Volkswagen Scirocco

Golf-based coupé blends style and great image with strong diesel

Car makers have been spinning coupés out of family hatchbacks for years, but few have done it with as much success as Volkswagen.

The original Scirocco was launched in 1974 and the second-generation model lasted until 1992, when it was replaced by the equally impressive Corrado. Fast forward to 2008, and the Scirocco was reborn.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the VW Scirocco


Take one look at the sleek hatch, and you can see evidence of its Golf MkV ancestry, although its shallow windows and muscular haunches leave you with no doubt about its intentions.

It’s not as dramatic as the IROC concept that previewed the Scirocco’s shape in 2006, but the production car still manages to mix purposeful lines with real class.

Inside, things are a little disappointing – simply because it doesn’t look as special as the outside. Exclusive seats and high-quality trim do give the interior a sense of luxury, though. And while the standard Golf layout is clear to see, the Scirocco does feel more like a coupé than the Renault.

Individual seats in the rear mean the car is strictly for four people, which puts it behind the five-seat Mégane in terms of practicality. But long front doors help access to the back. Once inside, tall passengers will find headroom in the rear tight thanks to the sloping roofline, although there are no such concerns up front. Here you get plenty of adjustment, so achieving a comfortable driving position is easy – and the seat can be set much lower than the Mégane’s.

The 2.0 TDI is a familiar engine and it can be noisy on start-up, but things improve when you hit the road – the unit takes on a throaty, aggressive sound. Power delivery could be smoother, though, as the torque arrives in a rush, which means the car feels quicker than it really is. Catch the turbo off boost and the VW is quite lethargic, and the less powerful Renault delivered better mid-range punch in some of our in-gear performance tests.

The Scirocco’s platform is derived from the Golf MkV, so it comes as no surprise that the car behaves impeccably. The surefooted chassis inspires confidence through bends and the communicative steering is precise. However, the ride can be a touch harsh, even with the active dampers set to Comfort mode.

The VW really impresses at the pumps. It returned 42.9mpg on our test – beating the Mégane by nearly 5mpg. And while it costs more than the Renault to buy, a predicted residual value of 56 per cent is impressive – that’s 23.7 per cent more than its rival, so you should reap the rewards when you come to sell.

As an all-rounder, then, the economical VW looks to have it sewn up. It’s stylish, good to drive and makes financial sense, too.

The question is, has it done enough to tempt fashion-conscious buyers away from Renault showrooms?


Chart position: 1WHY: A legend reborn – the new Scirocco blends good looks, sharp handling and strong residuals with a punchy TDI engine

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