Some say Volkswagen e-Golf is much easier to drive than BMW’s i3. Still e-Golf offers much smoother driving with a 9 out of 10 driving score, summarizing that it is an ideal alternative to the i3 that has more precision at a lower price.
New battery, new details
For 2017, Volkswagen swapped out its 24.2-kWh battery pack in favor of one with nearly half again more energy capacity, 35.8 kWh, giving the electric VW a commensurate boost in EPA-rated range—to 125 miles from only 83 before.
The 2017 e-Golf also received the modest facelift (new headlights, taillights, and slightly modified styling, along with a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen and new infotainment system) that’s making its way to the rest of the Golf lineup for 2018.
The e-Golf’s range now puts it ahead of the Fiat 500e (84 miles), the Kia Soul EV (111 miles), and the Ford Focus Electric (115 miles) while effectively tying the Hyundai Ioniq Electric (124 miles). However, it falls short of the redesigned Nissan Leaf (150 miles) and the Chevrolet Bolt EV (238 miles), although the latter is significantly more expensive.
Recharge time; it’s available onboard DC fast charger enables one to fully refuel with electrons in as little as four hours, although it requires a 240-volt source of juice to do so, and wiring such a charging dock into your home brings additional expense. The DC fast charger is a $995 option on the base SE ($31,345) and standard on the SEL Premium ($37,845). The SEL also can be upgraded with a Driver Assistance package ($1395), which includes adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring, among other items.
The e-Golf also got a more powerful motor for 2017, with 134 horsepower (up from 115) and 214 lb-ft of torque (versus 199). At the track, the additional thrust manifested itself in brisker acceleration: The sprint to 60 mph took 8.5 seconds, down from 9.4; surging from 50 to 70 mph took 5.4 seconds.
The e-Golf offers three driving modes: Normal (the default), Eco, and Eco+. The thriftiest mode comes with a warning: “Convenience functions and vehicle performance very limited.” In any mode, one can slap the gearshift to the left once, twice, or three times in a user-friendly and intuitive way to access increasing levels of regenerative braking.
e-Golf remains same basic shape of VW to carve out a roomy interior for four (five is a squeeze) and a large, practical luggage compartment within a compact, urban-friendly overall package. The e-Golf also doesn’t lose any cargo capacity compared with the regular model. The classy interior has been upgraded with a large, easy-to-use touchscreen that’s standard on all models. The SEL can be further fancified with an Audi-like, screen-based instrument cluster, part of the aforementioned Driver Assistance package.