Electric is the future, and this is a great place to start
Electric vehicles – or EVs –have become more and more prevalent over the past few years with many car manufacturers jumping into the category. Cars, in general, serve many purposes, but most people need their vehicles specifically to get them to work and back each day. Driving to work everyday can be a grind in the best conditions. Shouldn’t you be able to have fun and drive a vehicle that is economical?
Volkswagen introduced the new eGolf last year as a part of the company’s plan to expand their line of EVs, which will include a modern version of the MiniBus. Part of the drive is due to recent regulations passed in many European countries that will soon prioritize electric vehicles and even outlaw gas engines in some places. EVs are clearly the future.
But for today, the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf is a great choice for cost-conscious drivers who don’t want to skimp on features. The car drives very smoothly, has great VW-style handling and no lack of power, which many drivers expect in EVs; it has plenty of acceleration. Driving this EV was a joy, in part because of the 134 horsepower engine –increased from 115 in the last model– and 214 lb/ft of torque also up from 199 lb/ft from the prior model. But the big news is the battery range, which is 125 miles, improved from the prior model’s 75 mile range. All this gives you plenty of get-up-and-go while not using any gas. You also get a roomy and practical hatchback with great features and can qualify for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits as well as state tax credits with a purchase. What more could you ask for?
Who This Car is For
- Commuters who drive less than 125 miles daily
- Buyers who have ready access to charging, especially level 2 or higher
- Buyers who are interested in going electric
- Buyers who need flexible cabin and cargo space
- Drivers who care about value and want the most for their money
- Drivers who want a car that is fun to drive every day
- Buyers who can benefit from the federal and state EV tax credits
What This Car Costs
- SE trim starts at $30,495
- Limited trim $33,795
- SEL Premium trim starts at $36,995
125 Miles of Electric Range Means Drive All Day, Charge at Night
The 2017 e-Golf’s best trick is that it gets 125 miles of range out of a lithium-ion battery pack that has the same number of cells and weighs the same as the last e-Golf model, but with nearly double the storage capacity. VW did this by optimizing the battery, the holy-grail of electric cars. Unfortunately since this is a hardware upgrade not simply a software upgrade, VW does not have plans to upgrade older e-Golfs.
Who Says Practical Has To Be Boring?
Driving the e-Golf was a joy, in part because of the new MQB architecture, which is a modular design matrix that is the foundation of VW’s design. This means the e-Golf is roomy and practical hatchback similar to VW’s other models, and like them, fun to drive, too. One thing we loved is the amount of space and the flat floor in the back seat. It was the perfect place to put my handbag and it didn’t fall over!
VW offers the e-Golf in three trim levels: the base SE model, the loaded SEL Premium, and a Limited Edition model which offers some of the SEL Premium features.
Enjoy Lunch & Shopping While The VW e-Golf Charges
The 7.2-kW onboard charger is standard on all three models, meaning a common Level 2 240-volt charger will recharge the car in less than six hours. While that sounds like a long time for a refill, it’s fine for most situations; if you only have 30 miles to travel, recharging to that level is all you need. And if you charge at home at night, you not only can fully charge the car each day, but most likely will benefit from lower power rates at night.
And DC fast charging, which is an option on the SE but standard on SEL Premium and Limited Edition models, can recharge the battery to 80 percent in an hour.
One Pedal Driving: This Might Be the Top Reason to Go Electric
It’s this simple: lift your foot off the accelerator and the car starts to slow, right? EVs take this to another level; you can put it in B mode and engage greater regenerative braking. The car slows significantly when you lift off the accelerator because the car is putting all that power back into the battery! So you can actually gain back miles from regenerative braking. Imagine leaving home in the morning, driving 100 miles and still having 40 miles left on the battery. With some skillful management of your driving, it can happen.
Quiet Inside, Quick Outside
Don’t let the e-Golf’s silence fool you; it’s quick and agile. But still, silent, which can be a challenge on the road. You don’t want to hear trucks and other cars roaring down the highway, and you don’t want to hear wind whipping through the car. The e-Golf is nicely insulated to keep noise out so conversation is comfortable.
And at low speeds and in reverse, when the e-Golf might encounter pedestrians or bicyclists, it makes a hum to let people know of its presence.
Tons of Safety Features To Keep You Safe
We love this: Many of the active safety tech features in the e-Golf are standard, such as brake force distribution and stability control. But one new features is automatic post-crash braking. This means that in the event of a crash the e-Golf will actually apply the brakes afterward to keep you from further danger.
Also, buyers can opt for the Driver Assist package ($1,395) which adds lane departure assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitors, park steering assist semi-autonomous parking and VW’s very popular digital cockpit driver information cluster.
Tech for the Techie in Us All
The e-Golf also got an upgrade in the touch screen, which is now an 8.0-inch screen, and the Digital Cockpit is a 12.3-inch instrument cluster. The infotainment system was easy to use, easy to customize and configure. Plus, the steering wheel controls made it easy to control the things you need while driving.
What we loved:
- 8” touch screen
- One pedal driving
- Heated and cooled front seats
- Steering wheel controls
- Plenty of trunk space for your stuff
- Blind spot and lane detection systems
What you should know:
- Battery range is listed at 125 miles, but it’s possible to do better
- We easily connected multiple phones to Bluetooth
- This car is perfect for those who need to drive under 100 miles daily and easily have access to a charge station
- Seating options are available for 4 or 5 passengers and the back seat is roomy
The 2017 VW e-Golf is fun to drive, safe and economical. The ride, the features, the large touch screen, the safety features all remind us that driving environmentally friendly doesn’t have to be boring.
Disclosure: The e-Golf was provided for this review; all opinions are my own.