X

VW Scirocco R defines the hot hatch (pictures)

With the Scirocco R's low roofline, front-wheel-drive architecture, and turbocharged engine, Volkswagen shows Europe, but not the US, what a hot hatch should be.

Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

See full bio

Volkswagen_Scirocco_SS02.jpg
1 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Volkswagen gave CNET some wheel time in its Sirocco R, a model not sold in or destined for the US market. And that is a shame because the car looks sportier than anything in its US lineup, a car that really defines the phrase "hot hatchback."
Volkswagen_Scirocco_SS04.jpg
2 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
In many ways, the Scirocco R is similar to the Golf R. Both are high performance variations on existing hatchback models and use very similar drivetrains. The Golf R has more practical body styling, but the Scirocco R will turn more heads. Under the hood, both cars feature a turbocharged 2-liter engine, although the Scirocco R gets a slight output bump, up to 261 horsepower.
Volkswagen_Scirocco_SS07.jpg
3 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
A three-door hatchback, the Scirocco R seats four, and includes some cargo room. The side windows, or graphic, accentuate the athletic line of the roof and rocker panel.
Volkswagen_Scirocco_SS10.jpg
4 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The cabin narrows toward the rear, adding definition to the fenders.
Volkswagen_Scirocco_SS11.jpg
5 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Surprisingly for a high-performance compact, the Scirocco R gets an adaptive suspension system, using computer-controlled valves in the shock absorbers to regulate hydraulic fluid flow.
Volkswagen_Scirocco_SS12.jpg
6 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The R badge, one of Volkswagen's performance designations, finds its way onto the grille, door sills, and rear of the Scirocco.
Volkswagen_Scirocco_SS14.jpg
7 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Eighteen-inch wheels do not look oversized on the Scirocco R; while wide, 235/40 tires offer a big contact patch.
Volkswagen_Scirocco_SS17.jpg
8 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The small hatch covers a cargo area that appears deep due to the limited opening area. Cargo access would be one strike against the Scirocco R in the practicality department.
Volkswagen_Scirocco_SS19.jpg
9 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The bolsters on these comfortable sport seats are just large enough to keep passengers in place while not impeding access.
Volkswagen_Scirocco_SS20.jpg
10 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The R logo shows up stitched into the sport seat headrests.
Volkswagen_Scirocco_SS22.jpg
11 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The rear seat is divided into two buckets, which would make it very uncomfortable for a third rear-seat passenger.
Volkswagen_Scirocco_SS23.jpg
12 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
This model included a navigation system, but, loaded with European maps, it was not of any use in the US. In other ways, this head unit was basically the same as one the company offers in other US models.
Volkswagen_Scirocco_SS24.jpg
13 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
With a speedometer showing kilometers per hour, the needle was often above 100 in our time with the car, but that merely converts to typical freeway speeds.
Volkswagen_Scirocco_SS21.jpg
14 of 14 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Volkswagen's DSG automated manual transmission has six gears and two computer-controlled clutches. Instead of the driver pushing a clutch pedal, the engine engages and disengages clutches depending on its programming or driver selection.

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

93 Photos
The 40 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The 40 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

41 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

More Galleries

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

80 Photos
2023 Toyota BZ4X Is a Smooth, Comfortable Electric SUV

More Galleries

2023 Toyota BZ4X Is a Smooth, Comfortable Electric SUV

33 Photos
The 51 Best VR Games

More Galleries

The 51 Best VR Games

53 Photos
55 weird objects seen on Mars, explained

More Galleries

55 weird objects seen on Mars, explained

57 Photos
2022 Audi E-Tron GT Looks Super Cool In Tactical Green

More Galleries

2022 Audi E-Tron GT Looks Super Cool In Tactical Green

40 Photos