Motor Trend gave the VW e-Golf electric car its highly coveted Car of the Year award this year. Just about every other major automotive publication has raved about the new e-Golf as well, but—in the real world—is it really that good? Volkswagen gave me the keys to a blue e-Golf for a week and let’s just say that I loved it so much that I didn’t want to give it back. Read on to find out why.
The Volkswagen Golf has always been one of the more sportier offerings in the compact segment and for the 2015 model year, VW completely reworked the new Golf. The 2015 Golf also sees the introduction of the first electrified version. In a segment that continues to gain strength, the e-Golf faces competition from established competitors, like the Nissan Leaf and newer models like the Kia Soul EV, but how does it stand out? By feeling and driving almost exactly like its fossil fuel powered siblings.
When VW started work on the new Golf, it set out to make sure that the new Golf would be able to handle a variety of powertrains from the traditional gasoline and diesel four-cylinder engines to a fully electric powertrain and even a yet to be released plug-in hybrid. Unlike some other electric and hybrid cars that have compromises in interior volume, due to the added batteries, the e-Golf’s interior is identical to the other Golf models. It’s just as comfortable and spacious, which will trick anyone into thinking that it’s a conventional car, until you hit the start button.
The e-Golf is powered by a 117 horsepower electric motor with 199 lb-ft. of torque. Although 117 horsepower doesn’t sound like much, consider the fact that you have almost 200 lb-ft. of torque that’s instantly available and you’ll understand why the e-Golf is so much fun to drive. Accelerating from a stop light is so smooth and the silent electric motor makes you feel like you’re driving in a car that costs thousands more. There are also three different driving modes and three regenerative brake modes that you can set. I mostly drove with it either in the Normal or Eco modes, since the Eco+ mode, which will give you the most range, also turns most of the available power off to save the battery.
Speaking of the battery, the e-Golf has a driving range around 83 miles between charges. The car does come standard with a DC Fast Charger which allows the battery to be recharged up to 80 percent in only 30 minutes. Luckily there is a DC Fast Charger near my office, so I had no problems with my 32-mile daily commute.
Towards the end of my week with the e-Golf I asked VW if it was possible to extend the review, since I was so impressed with the e-Golf. That is something that I rarely do. The e-Golf was just so easy to live with and a joy to drive. VW’s first electric car in the U.S. deserves every accolade it’s received. Pricing for the e-Golf starts at $33,450 before any federal or state tax credits are applied.
Images © Marc Carter for Inhabitat and Volkswagen