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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For It has all the class of the Golf and more room

Against It's heavier than the Golf but is no more powerful

Verdict The extra space is useful, but it’s no MPV

Go for… 1.9 TDI (105)

Avoid… 1.4 16v petrol

Volkswagen Golf Plus MPV
  • 1. Look out for electric glitches and problems with the headlamps
  • 2. The 1.6-litre engine can suffer from faulty timing belt tensioners
  • 3. Golf Plus has a bit more boot space than a standard Golf - lots, in other words
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Volkswagen Golf Plus MPV full review with expert trade views

The Golf Plus is exactly that: a Golf with a bit more boot space, passenger room and versatility. The rear seats split 60/40 and each section also slides backwards and forwards independently, so you can juggle passenger and luggage space around to suit.

At the same time, the front passenger seats can fold completely forward. None of the seats can be removed, but there are no fewer than 43 cubby holes for stowage.

Otherwise, the Plus is very much a Golf, with all its strengths and failings. The cabin is every bit as classy as the basic Golf’s and, although the dashboard is different, Golf drivers will still find it all reassuringly familiar. Front three-quarter visibility is still a problem, though, due to those thick A-pillars, and the Plus’s taller body means you sit slightly higher than in the Golf.

On the positive side, that tall body doesn’t have too much of an effect on the Golf’s fine handling, but the extra weight - 100kg of it – needs powerful engines to shift it.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Tall Golf costing £1000 more new, but worth £500 less used

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Don't bother with the 79bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine, as it struggles. With the cabin full of family and the big boot full of clobber, holidays won’t be as happy as they could be.

In summer 2006, a year after the Plus went on sale, VW introduced a 1.4-litre petrol engine (TSI) with a turbo- and a supercharger. It’s something of a star, with 138bhp and 162lb ft of pulling power, and easily outguns the 1.6-litre petrol.

However, as is often the case with a VW, diesel is the way to go, and there's a choice of three engines. We favour the 104bhp 1.9 TDI, but the 89bhp version and the more powerful 138bhp 2.0-litre are also worth a look.

Trim-wise, there's no need to complicate things. Stick with entry-level models – initially badged S, later changed to the slightly bizarre Luna – and you’ll get air-con, central locking and a CD player.

Equipment improves on SE, Sport and GT trims, but you won't miss out on anything important by going for the most basic S. Safety, however, is excellent on all with six-airbags, stability control and anti-lock-brakes fitted across the range.

Trade view

John Owen

A Golf - but just a bit bigger. Why?

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

VWs hold on to their value better than most rivals. A three-year-old Golf Plus will still be worth 60% of the original asking price, which makes it easily 20% more expensive than most cars in its class.

Over a three-year period, service costs will be marginally more on the Golf Plus than a Ford Focus estate, but the VW will work out cheaper to maintain than a Vauxhall Zafira.

Insurance costs, starting in group 5, are hardly harsh, and all, except the group 12-rated 2.0 TDI Sport and 1.4 TSI, come in below group 8.

Finally, the extra weight of the Plus takes a slight toll on fuel economy, but the Plus is only marginally down on the Golf’s impressive mpg figures.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Tall Golf costing £1000 more new, but worth £500 less used

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

As the Plus is essentially a Golf with a bigger boot, you can expect to encounter the same sort of mechanical problems that Golf drivers face. These include problems with headlamps and electric glitches. On a more serious note, the 1.6-litre engine has suffered from faulty timing belt tensioners.

Also, check for tell-tale stains on the ground, as there have been reports of leaking fuel pumps on the diesel engine. And, avoid high-mileage diesels that produce clouds of black smoke under hard acceleration.

Although Golfs enjoy a good reliability reputation, treat your test drive as you would with any other car, paying particular attention to the clutch, gearbox and all electric components.

Trade view

John Owen

A Golf - but just a bit bigger. Why?

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford
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