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CAR REVIEW: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

What if I told you could take the kids to school in the morning, head to the office, go out for lunch, come home, five times a week, head to cottage country on the weekends and never have to worry about fuel, or range? Don’t think an electric car can do it today?

2017 Volkswagen eGolf

In fact, if you plug your new VW e-Golf to a 240 V home charger overnight every night, you’ll get at least 200 km of driving on a full charge. For the vast majority of us, this range meets and exceed our daily driving needs. Not convinced? I understand. The reality is that with a reasonable right foot, even I was able to manage more than 250 km of indicated range.

This e-Golf, like the Hyundai Ioniq, Chevy Bolt and Nissan LEAF, has finally made me realize that the inevitable future will be a very good one. That is, on one condition: I get to keep my old petrol-burning clunkers. In fact, the Wife and I have agreed that our next new car purchase (sometime in 2019) will be of the EV kind. My only request is that it sports AWD. Does that mean Tesla, or will another manufacturer step up to the plate?

Styling inside/out

I realize my slight bias for the e-Golf when I think to the Ford Focus EV and how I criticized it for being boring and bland – in other words, it looks like every other Focus. If you didn’t know that the Golf in the gallery was an “e”, you’d have thought it was a regular Golf with ugly wheels…

The physical differences between the two Golf realities are “C” shaped LEDs up front, the blue accent line that crosses both headlights and grille and the wheels. The other knock-out difference is the choice of 30 special exterior colours. My tester was draped in Peacock Blue and to my surprise, it drew positive comments from all save for one person. A pair of young women actually called out to me about the Golf’s shade. At first, I thought they were saying I was beautiful and original…

With the exception of the multifunction colour trip computer and optional VW digital cockpit (available only with the Golf R), the e-Golf’s cabin is all Golf. The dashboard’s clear and functional, in the typical VW way.

Comfort/space

There are no penalties space-wise with the e-Golf, unlike the Ford Focus EV. The batteries are in the center tunnel just ahead of the rear axle and below the rear seats. The trunk thus offers over 600 liters of volume and there’s plenty of room for four adults, or three kids abreast on the rear bench.

2017 Volkswagen eGolf

The front seats are comfortable and adjustable in many ways including manual lumbar. The rear bench is fine for most, even for a long road trip. Head- and legroom are generous for all. A good number of storage spots also help to keep passengers and their phones/keys/wires organized.

Value/equipment

The compact EV segment is far from being crowded and as such, competition for your monies is fierce. Most sport a starting price in the low to mid $30k before incentives. The e-Golf lands smack in the middle with it $35,995 sticker price. There are a few option packages (Technology, Leatherette, Technology + Driver Assistance) and as you might have guessed, my tester’s got the latter two for a grand total of $40,965.

To keep it simple, at this price, the 2017 VW eGolf is more than loaded with only one feature missing in action: a heated steering wheel. The car does include heated seats and windshield, driving modes, a 9.2″ touchscreen with navigation and satellite radio, Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, advanced driving assist systems and a wireless hotspot.

Powertrain/handling

Thanks to Volkswagen’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) flexible architecture, the e-Golf’s chassis setup is no different than a regular Golf’s. The ride quality impresses due to its suppleness and the suspension’s ability to smooth out even the roughest of road surfaces.

2017 Volkswagen eGolf

As for handling, the e-Golf is once more all VW save for the low-rolling resistance tires which break easily with grip under sharp cornering, or under heavy acceleration. The 100kW engine along with the 35.8 kWh battery pack combine for an equivalent 134 horsepower and 214 lb.-ft. of torque. Like all EVs, the e-Golf’s twisting power is 100% on from “idle” meaning brisk tire-squealing acceleration.

What I found especially fun was the motor’s “mid-range” punch. From 1/3 to 2/3’s throttle, the power really feels strong. This is ideal for passing on busy boulevards and at moderate highway speeds. Again, like all EVs, the e-Golf feels most at home in an urban setting. Range suffers little despite distance thanks to regenerative braking. On that topic, the Volkswagen proposes multiple brake-regen levels by moving the shifter to the left or right, or by simply pulling back on it. This. Is. Brilliant.

On the highway, range takes a beating at any speed above 100 km/h. Regen-braking can be set to “off” to allow coasting to maintain speed as long as possible without applying throttle. The VW e-Golf really leaves it up to you to completely manage your reserves. One morning, the indicated range was 253km while the next, following a full charge, was 199km. One way or another, the official NRCAN rating is of 201km.

Pricing for the new 2018 Nissan LEAF is not available as I write these words however I’d be surprised if it was far greater than that of the e-Golf. Rumors say that its range is not as big as it should be so essentially, it too will land in the $33k-$38k zone with the others. For the moment, the e-Golf is by far the best overall car. If you’ve got more coin, in the $43k+ range, the Chevrolet Bolt’s got my vote.

What if I told you could take the kids to school in the morning, head to the office, go out for lunch, come home, five times a week, head to cottage country on the weekends and never have to worry about fuel, or range? Don’t think an electric car can do it today? In fact, …

Review Overview

Comfort - 90%
Performance - 90%
Interior Space - 85%
Exterior Design - 90%
Interior Design - 90%
Fuel Economy - 90%

89%

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