The VW Golf GTE is a cheap-to-run hybrid alternative to the Golf GTI. It’s full of features but expensive for a car this size and has a much smaller boot than the standard Golf
The Volkswagen Golf GTE is a hybrid version of the popular Golf family car. It’s perky and frugal thanks to its turbocharged petrol engine and compact electric motor.
It’s slightly cheaper than the Audi A3 e-tron but shares the same parts. Inside you get a pair of high-definition screens – one in the centre console and a second in place of conventional dials – along with bundles of glossy blue trims and soft plastics.
Everything feels just as solid as in the standard Golf and there’s plenty of seat adjustment to help you get comfortable. You even get lumbar support to help reduce back ache on long journeys.
Things are just as comfy in the back. There’s plenty of head and leg room for two adults and all GTEs come with four doors and clearly marked Isofix anchor points so fitting a child seat’s a breeze.
Unfortunately, the GTE’s batteries and motors cut into boot space – its 272-litre loadbay is more than 100 litres down on the standard Golf’s. There’s still enough space to carry a baby buggy and some soft bags though.
The GTE tries to combine the cheap running costs of the electric e-Golf with the fun of the GTI but doesn’t quite manage to do either
All GTEs come with a 1.4-litre petrol engine paired with a small electric motor which work together to give you almost as much performance as a Golf GTI. This combination also means the GTE can trundle along quite happily in electric-only mode for around 20 miles – so short commutes cost pennies not pounds so long as you have somewhere to charge the car. If you do lots of long journeys you’ll end up relying mostly on the relatively thirsty petrol engine, so it’s worth picking a diesel Golf GTD if that sounds like you.
That said, the GTE is easy to drive – you get a six-speed automatic gearbox and adaptive cruise control as standard. It’s not quite as comfortable as the standard Golf on bumpy roads but it’s quieter around town and just as smooth once you head onto the motorway.
It’s safe, too. Automatic emergency braking comes as standard and the Golf earned an impressive five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in 2012.
Less reassuring is the fact you’ll need somewhere to regularly charge the GTE to reap the benefits from its batteries and electric motor. If this isn’t the case, you’ll be better off with a Golf GTD diesel that’s much cheaper to run over long distances.
You can read more in-depth info on the VW Golf GTE in our following interior, driving and specification reviews sections.