Volkswagen Scirocco review - a worthy hot hatchback alternative?

Antony Ingram
28 Jun 2016

The best hot hatchbacks are now more talented and more fun, but the Scirocco still holds appeal for keen drivers

Evo Rating: 
Neat styling, abundant grip, strong engines
No longer as fun as the best hot hatchbacks, lacks modern tech

evo Verdict

The Scirocco still looks great despite being with us since 2008. Thanks to VW's simple aesthetics the design has aged particularly well and the Scirocco remains one of the most distinctive cars in the brand's product range, even if its initial impact has diminished through ubiquity. The engines deliver decent levels of performance and great economy.

On the inside, the Scirocco is well refined and build quality is unquestionable, though the design has now dated in context with newer VWs. It is however on the back foot compared to rivals when it comes to technology, but perhaps the biggest disappointment is a lack of outright excitement - something you'll find in abundance in coupe rivals like the Renault Sport Megane Cup-S and the recently-departed Peugeot RCZ-R. Consider it a modest entertainer, rather than a purveyor of true driving thrills.

evo Tip

The Scirocco may not offer huge thrills, but if you're seeking high performance then the Scirocco R delivers 276bhp from its 2-litre TSI engine and covers 0-62 in 5.7 seconds. The regular 2.0 TSI is not to be sniffed at, it’s effectively a last-gen Golf GTI in disguise and looks impressively sporty in R-Line trim. Diesel models are frugal (50-60mpg) and the 177bhp version offers up almost identical performance as the 2.0 TSI, so they're well worth a look if you're expecting to cover longer distances. Not quite as thrilling perhaps, but still appealing.

evo Comment

‘A step or two back from the limit, the R shows abundant grip, a pointy front end and strong traction afforded by the electronic XDS differential. The Scirocco R is said to be tuned to be slightly more focused than the Golf R, but initial impressions suggest the Golf is more responsive and enjoyable, perhaps as a result of its four-wheel drive system.’ – Dan Prosser, Road Test Editor (Scirocco R, evo 200)

> Performance and 0-60 time - Fast in R form, and sounds good too. Even the basic car is sprightly. Read about the Scirocco Performance here

> Engine and gearbox - Wide range of powerplants means there's a Scirocco for everyone. Potent R and punchy diesels are highlights. Read about the Scirocco engine here

> Ride and handling - Lacks the excitement factor present in the latest hot hatchbacks, but steers neatly and there's plenty of grip. Read about Scirocco handling here

> MPG and running costs - Diesels are predictably frugal, but even the petrol models can sip fuel in day-to-day driving. Read about Scirocco MPG and running costs here

> Prices, specs and rivals - Relatively affordable at the bottom of the range, but the R looks expensive next to even more potent rivals. Read about Scirocco prices and specs here

> Interior and tech - Cabin design is ageing and it lacks the latest kit, but the driving position is just about perfect. Read about Scirocco interior and tech here

> Design - Still handsome, despite minimal visual changes since its introduction in 2008. R model has just enough visual aggression. Read about Scirocco design here

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