THIS is the updated version of the e-Golf, which is the electric-only version of Volkswagen’s popular hatchback.
What is it?
The headline is the improved electric range, which coupled with the typical Volkswagen brand image and build quality brings a much-needed premium feel to the electric vehicle segment.
With a 35.8kWh battery capacity, the upgraded official range of 186 miles – making the e-Golf much more usable as an inner-city commuter despite the fact there’s more performance on offer.
There’s also revised styling – though you’d be hard-pressed to notice – and improved connectivity features.
What’s under the bonnet?
Power comes from an electric motor, which gets its energy from a larger lithium-ion battery – now 35.8kWh instead of 24.2kWh.
The official range estimate is 186 miles, but Volkswagen says that a more realistic figure is 124 miles.
That should still be enough for most commutes, but anyone who heads out on to motorways and dual carriageways might see that figure drop quickly.
Performance figures are respectable at 134bhp, meaning you don’t have to pay a power penalty for going electric, and on the road that means you have no trouble keeping up with traffic or darting out into gaps.
What’s it like to drive?
Electric power is perfectly suited to a car like the Golf. With its refined interior and generally relaxing ambience, the silence of electric motoring enhances the experience.
In town, the punch of the electric motor is welcome and makes crawling in traffic a breeze.
It’s not quite as good out on country roads, thanks largely to the low-grip eco tyres – great for economy but not for having fun on a twisty B-road.
However, the e-Golf’s at its best in town, and if you keep it there you’ll be one of the most relaxed motorists in traffic.
How does it look?
It looks just like any other Golf, which is great for those who want green credentials but don’t want to shout about it – many other eco cars, such as the Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius – come with extrovert, oddball styling so everyone knows you’re driving something a bit different.
However, if you like the look of the run-of-the-mill Golf, that’s pretty much what you get here.
The only design features to look out for are a blue trim line on the outside and some blue trim bits inside.
There’s also subtly different front and rear bumpers, and updated C-shaped daytime running lights.
What’s it like inside?
It’s very Volkswagen inside. The German car manufacturer has grown a reputation for building high quality – if a little dull – interiors, and that’s continued in the e-Golf. It’s welcome, as often electric cars go for a minimalist approach in the name of range-extending weight savings, which can end up making cars feel a bit cheap. Not so in the Golf.
What’s the spec like?
Because electric cars are still a relatively new technology, they’re pretty pricey, so car manufacturers make that higher cost more palatable by adding extra kit. The e-Golf is no different, with a 9.2-inch touchscreen with in-built satellite navigation and gesture control, various driver assistance systems and a connected smartphone app called Car-Net.
At £27,690 after the government’s plug-in car grant, you could get a Golf GTI for near-enough the same money. However, the savings will be massive when it comes to running costs.
As with all electric cars, whether the e-Golf is a practical choice for everyday use will require some forethought, but with its 126-mile ‘real-world’ range, most will find it fits their lifestyle.
However, where the e-Golf really shines is in the fact that it blends into the crowd and offers the kind of solid build quality that’s often missing in the EV market.
The fact it’s just a Golf with an electric motor is a big compliment.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Model: Volkswagen e-Golf
Price: From £31,215
Engine: 35.8 kWh 323 V lithium-ion
Power (bhp): 134
Torque (Nm): 214
Max speed (mph): 85
0-60mph: 9.6 seconds
Charge time: 4-5 hours at 6.6kW
Range (NEDC): 125 miles
Emissions (g/km): 0