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Volkswagen Scirocco coupe (2008 – ) expert review

By Adrian Hearn, 24th October 2008

The verdict

The Volkswagen Scirocco has stunning good looks and impressive drivability, which make it the pick of the sports coupe bunch.

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Expert rating:

4.2

Pros

  • Fantastic looks
  • Great to drive
  • Wide range of engines

Cons

  • Somewhat disappointing interior
  • High insurance groups
  • Limited practicality

Full Review

1. Exterior

Well done Volkswagen, you’ve nailed it with the new Volkswagen Scirocco. From the awesome angular front to the curvaceous rear-end and with a set of 18-inch alloy wheels – the Scirocco is stunning. It’s wider and lower than the Golf GTI and is far more imposing than the hot hatch legend.
Our rating: 5

2. Interior

Some have criticised the Scirocco’s interior for not being as ‘out there’ as the exterior but this isn’t a bad thing. Radicalising the inside leaves a lot to be desired for and VW is aware of this, so it stuck with its tried and tested formula of easy to use dials and hard wearing, dark plastics, lifted the interior from the Eos. The integrated touch screen sat-nav and sound system is housed in the middle of the dash. The leather seats are comfortable and the sports steering wheel has a quality feel.
Our rating: 4

3. Practicality

The 2008 Scirocco is a four seat car which may not be to everyone’s taste, but this way the two rear passengers get a sculpted seat each. The boot’s 292 litre capacity is quite good and – while not the longest – is quite deep meaning larger packages can fit comfortably. However, the boot does have a high lip which may become frustrating after a while. Visibility is quite bad and claustrophobic in the back but our model had optional parking sensors which make light of reverse parking.
Our rating: 3

4. Ride and handling

The Scirocco has Volkswagen’s Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC) which enables the driver to adjust the car’s braking, cornering and suspension firmness to normal, comfort or sport. When the car’s all firmed up there is minimal bodyroll through corners and it’s never too uncomfortable. In all cases, there is plenty of grip, and you’ll need to push the Scirocco pretty hard through a corner to induce loose grip. The brakes are sharp but progressive ensuring no juddering or discomfort for driver and passengers. With its low and wide profile, the Scirocco is incredibly composed, out handling the Golf GTI.
Our rating: 5

5. Performance

We tested the 2-litre turbocharged Scirocco with the optional six-speed DSG semi-automatic gearbox. As with the VW and Audi range, it works sensationally. It’s a £1,330 optional extra but definitely worth it. The 2-litre model develops 198bhp and gives the Scirocco a 0-62mph time of 7.2 seconds and a top speed of 146mph. Acceleration feels quicker than this and it really picks up at 60mph when you drop down a gear. A 2-litre diesel with 139bhp and a 1.4-litre turbocharged lump with 159bhp are also available and accelerate from 0-62mph in 9.3 and 8 seconds respectively.
Our rating: 4

6. Running costs

The 2-litre Scirocco we tested has a claimed average fuel consumption of 37.2mpg. After more than 450 miles of driving we were averaging 30mpg. Carbon dioxide emissions of 179g/km place the Scirocco in tax band E. Insurance group 16 will mean high premiums for young drivers. Those looking for less performance but more fuel efficiency should look at the diesel model which has a claimed average of 55.4mpg with a manual gearbox and 51.4mpg with DSG. Emissions of 134 and 145g/km mean a tax bill of just £120 a year. The 1.4-litre should average 42.2mpg.
Our rating: 4

7. Reliability

Volkswagens are solidly built and the Scirocco is no different. While it’s a new car in theory, in reality the Scirocco shares many of its components with the Volkswagen Eos Convertible and Golf so there shouldn’t be too many reliability problems. If anything does go wrong, customers get the athree-year warranty.
Our rating: 4

8. Safety

You’re well equipped here. Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes with hydraulic brake assist which puts the right amount of power on the brakes depending on the situation. There’s also electronic stability programme and traction control while inside driver and passengers benefit from six airbags. While it is yet to be crash tested by Euro NCAP, the Eos and Golf – of which it shares a lot of components – were awarded four and five stars respectively.
Our rating: 4

9. Equipment

Our Scirocco was well equipped with the aforementioned safety features and ACC sitting alongside electric windows, heat insulating tinted glass, rain sensing wipers, heated door mirrors, front fog lights, dual-zone climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels and an alarm and immobiliser. Our model had a few optional extras such as a leather interior (£1,535), touch screen sat-nav with 30GB hard drive and SD card reader (£1,180), a winter pack which includes heated front seats and headlight washers (£215) and the very-much advisable rear parking sensors (£325). With all the extras, our model cost £25,225.
Our rating: 4

10. Why buy?

We take our hats off to Volkswagen. The German car maker could easily have charged more for such a stunning looking car, but by using components from other successful models and combining it with an amazing design VW has built a bold car at an attainable price. It also gets the ultimate motoring journalist seal of approval. Half of our road test team has admitted we’d buy one with our own money – it’s that good.
Our rating: 5

Expert review 4.2stars

  • Exterior5
  • Interior4
  • Practicality3
  • Ride and handling5
  • Performance4
  • Running costs4
  • Reliability4
  • Safety4
  • Equipment4
  • Why buy?5

Our recommendations

Best on a budget:
Scirocco 1.4 TSI 122
TSI is cheap to run, but still great to drive.
Best-seller:
Scirocco 2.0 TDi 140
Diesel powers the popular Scirocco
Blow the budget:
Scirocco 2.0 TSI 210 GT
GT shares Golf GTi’s powerplant

The German car maker could easily have charged more for such a stunning looking car