Driving the hybrid Volkswagen Golf GTE

Volkswagen finally makes a hybrid, but will it electrify you?

The Pitch

The Golf GTE is Volkswagen’s first – ha-ha! – charge into hybrid driving, a short 18 years after Toyota’s Prius first apologised onto our streets. They’re late to the party, certainly, but with a compelling sell.

The GTE pairs an 8.8kWh lithium-ion battery powering a 102PS electric motor (bolted cleverly inside the gearbox housing) with a 1.4-litre, 150PS TSI direct-injection petrol engine. Together this somehow adds up to a combined power of 204PS – hmmm – and a theoretical range of 580 miles.

The Battery

Giving a relatively titchy range of 31miles, the battery is charged via a nubbin under the front badge and should take around 3.75 hours from a domestic mains outlet, or 2.25 hours from a bespoke wall box. And here’s the big ticket number: 166. Volkswagen claims a combined cycle figure of 166mpg, while CO2 emissions should be zero in all-electric mode and 39g/km all round, so it’s expected to be exempt from VED and the Congestion Charge.

VW is desperate to position this in the same bracket as its GTi hot hatch. Hence the G and T up front. Indeed, they’re so serious about its GTi credentials they’ve even tailored the seat cloth with the brand’s iconic tartan bum-fondlers. Only in blue. Because blue’s “electric”, right?

This really is the best of all worlds: an electric runabout that’ll whizz you silently and cheaply to work – if you work reasonably nearby – while also an immensely fun hot hatch a spit off GTi performance when you marry the two engines. Wrapped in VW comfort, design skills and build quality. If the complicated engineering combination boasts VW’s legendary reliability, this is an enormously compelling vehicle.

Plus, with a £5k government electric vehicle rebate it’s £4,435 cheaper than a GTi. We know which one we’d rather have.

Read more: T3

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