REVIEW DATE: 29 Jan 2010
Even in entry-level guise, the Volkswagen Scirocco coupe retains its desirability. Steve Walker reports.
People who loved the Volkswagen Golf but wished it was a little more exciting to look at had their wishes granted when the German brand unveiled its latest Scirocco coupe. Like a lederhosen-clad genie from an elaborate flip-top beer stein, Volkswagen has been at it again with the Scirocco 1.4 TSI 122. It's the Scirocco for people who wished the Scirocco was a little more affordable.
There will always be those who write the Volkswagen Scirocco off as little more than a Golf that's had an elephant settle down on its roof for the night. There's an element of truth behind the squashed Golf sniping but there's also something wonderfully modern and accessible about VW's take on the small coupe theme. The purposeful, low-slung shape gives the coupe an element of drama that its clean-cut relative has never had and if those looks are your main reason for being attracted to the car, the entry-level 1.4 TSI 122 model is a good way to acquire them on the cheap.
You don't have to have eyeball-melting performance to enjoy a good coupe. If the balance is right and the handling sweet, an eager, free-revving engine can be just the ticket and it'll probably save you a pretty penny as well. The 1.4-litre TSI 122 petrol engine is one such unit. Not to be confused with the 1.4-litre TSI 160 'twin-charge' engine also offered in the Scirocco, this is the entry level powerplant employing a single turbocharger to boost its output instead of a turbo and supercharger in combination. With 120bhp and 200Nm of torque performance is never going to be as vivid as in the 265bhp Scirocco R but, it'll keep up with traffic and should have enough to entertain on the right road.
"This has got to be one of the most stylish cars currently available below the £20,000 barrier"
Many of the handling advances made by the Scirocco centre around its dynamic aids but this entry-level 1.4 TSI 122 car does without the Adaptive Chassis Control system with its comfort, normal and sport settings for the suspension and steering. The basic suspension set-up is still designed to deliver a level of thrills befitting a two-door coupe and the Scirocco's impressive ride comfort when cruising should not be harmed.
The Scirocco is practical for a sports coupe. There's a reasonably wide boot aperture which opens up 292 litres of luggage space. Fold the split rear seats down and you've got 755 litres. The Scirocco features four, individual sculpted seats finished in a choice of either cloth or leather. The sports seats aren't just restricted to those up front - the contoured rear seats feature integrated headrests to offer plenty of support. Proportions for this car are classically short, low and wide although the dimensions betray its reliance on Golf mechanicals. The vehicle measures 4,256mm long, 1,404mm high and 1,810mm wide.
Inside the Scirocco, there's a lot to grab the interest. A contoured, flat-bottomed sports steering wheel frames dials that glow white at night. The interior is airy and light, and the option of an electrically-operated panoramic sunroof further emphasises the feeling of spaciousness. Many people expected this model to emerge as a classically lean and low sports coupe but the exterior visual effect is closer to what you imagine the three-door Golf might have looked like if Volkswagen had given its designers carte blanche. Despite its somewhat stocky lines, the Scirocco is a great looking car that manages to purvey a futuristic feel. Volkswagen isn't known for its stylistic innovation but this is one model where the marque has hit the nail on the head.
The price will be a major component of this Scirocco's appeal. Coming in at under £19,000, it's nearly £2,000 less than the 1.4-litre TSI 160 car and may be affordable enough to tempt buyers out of their high-spec three-door Golf models. The car certainly doesn't feel low rent and equipment levels are largely the same as the more powerful Siroccos with the exception of that missing Adaptive Chassis Control system (a £750 option).
The 2.0-litre diesel engine remains the most fuel efficient in the Scirocco range but this 1.4 TSI 122 unit isn't far off and it's £2,500 cheaper to buy in the first instance. News of the official combined economy figure of 44mpg and 146g/km emissions will be welcome to those who thought running a desirable coupe was beyond their budget. Insurance costs should be similarly reasonable and strong demand should keep residual values buoyant.
In entry-level 1.4 TSI 122 guise, the Volkswagen Scirocco probably lacks the performance to really make the most of its finely-honed chassis. That's largely where the downsides end though because this car shares the sleek looks and classy design of the more powerful models and is available at a temptingly low price.
This has got to be one of the most stylish cars currently available below the £20,000 barrier and with manageable running costs added in, it should have the ability to lure buyers out of their three-door family hatchbacks.
The results below show the top SCIROCCO deals on buyacar
|Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDI 170 GT 3dr DSG diesel coupe|
|Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDi BlueMotion Tech GT 3dr [Nav/Leather] diesel coupe|
|Price £22,848||Save £2,692|
|Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDi BlueMotion Tech GT 3dr diesel coupe|
|Price £23,000||Save £1,010|
|Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDi BlueMotion Tech 3dr diesel coupe|
|Price £19,000||Save £3,655|
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|For SCIROCCO 1.4 TSI 122|
|OVERALL||7.7 OUT OF 10|
|Space / Versatility||9|
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