Launch Pad: Volkswagen Golf SV

Volkswagen Golf SVI can’t help it – I’m struggling with the name. The letters SV are so indelibly associated with Lamborghini as far as my limited brain capacity is concerned that I’ve been amusing myself telling everyone that this is the new Golf SuperVeloce and, since that’s Italian for “super fast”, it’s obviously got 400hp

It only takes a cursory glance at the car pictured above to understand that this is hardly the case. Although in that colour…

SV in Volkswagen Golf context is in fact short for Sport Van, which is what this model is called in every other European market. Probably VW’s decision to shorten it for the UK is probably a good one, but I can’t help wondering what was wrong with Golf Plus – the self-explanatory moniker for the previous version of this car.

The SV is essentially a Golf people carrier, styled like a supersized variant of the standard Golf hatchback – which is of course exactly what it is. It’s the third new Golf to be based on the MQB platform, and neatly splits the difference between the hatchback and the estate in terms of boot capacity (500 litres minimum, versus 380 and 605), but aims to trump both in terms of functional pragmastism.

This means slidey, flip-flopping seats, an extra 81mm in width and an extra 126mm in height. And in addition to all the usual Golf 7 passive and active safety kit, the SV also becomes the first to be offered with a trick blind spot monitoring system, called Side Scan.

The launch is out of St Tropez, which seems an amusingly glamorous choice for an MPV – especially given how out of favour this sector of the market has fallen, as buyers reject the dowdy image in preference for the crossovers that make their lives seem so much more exciting. I’m not sure even a BMW can turn this around, so what chance does a Golf have… well, let’s see.

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