VW Scirocco 1.4 TSI review

Familiar Volkswagen Scirocco coupe is still a great buy in 1.4 TSI form

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Volkswagen has clearly followed the philosophy of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ with the VW Scirocco. The 1.4 TSI is punchy, with improved emissions and economy, and is a great choice for coupe buyers on a budget.

There have been a range of updates to the Volkswagen Scirocco, including the return of the rapid R flagship. But if you’re after a coupé on a budget, does the new entry-level 1.4 TSI deliver enough thrills to warrant a second look?

On the surface, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the updated model from its predecessor. There are new lights front and rear, the lower front bumper is styled after the Golf GTI and the interior gets a bank of dials on top of the dash to show turbo boost, oil temperature and a stopwatch. But aside from that, the revised Scirocco isn't much different.

But then that’s no bad thing, as there wasn’t much wrong with how the Scirocco looked. That hatchback body has a unique style, while the squared-off rear means this is a practical four-seater with a usefully large boot and 50:50 split folding back seats.

The 123bhp 1.4 TSI turbo petrol is offered in the £20,735 base model or the GT tested here (which costs £1,850 more), but while the engine is small, it’s still punchy. There’s a broad spread of mid-range torque for overtaking, while the six-speed gearbox (there's no DSG option) has a smooth shift with a weighty feel.

However, the Scirocco is still based on the Mk5 Golf platform, so while it’s a decent performer in corners, it doesn’t have the sharp reactions or lightweight feel of VW’s latest MQB-based models.

It’s a little heavy and slow to react, although there’s no faulting the car’s comfort or cruising ability. Go for the base model, and you get 17-inch alloys, which deliver a more comfortable ride than the 18-inch turbine-style alloys found on the GT version. And the six-speed gearbox means the engine is barely ticking over at motorway speeds. VW claims combined fuel economy of 52.3mpg, while standard-fit stop-start should help you come close to that figure, and emissions of 125g/km mean you can expect £110 road tax, too.

Senior test editor

Dean has been part of the Auto Express team for more than 20 years, and has worked across nearly all departments, starting on magazine production, then moving to road tests and reviews. He's our resident van expert, but covers everything from scooters and motorbikes to supercars and consumer products.

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