Volkswagen Scirocco review

Our Rating: 
4
4.0/5.0
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The VW Scirocco coupe offers an impressive blend of style and substance

For: 
Distinctive looks, attractive price, entertaining driving experience
Against: 
Dull interior, lacks cabin space, disappointing reliability

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Launched in 2008, the Volkswagen Scirocco has stood the test of time with its good looks and hatchback practicality – so it’s still one of the best affordable coupes on the market.

With bold styling, hot hatch handling and a decent amount of practicality, the Volkswagen Scirocco has long been an Auto Express favourite.

There's a whole host of petrol and diesel engines so there's practically a model to fit everyone's needs. An efficient Bluemotion model appeals to the environmentally friendly, while a 2.0-litre turbo petrol is the quickest in the range. Golf underpinnings – from the old MkVI model, at least – ensure that things will rarely go wrong and depreciation shouldn't be too much of an issue either.

Our choice: Scirocco GT 2.0 TSI

Styling

3.9

The Scirocco is one of the oldest models Volkswagen makes, and the existing version still looks good. With its distinctive front end, broad shoulders and wide rear, it has a sporty, purposeful stance on the road. And while it lacks the concept car bravado of the Peugeot RCZ and the classy proportions of the new BMW 2 Series, there’s no doubt it still turns heads.

The GT trim gets 18-inch wheels, front foglights and darkened privacy glass for the rear windows. Sadly, the cabin fails to live up to the exterior’s stylish standards, because it’s here where the Scirocco really begins to show its age.

Build quality is solid, but the dashboard – inspired by the Eos coupe-cabrio’s – is old-fashioned, while the high-mounted seat is more hatchback than coupe. There’s lots of old-generation switchgear, too. Still, you get lots of kit, with leather seats and two-zone climate control, while brushed aluminium inserts around the instruments set the higher-spec models apart from entry-level Sciroccos.

Driving

3.7

The VW is poised and vice free on a twisting road, but its rivals feel more alive and agile.

The standard adaptive dampers ensure the ride isn’t overly firm if you stick to the comfort setting, but on the optional 19-inch wheels, our Scirocco thumped a bit too much over poor surfaces. The fact that the latest-generation Golf handles and rides with more polish also makes the coupe feel a bit dated.

Volkswagen Scirocco GT TDI rear action

Top spec R badged models offer the greatest thrills, with a 265bhp turbocharged engine. However if you want something a bit easier to live with, pick the GT model. It offers the 207bhp 2.0-litre TSI from the old Golf GTI and delivers strong torque.Alternatively, you can have the GT with the strong 2.0 TDI diesel, featuring either 175bhp or 138bhp.

On rough roads, the car feels comfortable, thanks largely the firm’s clever Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC). It provides incredible poise and grip without harming ride comfort. Selecting the ‘Sport’ setting stiffens the dampers, and sharpens throttle and steering responses.

Reliability

4

The Scirocco’s underpinnings are proven, with few problems reported over the years, although the car ranked only 56th for reliability and 60th overall in our Driver Power 2013 survey. The near-identical Golf MkVI finished higher up the chart. VW’s dealers ranked a disappointing 25th, too.

The revised Scirocco is due to land in showrooms in September, but essentially it’ll be the same car. That means similarly strong safety credentials – the existing model has six airbags and ESP as standard, and achieved a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. Hill hold, Isofix
and tyre pressure monitoring are also included.

Practicality

3.6

It lets you carry three adult passengers – although the low roofline and shallow windows make things a bit claustrophobic for those in the two sculpted rear seats. Tinted rear glass and dark interior materials don’t help either.

At least the rear seats fold to increase the deep boot’s capacity to a healthy maximum of 1,006 litres. That’s impressive, although with the seats in place the 312-litre area is 78 litres down on the BMW’s, and both rivals have longer load bays. Plus, while the Scirocco’s hatch tailgate is handy, the high load lip makes it tricky to lift in big items.

Volkswagen Scirocco GT TDI interior

Visibility isn’t great through the VW’s letter box-shaped rear screen, so it’s a good job rear parking sensors are standard. Also included in the long list of equipment are an air-conditioned glovebox, Bluetooth hands-free and a multifunction steering wheel.

Running Costs

3.8

With a range of economical engines and the promise of strong residual values the Scirocco appeals to the head as well as the heart. The 2.0 TSI petrol manages a respectable 38.2mpg but emits 172g/km, while the top of the range 2.0 TDI promises 55.4mpg and 134g/km. The firm’s clever entry-level 1.4 TSI petrol is worth considering as it's a bargain buy and still manages 44.1mpg with 149g/km. Kit levels are impressive too, with all cars getting touch screen sat nav and Bluetooth as well as alloy wheels and DAB radio.

Last updated: 9 Apr, 2014
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