In-depth reviews

Volkswagen e-Golf (2014-2019) review

The Volkswagen e-Golf offers all the practicality of Volkswagen's five-door hatchback and is almost as good to drive, too

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Great to drive
  • Super-low company-car tax
  • Looks like a mainstream Golf

Cons

  • Relatively expensive to buy
  • Shorter range than key rivals
  • Smaller boot than a regular Golf
Car typeOfficial rangeWallbox charge timeFast charge time
Electric144 miles5hrs 15mins (7.4kW, 0-100%)36mins (50kW, 10-80%)

The Volkswagen e-Golf was the car giant's first all-electric family hatchback, launched in 2014 and on sale for five years. It's practical, fun to drive and gave early adopters a zero-emissions alternative, years before the Volkswagen ID.3 arrived. 

Unlike the ID.3 that was designed with a clean sheet of paper, the e-Golf is closely linked to other Mark 7 Golfs, but with an electric motor under the bonnet, and a battery pack beneath the boot. It has a relatively short range of up to 144 miles (around 130 miles in most conditions), making it similar to the MINI Electric and Honda e in this regard. This falls a bit short of the 168-mile of the Nissan Leaf, and long-range versions of the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro can travel much further on a single charge.

The e-Golf is fitted with a 134bhp electric motor, driving the front wheels via a single-speed transmission. It's supplied by a 35.8kWh battery, which is smaller than some other EVs, because it had to be squeezed into a car originally designed for petrol and diesel engines. The fact the e-Golf looks just like any other Golf is a draw for some buyers, though, with the only unique features being a blanked-off grille, aerodynamic alloy wheels and blue accents around some trim and the VW logo.

Charging can be taken care of using a domestic supply, with a full charge from empty taking just over five hours using a wallbox at home. However, most owners will only be topping up a partially used battery overnight, so returning to maximum charge will be much quicker than that. Use one of the ever-growing network of public chargers and you can get back to 80% capacity in just over 30 minutes.

The e-Golf carries around a heavy battery, and that means noticeable extra weight to lug around. This blunts the agility and poise of the standard Golf chassis a fraction, but not enough to take all the fun out of driving it – in fact, the e-Golf remains one of the best pure-electric cars to drive given its direct handling and relaxed ride comfort. The e-Golf also feels quite happy and unstrained at normal motorway speeds.

There’s only one trim level but the equipment levels helped to justify the e-Golf’s price. Standard kit included a Discover Pro navigation system with gesture control and a 9.3-inch infotainment touchscreen. Adaptive cruise control, LED headlamps and Car-Net App-Connect smartphone connectivity are also included.

From the driving seat or any of the passenger seats, the e-Golf experience is remarkably similar to any other model in the line-up. You get the same dashboard layout and interior trim, identical interior space and the freedom to choose many of the same optional extras. Boot space is reduced a little by the underfloor batteries, but still offers a reasonable amount of room.

With typical Volkswagen build quality and a comprehensive safety package built in, the e-Golf is one of the most reassuring and easily accessible ways to get into electric motoring – for those who can afford the purchase price, anyway. It makes a lot of sense for families with a daily school run and for city-based business users, although by its very nature, the electric Golf does have a more conservative feel than its BMW i3 rival. For a more detailed look at the Volkswagen e-Golf, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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