline (1.4 TSI 92 kW and 2.0 TDI 81 kW) adds
  • Cruise control
  • Black front air intake and radiator grille with chrome trimmed inserts
  • Luggage compartment storage box; load-through provision
  • Driver’s and front passenger’s under seat drawers
  • Rear centre armrest with cupholders
  • Automatic coming and leaving home lighting function, plus dusk sensor and automatic driving lights
  • Rain sensor and automatic dimming interior rear-view mirror
  • ‘Toronto’ alloy wheels with 205/55 R16 tyres
  • Front fog lights with static cornering function
  • Chrome trim on rotary light switch and air vents surround
  • Front seats with height and lumbar adjustment
  • Ambient interior lighting
  • Silver anodised roof rails

Retail prices (VAT and emissions tax included)

1.2 TSI with BlueMotion Technlogy Trendline (81kW) 6-spd manual - R292 500
1.4 TSI with BlueMotion Technlogy Comfortline (92kW) 6-spd manual - R325 200
1.4 TSI with BlueMotion Technlogy Comfortline (9 kW) 7-spd DSG - R340 700
2.0 TDI Comfortline (81kW) 5-spd manual - R343 700
2.0 TDI Comfortline (81kW) 7-spd DSG - R359 200

The Golf SV model range comes standard with a five-year or 90 000km service plan, three-year or 120 000km warranty and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty.

Service intervals 15 000km.


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