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Golf for golfers. Volkswagen Sportsvan Highline 1.4

18 Jan 2016

Photos and text by Alvan Sio, Oneshift.

What's a Sportsvan you ask?

Well golf is a sport, but the popular hatchback from Volkswagen has nothing to do with the sport whatsoever.

You see the Golf is named after the German word for Gulf Stream. Or so many seem to suggest, because other names like Passat, Scirocco and Jetta are all some wind name or other. Of course if you delve deeper into the internet, you'll realise that no one really knows where that name came from.


So for our present intents and purposes, let's assume VW wanted somehow to connect the Golf with the sport. Because what we have here is an expanded Golf with even more space than before for more golf bags, so you can actually ferry your mates and their clubs to the country club.

That I reckon, could be part of the reason for naming the Sportsvan as such. And also because it fits bicycles superbly; no doubt other smaller sporting equipment will find ease seated in this new compact MPV from the people's car maker.

While no one's ever going to mistake this larger car for its hatchback sibling, the fact that the Golf is a pretty neat looking car translates well to the Sportsvan.

It features the same modern if a little minimalistic front fascia which keeps things looking simple but effective. The clean look underscores the Sportsvan's main purpose - to be a do it all vehicle for every day, every situation motoring.

Flanked by Xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights and dynamic cornering lights in this Highline guise (halogens for the less expensive Comfortline), the Sportsvan blends in with the current VW family look with ease.

Elsewhere, the car looks rather boxy as is the way of an MPV in order to create a spacious posterior for your all barang barang.

Being the Highline variant, the test car came shod with 18 inch alloys which lend a sporty look befitting the name of the car and taking away some of the "mummy's bus" look which is a welcome design element.

Inside, due to an extended wheelbase over the Golf, the Sportsvan is much roomier and even allows for the rear bench to be adjusted forwards up to 18 cm if you need more boot space. While this is a nifty trick to expand the cargo area if you head down to Ikea, there is a drop from the actual boot floor to where the seats used to be before you moved them forwards, so it creates a sort of well which could have smaller items fall in.

Otherwise practicality bits abound within the cabin; you get cubbies everywhere and large door bins that'll fit most large bottles with ease. You also get a folding tray for the rear passengers that will allow you to trick your kids into thinking you're a pilot.

If you are a real pilot however, you'll find that the systems of the car are easy to use unlike that of an AH-64D. The latest infotainment system from VW comes with all the connectivity options that you'd expect of a modern car; Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth and WiFi all come standard on the Highline.


The cabin quality is also superb - VW has been catching up to its more prestigious rivals in recent times (see Passat) and this new Sportsvan is no exception. Fit and finish is top notch and the materials used are pleasing to touch and look at.

Being that it's a rather tall car, some amount of roll is expected if you take corners quickly. Be that as it may, VW has fitted the Sportsvan with slightly firmer suspension which allows the car to handle better than it looks like it would.

That said it's not what you'd describe as dynamic, but then again who calls MPVs dynamic?

Due to the aforementioned stiffer springs, the car rides slightly on the bumpier side of the scale but is by no means uncomfortable. Take it down the highway and you'll see it soaks up the miles with ease albeit with some wind and tyre noise intruding the cabin especially evident at those speeds.

Otherwise, the 1.4l turbocharged engine does a good job of getting the car from the standing start to motorway speeds without fuss; 123 bhp and 200 Nm are adequate for almost any situation you would encounter here and the car doesn't feel slow or sluggish unless you've just climbed out of a Golf R.

You get the 7-speed DSG double clutch gearbox that has been a hallmark of VW for a while now which shifts faster than you can blink; paired with the frugal engine the Sportsvan will return about 13 km/l even if you don't watch your right foot.

If you feel like it you can change the driving mode of the car too - pop it into Sport and watch the Sportsvan turn into a real sports erm, van. Put it into Eco and coast along the highways and you'll find the car is a rather pleasant family mobile that does remind you somewhat of the hatchback that it's based upon with its pretty decent handling and even more oodles of space for more of that sporting equipment you'll want to haul around.

Read the original article here.

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