Volkswagen Golf SV Highline 1.4 TSI (DSG) Review
The Paradox

25 Feb 2019

With its 200Nm spread from 1,400 to 4,000rpm, the SV is a car which is able to hang on to gears for a long time, without losing puff… 

So you are all grown up now, with a family in tow, sporting the occasional backache from realising that the car is a little too low when you place your kids into their child seats. Your parents are also complaining that they have trouble getting in and out of your ride.

Perhaps this is the other side of your mid-life crisis that is lesser noticed.

You see, life is without a doubt full of compromise. We put aside some dreams and aspirations for those around us. But then again a car to many is one of those things which is very personal.

So here, Volkswagen has built you a compromise if you may… to fit into your life’s compromises, and judging from the way it drives, it certainly feels like no compromise at all.

The Golf SV has recently received a (very) minor facelift, and we are also thankful that Volkswagen has dropped the ‘Sportsvan’ moniker here, and utilised the ‘SV’ abbreviation instead.

The SV maintains its sharp styling, with a hint of the Golf Hatchback when seen from the side. The refreshed car now features distinct LED head and tail lights as standard.


The new ‘Discover Pro’ TFT touch screen system on our ‘Highline’ trim test car includes swipe left and right gesture functions embedded into its user interface. Unlike the system found in BMW, which utilises a roof-mounted sensor, and responds to a greater number of gestures; the Volkswagen system relies on a simpler, existing sensor assembly, located at the base of the 9.2” screen. Connectivity to mobile devices through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is also standard.

Practicality is the strong point of the SV. At 4,351mm, the car is 93mm longer than the regular hatch. The higher ride height (85mm more than a regular car) also ensures that ingress and egress requires much less effort. Rear seats have are also been given additional flexibility in being able to slide forward up to 180mm, meaning not only more flexibility of boot space, but allows you to roll your child’s seat closer to you for easier access.

Adding to the element of fun, the Highline trim SV also gets a panoramic sunroof, which allows more light into the cabin at a press of a button. UV-resistant glass also helps to keep the car’s interior cool even on warmer days.

In keeping with the practical theme, the SV’s practical boot with an adjustable floor is able to hold 500 litres of cargo, and up to 1,520 litres with its 40:20:40 rear seats folded.

The Drive

Powered by the same 1.4 litre turbocharged 125ps, 200Nm engine that is found in the Golf Hatchback and Variant models, the SV also utilises a quick-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch (DSG) transmission and hits 100km/h in a humble but respectable 9.9 seconds.

With its 200Nm spread from 1,400 to 4,000rpm, the SV is a car which is able to hang on to gears for a long time, without losing puff… great for accelerating when on the run.

While its wheelbase is 50mm longer than both the Variant and Hatchback models, and being the tallest within the Golf range; handling is surprisingly sharp, and almost similar to that of the hatch. Steering feel is also precise, with very good communication from the road. With its taller stance, you will also notice that the steering column sits just a little more upright than the regular cars.

Seats are among the best in its class, with plenty of support, especially to the lower back, which makes the SV a great car for longer journeys, which we happily did quite recently up North.

Adding to the list of safety features, the Golf SV also gets Blind Spot Sensors with Rear Traffic Alert, the latter is a welcome addition when it comes to reversing out to a crowded street.

Our Thoughts

The mini MPV is really a European thing. While brands like Peugeot have repositioned their car as an SUV, and Renault has certainly caused product confusion with their Scenic, a comfortable car to be in; both brands do lack a certain aggressive edge in their drive.

The Golf SV on the other hand, with all of its utility scores well with us; on how stable it is at highway speeds, and how well screwed together it really is.

In Summary

We Like

Handling, Performance, Build quality, Sharp styling, Flexibility

We Don't

Trays behind front seats a little difficult to unfold if you have a larger than average frame, 18” rims mean less comfort


It still utilises Volkswagen’s rigid MQB architecture and therefore still drives just like how a Golf should

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Engine Capacity 1395cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 123bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 200Nm @ 1400rpm


Acceleration 9.9s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 200 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 18.2 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed DSG
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric


Body Type MPV
(L x W x H)
(4351 x 1807 x 1613) mm
Wheelbase 2670 mm
Turning Circle 11.1 metres
Fuel Tank Capacity 50 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Drums