Volkswagen Scirocco review - a worthy hot hatchback alternative? - Ride and handling

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

Evo rating
Price
from £21,040
  • Neat styling, abundant grip, strong engines
  • No longer as fun as the best hot hatchbacks, lacks modern tech

Based on the original 2008 model, the Scirocco sits on a platform that has now been superseded. The newer MQB setup handles all new transverse-engined, front-wheel drive Volkswagen Group products. Despite this, it still does some things very well.

The Scirroco R is of most interest to evo. The last one we tested featured VW’s optional Dynamic Chassis Control system, which adjusts the electrically-regulated dampers and firms up the steering, with mixed effect. In Comfort the R is relaxed and soft for a car of its type and its chassis lacks the precision of the best hot hatchbacks. Even in Sport there’s still more roll than you’d expect and less body control than rivals, while the extra steering weight corrupts the rack’s otherwise quite detailed, grainy feel.

Thanks to 19-inch alloy wheels and 235/35 R19 tyres there is an abundance of grip. The standard XDS electronic differential ensures a pointy front end with plenty of traction by braking a spinning inside wheel – replicating the effects of a mechanical locking diff. 

Less potent Sciroccos are correspondingly less grippy but retain many of the positive characteristics. Even in diesel form, the Scirocco darts eagerly into corners with useful feedback from the steering. There’s plenty of grip, a pliant ride and a degree of adjustability in the chassis. The brakes are strong and progressive too. It lacks the outright fun factor of the best hot hatches (or hot coupes like the Peugeot RCZ-R), but there’s some entertainment to be found.

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