In 2005 the Volkswagen Golf Plus arrived in our showrooms to a fanfare of raspberries. What was this motor all about? A slightly taller Golf, but no longer or wider, like a pretend mini MPV, the Plus left the market underwhelmed. What was Volkswagen thinking? Sales were just as impressive as the initial reception. The Plus did sell, just not very well. In fact the standard model outsold it twenty to one. In an effort to make the standard Golf's ugly sister a little more attractive, Volkswagen added more zippy engines, bolting on turbochargers and superchargers. The BlueMotion version arrived in 2007 with various bits of tweaking to enhance fuel economy. Sounds like a dog? Actually, the unpopularity of the Plus masks a decent and practical family motor and leads to some fairly tasty prices on second hand models.
Bang for your buck
So what do you get with the VW Golf Plus that you wouldn't get with the standard car? Well, for a start there's the extra headroom. We are a tall nation and there are no doubt some drivers who could do with that extra 20mm, but surely there's more than that? Well, the Golf Plus has some added features that give a little more versatility than the standard car. For a start, the rear seats move backwards and forwards by as much as 160mm, letting you maximise either rear legroom or boot space depending on requirements. The rear seats also sink down when folded, giving a useful flat load platform and 550 litres of space. Extra storage compartments and a double-floored boot to hide away your valuables are nice touches too.
What you'll pay
The relative lack of popularity of the approved used VW Golf Plus during its lifetime has made it a pretty scarce motor, so getting hold of your exact preference of colour, trim and engine choice isn't going to be as straightforward as finding a standard Golf. You're going to need a little perseverance, or more likely be a bit more flexible about the car you're after. If you manage this, you could well be rewarded because there are some excellent examples around. Expect to pay a shade over £6,000 for a 1.4 petrol model and around £7,300 for the 1.9 TDI S with 90bhp. A touch over £7,500 meanwhile will reign in a 2.0 litre diesel. Do watch out for insurance, which can range from Group 4 for the more subdued models, to Group 14 for the 1.4 TSI model with 140 of those excitable horses.
What to check
As always, look for a service book with a healthy complement of dealer stamps and keep an eye on any high mileage models which might have been tramping up and down the motorway as a company car. You should give the smaller or less powerful engines a miss too. The used VW Golf Plus is a bulky beast and you might find yourself with time on your hands as you wait for it to accelerate meaningfully. Cars with the sequential DSG transmission should engage reverse gear smoothly, quietly and without fuss.
Taking the 2006 Golf Plus 1.4 as a benchmark, an exhaust system is a shade under £100 and a clutch assembly will set you back about £75. An alternator is around £115, while brake pads are £55 at the front and £45 for the rear. Reasonable, on the whole.
How it drives
With all the extra height, you might think that the used VW Golf Plus would roll around on the bends, but Volkswagen has ensured that the ride is tight and reminiscent of the standard hatchback Golf. Most original owners plumped for the turbo diesels and the 2.0-litre TDI is an especially impressive engine. Hefty lump though the Plus is, this engine fires the Golf Plus to 60mph in a touch over 9 seconds and, if you happen to be holidaying on the German autobahns, on to a top speed of over 120mph. The cabins have a typical Volkswagen feel with high quality trim that looks built to last and high specification instruments. In short, the used VW Golf Plus for sale makes for a very capable and flexible family car and the canny buyer can take advantage of its initial unpopularity and grab a bargain while the rest of the market is looking the other way.