Volkswagen executives say the Golf Sportsvan combines the agility of the classic Golf hatchback with the roominess, easier access and higher seating position of a minivan, leading some commentators to dub it "the better Golf." The car is the third new Golf body style underpinned by the automaker’s MQB platform after the hatchback and station wagon. It replaces the Golf Plus.
The 'better Golf'
What are the Golf Sportsvan's main markets?
In Germany, 25 percent of sales of the Golf range were Golf Plus variants, compared with 10 percent in the rest of Europe. VW hopes the Golf Sportsvan's sportier design will boost sales outside its home market.
Besides design, what else is different?
At 2685mm, the Golf Sportsvan's wheelbase is 107mm longer than the Golf Plus's, which gives rear passengers significantly more legroom. The rear seats can slide forward and backward by up to 180mm to increase passenger or luggage space.
The Golf Sportsvan's range of six gasoline and diesel engines are up to 19 percent more fuel-efficient than the previous versions. A plug-in hybrid version is planned.
Blind Spot Monitor, which helps drivers exit parking spaces, is offered for the first time in a Golf.
VW said it gave the car a new name to emphasize that the Sportsvan is different than the Golf Plus, with a more dynamic design, a lower roofline and wider body. "Besides former Golf Plus buyers, we now have young families in our focus," said Michael Kohnert, the model's product manager.
Launch date: May (Germany); June (rest of Europe)
Base price: 19,625 euros (Germany)
Where built: Wolfsburg, Germany
Main rivals: BMW 2-series Active Tourer, Mercedes B class, Opel/Vaxhall Meriva, Ford C-Max
The Golf Sportsvan will be offered only as a five-seat model, unlike the Touran, VW’s other compact minivan, which has a seven-seat variant. The Golf Sportsvan is lower and shorter than the Touran.
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VW targets what it calls “premium downsizers” with the Golf Sportsvan and aims to attract Mercedes-Benz B-class and BMW 2-series Active Tourer buyers, Kohnert said. At 4338mm long, the Sportsvan is 134mm longer than the Golf Plus and 83mm longer than the current Golf, but 224mm shorter than the Golf Estate.