Volkswagen E-Golf

Styling

The all-electric version of the Volkswagen Golf has a smart mainstream style that doesn’t scream out for attention like many other EVs. The Golf is an ultra-popular platform that combines comfort, practicality, refinement and tasteful Teutonic lines—inside and out. This is the EV for drivers who like classic German automotive styling.

The color selection includes white-silver, gray, blue and a new green.

Performance

The E-Golf shines in zero-to-30-mph sprints, especially in city maneuvers and at slightly higher speeds around tight corners. The combination of 199 pound-feet of torque, taut handling, and a tight suspension is a winning formula.

Volkswagen E-Golf

The 100-kW electric motor develops 134 horsepower. At the same time, the maximum torque of the electric motor is a solid 214 lb-ft. The e-Golf runs zero to 60 mph at 9.6 seconds—and its top speed is 85 mph.

The E-Golf allows drivers to use a set of driving modes and levels of regenerative braking. Slap the gear shifter to the left—once, twice or three times—to progressively increase the amount of regenerative braking applied, ranging from a no-regeneration (or “coast”) mode to heavy braking. You can also slap the shifter down as a shortcut directly into B mode, the highest level of what the dashboard screen calls “recuperation.”

Don’t expect a total one-pedal driving experience. Even in B mode, you’ll need quite a bit of runway ahead to allow the E-Golf to slow down before coming to a complete stop. Even then, the car will still slightly “creep” forward when the driver has both feet off the pedals.

There are three levels of performance: Normal, Eco and Eco-plus—providing increasing levels of energy frugality. If you want to push the limits of range, you could put the car into Eco-plus and B mode. But given the lack of clear distinction between each level of regen, we suspect most drivers will leave the car in Normal and only reserve B mode for long downhill stretches or when the battery is getting low. Alternatively, EV geeks might keep the car in Normal (to reserve a modicum of fun) and in B—for an approximation of one-pedal driving.

One cool feature is a kick-down, which was also employed in the discontinued Mercedes B-Class Electric. When you need a quick burst of power—for highway passing, an evasive maneuver or a cheap thrill—put your foot on the accelerator all the way down to the floor to release an extra dose of electrons for a few seconds of boost.

Efficiency/Range

The E-Golf has an EPA-estimated range of 123 miles. For city driving, the EPA estimated fuel economy is 122 MPGe; highway driving is rated at 104 MPGe, and combined city/ highway at 113 MPGe.

Charging

The E-Golf's 7.2 kW onboard charger is now standard on all trims, which enables the battery to be charged in less than six hours at a 240V charging station. When equipped with DC Fast Charging (optional on SE, standard on Limited Edition and SEL Premium), the battery can be charged up to 80 percent within an hour at a DC fast charging station.

We wish VW had put a small light in the charging area, to make it easier to plug in at night. Similarly, the small green pulsating indicator light—showing that the car is successfully taking juice—is perhaps too understated. It’s nice to get a quick visual signal regarding the state-of-charge, which is provided in various ways by other EVs, but not the E-Golf.

VW is using the so-called “Combined Charging System” or combo-cord favored by German and American automakers—as opposed to the CHAdeMO fast-charging port utilized by Japanese vehicles. The network of combo-compatible Quick Chargers is not nearly as wide as CHAdeMO, but this is expected to level over time (as many Quick Charger providers begin to offer two plugs). It’s rare for EV drivers to depend on Quick Charging except in a pinch.

Passenger/Cargo Room

The conventional VW Golf earns kudos for its upscale interior for a non-luxury compact car. The seats are comfy, with the level of support usually reserved for more expensive models. Dashboard gauges and controls are clear and accessible.

Tall drivers will enjoy the ability to slide the front seats way back—giving more front legroom than most other small cars (even if it compromises space for passengers behind the driver).

In terms of cargo, the baggage area in the gas-powered Golf loses about 10 percent of its capacity to make room for EV batteries.

Volkswagen E-Golf

Price

The value-oriented e-Golf SE ($32,800) trim now offers more standard equipment, including an 8-inch glass-covered touchscreen display, LED taillights, cruise control, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, and the 7.2 kW onboard charger. A DC Fast Charging package is available for $995.

The e-Golf SEL Premium ($39,800) offers an optional Driver Assistance package, including the 12.3- inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit instrument cluster, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring, Lane Assist, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, Park Assist and Light Assist. (Late availability for the Driver Assistance Package).

These figures do not take a $7,500 federal tax credit, or a $2,500 rebate offered in California, into consideration.

As VW gears up to begin selling its new ID line of electric cars, supplies of the e-Golf could be very limited. Sales of the VW E-Golf are also limited to the 10 so-called zero-emissions states: California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Volkswagen E-Golf specifications

Availability: Now
Base MSRP: $31300
Est. tax credit: $7500
Technology: Electric Vehicle
Body type: Sedan
Seats: 5
EPA Range: 125 miles pure electric
Battery size: 36 kWh
Charging rate: 7.2 kW

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