2017 Volkswagen e-Golf Review

e-Golf

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2017 Volkswagen e-Golf Overview

Now in its third year, the e-Golf is Volkswagen’s first and only all-electric vehicle (EV) sold in North America. The e-Golf is similar in look and feel to the regular Golf hatchback, which has been an industry favorite for decades, and it competes against other EVs like the Ford Focus Electric, BMW i3, and Nissan Leaf. Although sales of the e-Golf are still limited, the 2017 model boasts two trims (SE and SEL Premium), updates to the powertrain, and a significantly increased driving range. It’s also built in Germany rather than at VW’s plant in Mexico, where many of its other vehicles (including the regular Golf) are assembled. Pricing for the 2017 e-Golf starts at around $30,000, right in line with both the Focus Electric and the Leaf.

In keeping with its competitors, many of whom now offer a driving range of over 100 miles, the 2017 e-Golf has also gotten a boost in capacity, jumping from 83 to 124 miles on a single charge. A new 35.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack powers an upgraded electric motor, which produces 100 kilowatts (134 hp) and 214 lb-ft of torque to drive the front wheels. The 2017 e-Golf comes standard with a 7.2-kilowatt charger, with an available DC fast-charging port that can charge the batteries to 80-percent capacity in an hour.

Because the e-Golf is largely identical to the standard gasoline Golf, it drives similarly—and most will consider that a good thing. Volkswagen has tweaked the e-Golf’s suspension to compensate for the hefty batteries, and its low center of gravity translates to flat, confident cornering. Electric motors produce their peak torque right off the bat instead of on acceleration, which makes the e-Golf ideal for short spurts of passing in traffic but somewhat disappointing at highway speeds.

The 2017 e-Golf’s exterior features the same new LED headlights, updated bumpers, and front fenders as the European-market Golf. Its interior, however, remains nearly identical to that of the regular U.S.-market Golf. The standard in-dash touchscreen display measures 6.5 inches in the base SE trim and 8.0 in the SEL Premium trim, and it comes equipped with Volkswagen’s Car-Net App-Connect system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. New options for 2017 include a Digital Cockpit system, which adds a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, and a Discover Pro infotainment system with an upgraded 9.2-inch screen. Rear seating is spacious, and the e-Golf offers all the practicality of a standard hatchback—its 17 cubic feet of trunk space, however, do fall short of the Leaf’s 24 cubic feet.

The e-Golf has not been crash tested, but the 2017 Golf earned Top Safety Pick+ status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and a 5-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The e-Golf comes equipped with standard safety features like anti-lock brakes (ABS) and side-curtain airbags. A Driver Assistance package is available for the SEL Premium trim and adds adaptive cruise control, parking assist, blind-spot monitoring, and forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection.

Updated

Andrew Newton first got into cars through vintage racing a Formula Vee. After receiving history degrees, he followed his passion for cars and became a contributor for sites like Sports Car Digest, BoldRide.com and JamesEdition.com in addition to serving as Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. Andrew currently covers the collector car market full time as Auction Editor for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.

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