Volkswagen Scirocco review
The VW Scirocco coupe offers an impressive blend of style and substance
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
The Volkswagen Scirocco's striking looks set it apart from a lot of cars on the road, and despite being one of the oldest cars VW makes, it's still one of the best looking. It's got a distinctive front end and wide rear that provides a purposeful and sporty stance. Sadly, the VW’s cabin fails to live up to the stylish standards set by the rakish exterior The Eos-inspired dashboard is smart and well built but we would like a few more unique touches to set the newcomer apart from its stablemates. All models get alloy wheels and body coloured trim as well as a multifunction leather steering wheel, but go for the GT trim to get the best blend of style and value. It adds front fog lights, sports seats in the back, tinted rear windows, bigger alloys and climate control.
With a selection of strong engines straight line performance is impressive across the board. It’s refined at motorway speeds and swift across twisty back roads. 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.
With six airbags and ESP fitted as standard the Volkswagen Scirocco has strong safety credentials and scored a full five stars in the EuroNCAP safety test. Stability control is also offered as standard. The car's VW underpinnings are proven, and there are few recorded problems. It placed a respectable 35th in our 2012 Driver Power survey, but has tumbled 18 places since the previous year. Even so watch out for the car's DSG gearbox, which has proved a weak link in the past. VW issued a recall to fix a problem with the system's electronic control unit in 2010.
While the Volkswagen Scirocco bears a close relationship to the old Golf underneath, you don’t get as much rear space. The rear bench of the family car has given way to a pair of less flexible individual rear seats and the 292-litre boot has a restricted opening. It is clear that the Scirocco caters for style over substance, but if you need space then the equally brilliant Golf is a safe bet.
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.