Volkswagen started its electric revolution quite early with electric versions of its Up! city car and the Golf hatchback, both of which slowly appealed to more and more buyers wanting to make the switch to electric.
While the e-Golf is not quite as practical as the conventional model it’s based on, it remains a spacious family model.
Volkswagen updated the e-Golf in 2017 with a larger lithium-ion battery, which helped to allow for an improved electric range of 144 miles. Going on sale at a similar time to the facelifted standard Golf, the model boasts an improved touchscreen, an optional digital cockpit and the inclusion of further safety technologies – such as autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.
The update saw the e-Golf receiving a larger battery pack, which has a capacity of 35.8kWh – an increase of 11.6kWh next to the previous car. It's noticeably less than newer models – such as the Nissan Leaf 2.Zero and Hyundai Kona Electric – but it’s enough to produce a real-world electric range of 144 miles.
The lithium-ion battery pack is paired to an electric motor producing 134bhp and an impressive 290Nm of torque. At slow speeds, the electric motor’s torque allows for zippy performance, with the model able to accelerate from 0-60mph in 9.4 seconds and a top speed of 93mph.
Because of the seamless delivery of the power, though, it feels quicker than those power figures suggest.
Ride and handling
The e-Golf, as with many EVs, feels best when it’s around town where the powertrain comes into its own. The adaptive cruise control also makes driving in stop and start traffic truly effortless. The lack of gearbox to content with in electric cars also results in a very smooth driving experience.
It’s only if you drive in a spirited fashion that you notice it’s not quite as sharp as the standard Golf. The additional weight of those batteries makes the e-Golf quite a heavy model, and it can feel it when cornering. The ride has also had to be stiffened to cope with the extra bulk, which means it doesn’t quite have the same plush ride as the standard German hatchback. That said, Volkswagen has done an excellent job of limiting the effects of that extra weight.See Available Golf deals
Interior and equipment
The interior of Volkswagen models is always an area where the German manufacturer’s cars stand out above the rest, and the e-Golf is no different.
With the model sitting near the top of the Golf line-up, it benefits from a large 9.2-inch touchscreen that helps to give the cabin a modern feel. To make the interior feel even more advanced, there’s an option for a fully digital and configurable 12.3-inch digital cockpit system, too. The interior quality is excellent, too, with plenty of leather and soft-touch plastics dotted throughout the cabin.
The only real clues on the inside that you’re not in a standard Golf is the lashings of blue that are subtly integrated throughout – a nice touch, in our eyes. Boot space is slightly down on the standard Golf, but other than that, it feels just as practical as the normal car.
There’s no option of trims with the e-Golf – rather you just get one grade that comes with loads of kit, such as LED headlights, a 9.2-inch touchscreen and climate control. Standard safety equipment is also very impressive, with the model coming with autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and a driver attention monitoring system to name but a few safety features.
The e-Golf is quite an expensive model, with prices starting from £33,840, although that doesn’t include the government’s £3,500 electric car grant, which drops the price to a more pleasing £30,340. Given the equipment on offer, it seems well priced.
There will also be big fuel savings to be had, with no more stops at the pumps needed, and instead just charging - whether it be on the go or at home. Alongside these savings, the model is also exempt from the London Congestion Charge, and as more cities look towards implementing emissions-based road charges, the e-Golf’s all-electric powertrain will mean it will avoid these charges.
Few electric cars feel quite as ‘normal’ as the e-Golf. Aside from its extra weight and slightly smaller boot, it feels just as good as the hugely accomplished standard Volkswagen Golf.
While rivals might have longer ranges, few can compete with the smoothness, desirability and outstanding interior offered with the e-Golf.