2017 VOLKSWAGEN E-GOLF REVIEW ON EDMUNDS.COM

Although some shoppers like that electric cars are different from the norm, many others don’t want to deal with anything out of the ordinary. Something more normal would be better. Well, the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf is about as normal as you can get.

Other than the different wheels and the lack of a tailpipe, you might as well be looking at any other VW Golf from the outside. On the inside, the e-Golf has the same high-quality, user-friendly cabin with comfortable seats and a roomy back seat. The cargo area is even the same. And, yes, even the shifter is the same. There’s no confusing or potentially dangerous newfangled thingy included only for the sake of being different.

Of course, once underway, the e-Golf is quite different from any other Golf. For starters, it’s very quiet since its electric motor doesn’t make nearly as much noise as the Golf’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Acceleration is also smoother (no gears to work through), and the four-mode regenerative braking system pretty much allows you to drive with hardly ever using the brake pedal.

Now, the e-Golf isn’t quite as fast as the regular Golf or even some other EVs, such as the BMW i3, Chevrolet Bolt or Hyundai Ioniq Electric. Its driving range of 125 miles is also middle of the pack. Overall, though, the 2017 VW e-Golf is one of the more appealing electric vehicles available. Anyone looking to ditch gasoline would be wise to check it out.

what’s new

A new lithium-ion battery for 2017 yields a higher energy capacity and, therefore, a significant bump in driving range, from 83 miles to 125 miles. An upgraded electric motor also increases horsepower and torque. A 7.2-kW onboard charger is now standard, enabling six-hour charging times when using a 240-volt charging station. Finally, there are some extra standard features and a new Limited Edition trim level, and the 2017 e-Golf gets the same updated styling as the regular 2018 Golf.

we recommend

It’s a hefty price jump from the base SE to the SEL Premium, and beyond the LED headlights and faux leather upholstery (a commendable leather simulation), it’s hard to see what you’re paying for given that the upper trims’ DC fast-charging system is a stand-alone option on the base model. Sure, we’d recommend leasing an e-Golf, but in any case, we’d still stick with the base SE.

trim levels & features

The 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf is the electric version of the regular Golf hatchback. It comes with a 35.8-kWh battery pack and a 115-horsepower electric motor that results in an EPA-estimated driving range of 125 miles. The three trim levels are: SELimited Edition and SEL Premium.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our initial drive of the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium (battery electric | 1-speed direct drive | FWD) and our previous full test of a 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium.

NOTE: While the 2016 e-Golf lacks this year’s range and power upgrades, our observations from that model remain broadly applicable.

driving

Sure, it’s not going to win any drag races. But the e-Golf still handles, steers and brakes with the same deftness of any other Golf. And its EV powertrain eliminates any gripes we had with the regular Golf’s automatic transmission.

comfort

It does just about everything right. The great seats and a well-sorted chassis combine to produce a steady ride that isn’t overly couchlike. And the silence of the all-electric powertrain is hard to beat.

interior

The e-Golf’s interior is every bit as functional as any other Golf’s. VW wisely avoided the temptation to make the controls different just because it’s an EV. The batteries don’t intrude one bit, so interior space and cargo room are just as excellent as they are in gasoline-powered Golfs.

utility

Unlike other gas vehicles adapted to EVs, the e-Golf doesn’t lose any of its cargo capacity. It’s exactly the same as that of the versatile regular Golf. That said, interior storage is unremarkable, and the cargo area isn’t as useful as a Hyundai Ioniq Electric’s.

technology

The standard 8-inch touchscreen isn’t the most user-friendly interface, but it has all the features you’ll want. The upgrade system isn’t much better. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. Advanced driving and safety aids are only optional on the top trim.