SINGAPORE – The Volkswagen Sportsvan is a five-seat multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), and while we automatically think of MPVs as seven-seat people carriers for ferrying the whole family around, that’s more of a necessity of car ownership in Singapore, where one vehicle often has to serve many purposes.
While some might think of it as a default choice, opting for a seven-seat MPV over other body styles is far from an automatic decision, especially if the car in question is the VW Sportsvan.
The Sportsvan is a five-seat MPV, but that’s just scratching the surface, really. It’s also
a multi-talented machine that can meet almost every need, while giving any of the competition a hard run for the money.
Here’s the proof:
1. It wins the space race…
Why would you choose a five-seat MPV? Simply because you need something with more space and flexibility than a regular hatchback, but without the need for a third-row of seats.
CarBuyer’s newest Jonathan, Jonathan ‘Long Jon’ Lim, is 1.83-metres tall and all limbs. A human-sized stick insect would be just as comfortable in the back of the VW Sportsvan.
The easiest way to see this is to sit in the second row of the Sportsvan: Occupants have masses of headroom, in fact the Sportsvan is much closer to the Touran than the Golf in this aspect, and the panoramic sunroof (available on the Highline model) only adds to the sense of spaciousness.
Adjustable second row seats, tray tables and sunroof deliver extra comfort for passengers.
The second row bench is also adjustable 180mm forwards or backwards, and for seatback angle too, so it can tackle everything situation, no matter where you’re going or who/what you’re carrying.
2. It’s a real cargo ace
How much more cargo can a five-seat MPV carry, compared to a hatchback? If you thought they’re pretty close, well you’re wrong. The Sportsvan can carry more than 1.5-times the cargo a Golf hatchback can. The latter already has a 380-litre boot that’s amongst the most generous in its class, but the Sportsvan tops that easily with a faintly ridiculous 590-litres of boot space.
That’s even more luggage room than a big sedan, mind you. Not only do you get 1,980-litres of room if you fold the seats down, you can also fit objects up to 1.05-metres high and 0.87-metres wide. Bicycles, prams, beer kegs, or the spoils of the Great Singapore Sale? There’s a reason the word ‘port’ is in the Sportsvan’s name.
3. …but it also serves up fun pace
Like its brothers the Golf hatchback and the Touran MPV, the Sportsvan is based on Volkswagen’s MQB platform, which fundamentally spells for less weight, with better dynamics and refinement.
The Sportsvan’s 1.4-litre turbocharged TSI engine and seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox delivers 125bhp and 200Nm of seamless, torquey grunt for all situations, while the Sportsvan Highline model also comes with sports suspension for even more fun.
You set the mood: The Sportvan’s driving profile selector changes the car’s behaviour to suit your needs.
Drivers can tailor the car’s characteristics even further using the Driving profile selector, with Eco, Normal, Sport and Individual modes, so you might choose ‘Eco’, when carrying a full load of five on a road trip, or ‘Sport’ for a bit of fun when nobody’s looking over your shoulder.
4. …with lots of safety and grace
As expected of a Volkswagen, the Sportsvan can be trusted to keep everyone on board ship shape, thanks to its class-leading safety features: a five-star Euro NCAP rating, seven-airbags (including curtain airbags for front and rear passengers) and rear-view camera. It also has VW’s Proactive Occupant Protection system, which closes the windows and tightens the seatbelts for improved safety if it detects an extreme situation.
Seven airbags and numerous safety systems add up to a top-rating in the Euro NCAP safety programme for the VW Sportsvan.
5. And it puts a relaxed smile on your face
The real icing on the cake with the practical, fun-to-drive Sportsvan is an additional layer of convenience features that make every drive an easier, smoother one. The first is keyless entry, which is a boon if you’ve ever had your hands full when loading up a car – and given the amount of boot space the Sportsvan has, at least you’ll only be working out major muscle groups rather than straining them while maniacally fishing a key out of your pocket with one hand. There’s also the Park Assist system that helps you parallel park automatically.
Also onboard is VW’s latest Discover Pro infotainment system, which as easy to use as the latest smartphone or tablet thanks to its clear, responsive 8.0-inch touchscreen display. Its advanced haptics mean you can simply scroll and choose a point on the map for navigation, or simply tell it where you want to go via voice commands. Managing communications and entertainment with your Apple or Android mobile device is seamless too, thanks to App-Connect.
While seven-seats can come in handy, the VW Sportsvan reminds us all that a five-seat MPV can do the job just as well – if not better – if you don’t intend or need to carry a whole brood with you.
This feature is brought to your by Volkswagen Singapore.