VW e-Golf 2017 First Drive

The e-Golf has long been a very good EV in terms of driving experience, but it has significantly lacked the range to truly compete with the big players in the electric car market.

It started out with a below average electric range, and almost all of its rivals have upped their game since the e-Golf’s launch. Now though it’s Volkswagen’s turn to bring out an improved model. NGC went to the car’s launch in Majorca to try out the new VW e-Golf.

What’s new

Volkswagen has given its entire Golf line-up a refresh, with sharper styling front and rear, and improved equipment levels inside. The e-Golf is no different and benefits from these changes, though more importantly, the all-electric model has also had more done to it than any other Golf.

On top of the Golf line-up’s updates, the e-Golf also now benefits from a more powerful electric motor and significantly larger battery capacity. The upshot is a slightly more stylish car, with more tech and improved value for money; and an EV with around 50% more range and a little extra performance to go with it. That means an increase in battery capacity from 24.2 kWh to 35.8 kWh, and power jumps from 85 kW (115 hp) to 100 kW (136 hp). It all sounds great on paper, but how does it come together on the road?

What’s it like to drive

Something that was a positive with the first-generation e-Golf for some was that it was similar to a ‘normal Golf’. Unlike rivals such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3, VW didn’t create a new and edgier car, but used it’s tried, tested, and very popular Golf as a foundation. Climbing from a conventional petrol or diesel Golf and into an e-Golf sees very few changes presented to the driver, instantly putting many at ease behind the wheel.

From there, the driving experience does change but actually becomes easier in many respects. The instant torque from the electric motor, the single gear transmission, and regenerative braking create a very digital driving experience, and one that is both enjoyable and convenient. An EV’s most natural habitat is in built up areas, with the low speeds and stop-start traffic minimising the restrictions of the relatively limited range of an EV compared to a conventionally powered car. Here the e-Golf excels, helped by the low centre of gravity created by the battery pack being placed in the car’s floor. It’s nimble, very nippy in short bursts of acceleration, and fun to drive.

Read more: Next Green Car


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