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The Top Gear car review:Volkswagen e-Golf
For:Feels like a Golf, drives like one too
Against:Useless if you're regularly commuting from Penzance to Portsmouth
e-Golf 5dr Auto
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What we say:
Volkswagen's take on the all-electric family car is, as you'd expect, an extremely convincing one
What is it?
The first-ever Golf to entirely do away with that old-school notion of an internal combustion engine. The e-Golf is propelled solely by an electric motor sending 114bhp to the front wheels, fed by a 24.2kW lithium ion battery tucked down between the axles. Apart from that, this is very much a Golf, underpinned by the familiar MQB bits underneath.
On paper, the e-Golf doesn’t sound especially fast. 0-62mph takes more than 10 seconds, with top speed a decidedly sedate 87mph. However, in real-world driving, the e-Golf feels not only faster than those figures would suggest, but fast full-stop. There’s a fabulous slug of torque available from standstill, giving the e-Golf a proper kick away from the lights. There’s so much twist on tap, in fact, that it’ll even spin its wheels if you get too lairy on the accelerator. And, with throttle response five times faster than that of a conventional petrol engine, the eGolf has seriously pokey responses. It’s not quite driving as we know it, but rather lovely all the same.
Dial the regenerative braking up to max, and the e-Golf will haul you to a pretty rapid standstill as soon as you lift off the throttle, meaning you virtually never need actually hit the brake pedal. If that’s too weirdyfuture for you, you can crank back the effect of the regen braking, at which point the e-Golf feels like, well… just another Golf: refined, solid, nice to steer.
On the inside
It’s a Golf. Space for a battery pack was engineered into the MQB architecture from the very start – indeed, electric Golfs roll down the same production line as their petrol and diesel counterparts – so no compromise was needed when packaging the e-Golf’s electric gubbins. With the 318kg battery lurking effectively under the passengers’ feet, legroom is identical to that of every other Golf. And, of course, all the nav/music goodies are as we’ve come to expect from the slickest family hatch out there.
VW quotes a range of 118 miles on a single charge, claiming the e-Golf is around 30 per cent more energy efficient than competitors such as the Nissan Leaf, but as ever with EVs it depends how you drive. Exercise reasonable right-foot restraint and you’ll achieve around 100 miles on a charge, which, with the right energy tariff, should cost you 5p per mile. The e-Golf can be 80 per cent fast-charged in just 30 minutes, but you’ll need 13 hours or so to brim the battery at home. The list price says £30k but the Government grant takes £5k off that, making it look like a bit of a bargain to buy, particularly when it’s so well equipped as standard. If an electric car fits your lifestyle, this is one of the best out there.