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VW Scirocco 2.0 TSI (2010) CAR long-term test

By The CAR team
Long Term Tests
10 May 2010 09:54

Long-term test review - 10 May 2010

Had the editor’s VW Scirocco at the weekend and came away mightily impressed. It’s not a car I would buy â€" space is at a premium and that kiwi fruit green paint job and black wheels are too look-at-me â€" but if I were in the market for a two-door coupe, the Scirocco would certainly make it on to my shopping list.*

It’s just such an all-rounder. It carries off that Golf GTI-in-drag thing seamlessly. The 2.0-litre petrol four is cultured when you’re pootling yet serves up strong acceleration when you’re on it, almost to the point where you wonder who really needs the range-topping R version. And although it has its detractors, the DSG transmission is brilliant most of the time, those whipcrack gearchanges, wise auto mode and finger-prodding-good manual override all serving to remind us that the Volkswagen Group pioneered the road-car application of twin-clutch ’boxes. There’s very little shunt at low-speeds, the usual bugbear of such trannies. The brakes are over-servoed though, and very grabby until you adjust your right foot.

The richly talented drivetrain may dominate the driving experience, but the Scirocco is a fun device through your favourite sequence of corners too. The steering’s weighty and accurate, though as with most hatch-derived coupes hardly brimming with genuine feel, and the car corners flat and neutral. Keep the suspension in Comfort mode, though; Sport introduces a jarring ride that doesn’t seem worth the bother, with little tangible benefit to the handling which remains roll-free even at high speeds. The Scirocco is a car that can be driven absurdly fast even by average drivers and is great fun. About the only real gripe is poor traction in the wet, those 206lb ft from 1700-5200rpm troubling the front axle in the bottom two gears on damp roads.

What of the Scirocco’s character? I know many CAR Onliners reckon it’s just a squashed Golf, and at the end of the day they’re right. But do we care? Not a jot. The Golf GTI is in Mk5 and Mk6 guise consistently one of our favourite hot hatchbacks on sale, and the lower-slung two-door ’Roc has a brilliant headstart in life with that hardware underskin. It’s all a bit corporate VWspeak â€" the cabin’s funereal and peppered with Golf spec â€" and I suspect that will be put some buyers off.

Those wanting genuine character (whatever that is), the sort of people who don’t follow the crowd, who put Alfa Romeo on their shopping list and deplore the Identikit platform sharing homogeneity that irons out differences in modern car ranges â€" may find the Scirocco a boring choice. The fact is though, that for 95% of buyers, it’s the best mainstream coupe on sale for £23k by a country mile. It’s borderline brilliant.

By Tim Pollard

* Then again, have you seen that secondhand Porsche Caymen now start at brand new Scirocco money?
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