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Volkswagen Golf Plus MPV (2009 – 2014) expert review

By Richard Dredge, 1st November 2010

The verdict

The Volkswagen Golf Plus enjoys most of the benefits of a regular Golf, but with added practicality. It costs more than a regular Golf yet doesn’t hold its value so well.

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Expert rating:

3.5

Pros

  • Solid construction
  • Spacious cabin
  • Good engines

Cons

  • Golf estate is more spacious
  • Prices are high
  • Bland exterior design

Full Review

1. Exterior

While the original Golf Plus was hardly a car you could call a looker, this face-lifted edition looks much smarter thanks to its sharper, more aggressive lines. The car still works very well, but a few more interesting details on the outside would help to lift things a bit.

Our rating: 3

2. Interior

As soon as you climb into the Golf Plus you know you’re in a Volkswagen. The dash design and the controls are high-quality, but rather bland. A touch-screen multi-media display is a costly option.

Our rating: 3

3. Practicality

The whole point of this car is that it’s a regular Golf but with added practicality, so there would be something seriously amiss if it wasn’t great for load lugging. While the regular Golf can put away 350 litres with the rear seats in place and 1,305 litres with them folded, the Golf Plus pushes these figures up to 395 and 1,450 litres respectively. There are three individual seats in the back, which can be slid independently.

Our rating: 4

4. Ride and handling

The Golf Plus isn’t exactly fun to drive, but VW’s engineers have done a pretty good job with the suspension settings. With such a tall body and with comfort such a priority, it’s inevitable that there’s a fair bit of body roll in the bends, but things are pretty well controlled unless you get carried away.

Our rating: 3

5. Performance

With two petrol engines available plus a pair of diesels, performance options range from mild to not quite so mild. If you want wild, you’ll need to stick with the regular Golf. Kicking things off is a 79bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine that gives 105mph and 0-62mph in 14.9 seconds. The 121bhp 1.4-litre TSI is much better and is capable of 119mph and 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds. The diesel engines are excellent too, with a 1.6-litre TDI unit offered in 89bhp and 103bhp forms, giving top speeds of 108mph and 114mph respectively. The best engine of the lot is the 2-litre TDI unit, with 138bhp and a very useful 236lb/ft of pulling power, to give 138mph and 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds.

Our rating: 4

6. Running costs

Unusually, the turbocharged 1.4-litre TSI is more economical than the standard 1.4-litre engine, even though it produces 50 per cent more power. So while the 1.4 averages 42.8mpg with CO2 emissions of 154g/km, the 1.4-litre TSI trumps this with 43.5mpg and 152g/km. The diesels are even better though, with even the 2-litre TDI managing 55.4mpg and 132g/km. The cleanest of all the engines is the Bluemotion edition of the 103bhp 1.6-litre TDI. Its capable of averaging an impressive 65.7mpg combined with CO2 emissions of just 114g/km.

Our rating: 4

7. Reliability

Volkswagen has an excellent reputation for reliability, which in the past hasn’t always been deserved. However, the current generation of models seems to be pretty much niggle-free, with few of the build quality and reliability issues of their predecessors.

Our rating: 4

8. Safety

The Golf Plus hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP, but the regular Golf has. The latter notched up a five-star rating and comes with lots of safety kit as standard. All versions of the Golf Plus get brake assist, electronic stability programme (ESP), anti-lock brakes (ABS) and traction control. There are three-point seatbelts for everyone plus front and side airbags for those in the front and curtain airbags for all. Throw in anti-whiplash head restraints for those in the front plus Isofix mountings in the rear and you’ve got a very safe car.

Our rating: 4

9. Equipment

Volkswagen offers just two trim levels for the Golf Plus, which are S and SE. The entry-level S comes with steel wheels, climate control, electric windows all round, electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors, CD/tuner, remote central locking and a trip computer. SE trim includes 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, automatic lightspark assist plus parking sensors front and rear, a better stereo and numerous interior and exterior trim upgrades.

Our rating: 3

10. Why buy?

If you like the idea of a Golf but you need more space and practicality, the Golf Plus might fit the bill as it’s just as safe and dependable.

Our rating: 3

Expert review 3.5stars

  • Exterior3
  • Interior3
  • Practicality4
  • Ride and handling3
  • Performance4
  • Running costs4
  • Reliability4
  • Safety4
  • Equipment3
  • Why buy?3

Our recommendations

Best on a budget:

Golf Plus 1.4 S

Entry-level car gets the basics but little more

Best-seller:

Golf Plus 1.6TDI SE

Frugal diesel with sportier looks and extra comfort

Blow the budget:

Golf Plus 2.0TDI SE

Smooth engine gives strong performance

The Golf Plus costs more than a regular Golf yet doesn’t hold its value so well