With the recent boom in the popularity of crossovers, compact MPVs might not be such an obvious choice for drivers who want a family car that offers more space than a conventional hatchback.
However, Volkswagen's previous compact MPV offering, the Golf Plus, was popular enough to warrant investment in its new SV, which went on sale last year.
We’ve already driven the SV's less efficient 1.6 TDI engine, but this is the first time we’ve got our hands on the 1.6-litre Bluemotion diesel. It's paired with a six-speed manual gearbox, as opposed to the five-speed box in the standard 1.6.
With a difference in price of more than £1200, though, is the superior economy and additional gearbox ratio worth the extra money?
What is the 2015 Volkswagen Golf SV like inside?
The cabin is very spacious and has a premium feel to it. There's plenty of room for the driver and passengers, thanks to the Golf SV's tall body, and it will comfortably accommodate four adults on long journeys, with generous head, leg, and shoulder room in all seats.
Visibility out of the cabin is good, too, and the high seating position for the driver is easily adjustable to suit your needs.
The 40:20:40 rear seats can slide forwards or backwards and be folded to increase the already generous loading space. The boot is spacious, with a 500-litre capacity, increasing to 590 litres with the rear seats moved forwards, and 1520 litres with the seats down.
There are lots of practical touches inside the cabin that increase its suitability as a family car. The sizeable cupholders in the centre console, the coin holder in the glovebox for shopping trolleys and the easily foldable rear seats all help to make this a practical and family-focused MPV.
Standard equipment includes a 5.8in colour touchscreen that's functional, if a little slow to respond, and there's a number of optional extras available including cruise control with a speed limiter for £245 and European map data that our model was fitted with for £760.
What is the 2015 Volkswagen Golf SV like to drive?
The standard 1.6-litre TDI engine is very economical and ahead of rivals as it is, but this Bluemotion engine goes even further, emitting 95g/km of CO2 with a claimed fuel economy of 78.5mpg. So while this adds a premium to the price, it will be cheap to run.
Performance-wise, it’s largely the same story as the standard 1.6 diesel; it’s not quick off the mark, but it gets up to motorway speeds happily enough and will cruise at sensible revs at higher speeds.
Acceleration isn’t particularly thrilling; there’s still a flat spot below 2000rpm, when a sudden surge in power tells you that the turbo has kicked in, and when taken past 3000rpm the engine is too noisy.
Largely, though, the Golf SV is a refined car that generates virtually no wind noise and very little road noise. Refinement is improved over the standard 1.6 TDI, in part thanks to the accurate and precise six-speed gearbox.
That extra gear this engine gets keeps the revs down and the engine noise low at motorway speeds, and it's a great addition if you’re likely to be covering plenty of motorway miles.
Despite its added bulk over a standard Golf, the SV still handles well thanks to decent grip and body control, and its well-weighted steering.
Thankfully its steering is also light around town and composed at higher speeds, but you have to spend an extra £455 to get front and rear parking sensors, while a rear view camera costs £165.
Should I buy one?
The Bluemotion dips below the hallowed 100g/km of CO2 emissions, and has superior fuel economy, but these small differences will take a while to earn back after you’ve forked out the extra £1200 over the regular 1.6 TDI SV.
Even so, it’s more refined than its sibling, thanks to its extra gear, so if you’re going to be doing a lot of motorway miles, then this model is well worth your consideration.
What Car? says
1.6 TDI 110 Bluemotion