Volkswagen e-Golf Review
The Volkswagen e-Golf has all the quality, practicality and comfort of the standard model and adds the attraction of zero-emission motoring. It’s not the cheapest EV, though.
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If the standard Volkswagen Golf is a dustpan and brush, the Volkswagen e-Golf is the latest Dyson vacuum cleaner. Sure, a dustpan and brush will get the job done, but a Dyson does the same thing more efficiently and feels a lot more modern.
The e-Golf’s competition has grown over the years to include the Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia e-Niro and BMW i3. But the Volkswagen e-Golf isn’t a standalone model – instead, it’s very deliberately part of the Golf range of cars that also includes petrol and diesel models.
Admittedly, the e-Golf does have its own looks – including a covered grille, with blue details, LED lights and unique wheels – but the differences are very subtle. And, like every Golf, this electric version has exceptional build quality and uses some very classy materials. The e-Golf also comes in its own very highly specified trim level.
From the driver’s seat, everything looks pretty much the same as in any Golf – which is no bad thing. The only differences you’ll spot between this and other Golfs are the blue stitching (which is complemented by the colour of various trim details) and the power dial that sits where the rev counter would in a petrol or diesel car.
There’s every bit as much room in the front and rear seats of the e-Golf as in any other Golf – which is good news, as this is one of the more spacious family hatchbacks, with room for four adults in comfort.
Only in the boot do you have to make any sacrifice over the standard Golf – and it’s a pretty minor one. In order to fit the batteries, Volkswagen has had to lose about 40 litres of boot space. But, the 341 litres you’re left with is still enough for most everyday needs.
I can’t think of many other models that show more clearly than the e-Golf how little compromise you have to make to enjoy all-electric, zero-emission motoring
It’s the same story when it comes to the way the car drives. A fully charged battery will give you something like 100 miles, which will be plenty for most people each day. Once the batteries are depleted, you’ll need about 16 hours to recharge them from a domestic three-pin socket.
However, charging at home using a 7kWh charger drops that to five. In both cases, a full charge costs about £5, which is about £16 cheaper than fuel the average petrol car over the same range.
If you’ve only ever driven petrol or diesel cars, driving an electric will be a strange experience to start with. But, it’s a pleasant one, as the electric motors deliver their power instantly, so the car responds quickly and quietly. That means the e-Golf is a great way to get around town: it’s simple to drive, smooth and remarkably relaxing.
Much of the time, you can drive just using the accelerator, as the force of the regenerative brakes (which convert the car’s lost momentum into charge in the battery) is enough to slow the car without the driver needing to press the brake pedal.
Admittedly, the acceleration slows down a bit once you’re beyond the city limits, but there’s no problem in getting up to, and staying at, motorway speeds. The car is pretty quiet at the legal limit, too, but high-speed runs will seriously eat into the car’s range. Mind you, the same is true of any electric car.
Compared with them, the e-Golf isn’t the cheapest, but it does score over the alternatives with its high-quality interior, good refinement and smooth drive. If you want a family-friendly, zero-emission car, this is well worth a look.
Aside from subtle hints, the Volkswagen e-Golf’s interior is much the same as any other Golf’s. That means great built quality, but little character