Here’s Why The Volkswagen e-Golf Is The Best EV You Can Buy At The Moment

By December 28, 2017Volkswagen
2018 Volkswagen E-Golf

I know, that’s a big claim, but stay with me on this one. Sure, everyone’s going crazy over Tesla. And many will argue that for roughly the same price as an e-Golf, or any other electric version of a normal car, you could get a Nissan Leaf which will get you more range. But that’s not the point. Everyone’s caught up with range these days. The 2018 Volkswagen e-Golf isn’t cool because it’s fast, range-plenty or particularly more innovative than other EV’s out there. It’s not. The e-Golf is the best EV you can buy because it’s a Golf. Plain and simple. And the Golf is the best possible automobile in which you can shove an electric motor.

The Understated Peacock

2018 Volkswagen E-Golf

When I first laid eyes on this e-Golf, painted in its shade of Peacock Green Metallic – yes that’s actually the name of the paint job – I thought this was some kind of joke from Volkswagen. I mean, we’re all aware of what the German titan has done to our environment over the past decade or so. I’ll avoid digging into the auto journo clichés of how bad and cynical diselgate was. Perhaps Hitler would have considered it an excellent business case. I can’t believe I just wrote that.2018 Volkswagen E-Golf

Anyway, gazing at the absurdly green German compact (I secretly love that green) which happens to conveniently burn no fuel at all, made me feel odd inside. There it was, sitting there, grinning at me with its cute little face felt as if Volkswagen was screaming “WE ARE SORRY” from the top of its lungs. Hey, VW, it’s fine, you can’t get more green than this. Will this car actually be any good? – I thought. Or is it here simply to apologize for one of the largest screw ups the automotive industry has ever witnessed?

It sure looks great! Then again, it’s a Golf, so of course it does. I’m happy VW didn’t make it look weird like other EV’s. The Leaf is fine as an electric car. But it also resembles a block of plastic that melted in a microwave oven. Except for a set of silly wheels, and yes, stupid LED everything on the front fascia – why do carmakers keep doing this with electric cars? – this is essentially the same Vdub your teenager rides around in.

I’ve said it before, and say it again, the Golf is a classless car. It transcends social prejudice. It’s as much at home in a college parking lot as it is sitting at the local country club next to set of BMW’s, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguars. Everyone loves and respects the Golf. Because it’s humble and smart. I like humble and smart.

Just Drive It Like A Golf!

2018 Volkswagen E-Golf

So, what exactly are we talking about here? Under the conventional Golf hood, which pops open the same way a conventional Golf hood would, sits a 134 horsepower permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor good for a lofty 214 lb-ft of torque. A T-shaped 35.8 kWh battery lies underneath the hatchback body. 2018 Volkswagen E-GolfTotal range is about 230 km, at least, that’s what I got with mine. It’s a bit less than a Leaf (241 km), but still much better than all other EV’s out there, except of course the Bolt and the overpriced Telsas. Acceleration from a standstill to 100 km/h is achieved in roughly eight seconds. It’s not fast, but quick enough. The only transmission available is a one-speed automatic, which, by moving the lever the same way you’d engage Sport mode in a GTI, offers up to three different levels of regenerative braking. Like I said: it’s smart.2018 Volkswagen E-GolfHow does it drive? Like a Golf! That’s where the e-Golf trumps its competition, it’s not a penalty box to drive. It works even for those wanting to drive their machine, not the other way around. The car is nimble, like a Golf ought to be. The steering reacts in utmost tactility. Ride and handling remains relatively unchanged, albeit slightly higher tire roll due to the low resistance tires. 2018 Volkswagen E-GolfBut the e-Golf is as much fun to drive as a GTI, and the performance, while not exactly brisk, isn’t soul sucking. There’s actual low-end torque when gunning that accelerator pedal. Acceleration is “spirited”. Turn in is sharp. And when activated to full blast, the regenerative braking isn’t only the best way to slow down a car, but also extends range a tad higher than the promised 230.2018 Volkswagen E-GolfInside, it’s business as usual. Again, it’s a Golf. Gauges are the same. There’s a cool blue lighting theme at night. And my tester was fitted with a beautiful beige interior, giving it a nice, premium look and feel overall. Battery range is presented where the gas gauge would normally be, which isn’t only genius, but also helps calm down range anxiety.

“How much range do we have left?”

“We’ve got half a tank left honey. We’re fine.”2018 Volkswagen E-GolfMy only caveat with the e-Golf’s cabin is that new touchscreen-operated infotainment system. There’s no volume knob. VW, haven’t you read the Honda Civic reviews? Instead, there’s an annoying virtual slider thing which not only proves useless when comes time to quickly shut that radio up during a drive-through, but also only responds when it wants to.2018 Volkswagen E-GolfBut except for that, there’s nothing wrong with the e-Golf’s cabin. It’s comfortable, roomy, well put together, and looks and feels like a million bucks; unlike the Chevy Bolt’s cabin which appears to have been made out of recycled milk cartons. Also, none of the Golf’s class-leading cargo space has been compromised (1,492 litres of total cargo) in favor of its electric heart. This is such a hard car to review…

Range Remains A Challenge

2018 Volkswagen E-Golf

In many ways then, the e-Golf is the best electric car you can get that’s not a Tesla. It’s also rather well priced. Starting at $36 355, it’s roughly one grand more than a boring Leaf. Factor in the $8,000 governmental rebate (in Québec) you’ll be getting upon purchasing your e-Golf, and it suddenly becomes a rather affordable and very cool little EV.2018 Volkswagen E-GolfThe only big issue at the moment, is range and charging times. If you dare charge this thing in a conventional 110 volt home plug, it’ll take you an entire day to get going. Connect it to a fast charging station, through the conventional Golf gas cap, and you’ll be full within one point five hour. That’s still long. And the car won’t bring you all that far. That being said, if right now, you can’t stand burning petrol and seek a fun to drive all electric little runabout, I don’t see why you should go out and buy any other EV. The 2018 Volkswagen e-Golf is absolutely brilliant.

Clavey's Verdict

Review of the 2018 Volkswagen e-Golf by William Clavey
Electric Cars

  • Looks and feels like a normal Golf.
  • Handles and drives like a normal Golf.
  • Attainable price tag.
  • Touch-operated volume controls.
  • Limited range.
  • Long charging times.

9.8 / 10

Clavey’s Corner is located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Prices and trim levels discussed in this article reflect the Canadian car market.

Special thanks: Volkswagen Canada

Photography: Guillaume Fournier-Viau

Join the Tribe

Contact the author: williamclavey@gmail.com

William Clavey

About William Clavey

Automotive journalist, writer, and apparently the Canadian contributor to some silly car website called Jalopnik.

12 Comments

  • Randy says:

    Just wondering if you had the opportunity to drive the E-Golf at highway speeds? Did it drive like a gas powered car at (for example) around 100 km/h ? For my commute this car would be perfect. I guess an additional expense for anyone with their own home buying their first EV they would need to install a charging station. I own a Golf wagon with the 2.5, it’s not great on gas, but it’s hard to fault it any other way. It’s got power and it’s quiet, but if I had to replace it, I’d certainly look at the E-Golf.

    • alby says:

      The magic of the e-Golf is it just handles and acts like a regular car except for the fact you have instant torque. There is zero lag between pushing on the pedal and the electric drive response when trying to merge on the highway. That being said this is car is meant for urban street driving. There you will realize the expected range. If you jump on the highway for 30 or minutes minutes, you’ll be charging more often. I gave up a Mazda 3 manual 5 speed to get this car, and honestly enjoy driving so much that I look for any opportunity to run errands for the family. With the M3 I was always concerned with trying to save gas, with the e-Golf it is no longer an issue. I can slow charge at home or what until I access a Level 2 charger. I have the SE model which does not come with the DC charger, but it does have knobs for the radio volume and tuning.

      William you should reply when someone leaves you a question.

      • Hey Alby,

        First, I’d like to apologize for not responding. I have not taken much care of my blog in almost a year, but as you can see I’m back and I promise to be here a lot more often answering comments and writing blogs.

        Anyway, thanks for answering Randy’s question (I also did). You’re right, highway driving is the same as a normal car, but it drains the battery faster, which is the case with all EV’s. There’s still work to do on the batteries to make them easier to live with.

    • Marcus says:

      We tested the e-Golf last september over a period of four days or so. It was simply great. It performed like any other Golf on all roads, but with the superiority that only an electric drive-train can offer. This car is very quiet, even compared to other electric cars. We have a Tesla Model S, and we were amazed (or should I say chocked) how much better the e-Golf is in so many aspects. No rattles, no noises, no glitches, no misalignments. Everything works as expected, the Golf is well-equipped and comes with a bunch of features that you simply cannot buy in a Tesla. There was absolutely nothing to complain about. Sure, the range is not that great compared to a Tesla or a Bolt, and there is no supercharger-like thing for the e-Golf. But at home, it charges about as fast as the Tesla does, and on road-trips, about 40kW DC is not that bad. The e-Golf is actually really energy-efficient. That means you don’t have to charge as many electrons to drive the same distance as a in a Leaf or a Tesla.
      We had no choice, we simply ordered a brand new e-Golf for my wife for her commute (100km per day). Expected delivery in a few weeks. 🙂

    • Hey Randy,

      First, I’d like to apologize for not responding. I have not taken much care of my blog in almost a year, but as you can see I’m back and I promise to be here a lot more often answering comments and writing blogs.

      If it isn’t too late to answer your question, I’ll say that yes, I drove the car on the highway. It drives like a normal car, but high speeds quickly drain the battery of all EV’s. That’s still a challenge for carmakers. As a commuter car, in town, the e-Golf is the perfect choice though.

  • Mike says:

    I have driven my 2015 eGolf SEL for just over 24,000 miles (North East USA) and am still in love with it…commute 3 days/week 45 miles each direction and could make the round trip if I had to…though range anxiety would likely peak on the trip home…Drive into work, will do 85 mph on the highway easily, but find the backroads trip just so much more enjoyable. Plug in to the 240 volt stations at work, fully charged 2 hrs later (from half charge). Plug into the 110 charger at home and by morning, all set to go again. Lease is up in 6 months and cannot wait to trade for my 2018 with longer range. Still going to lease this one because I believe that the 2021 generation of EVs is going to be the game changer. Totally expect much better range and charge times then. My employer promoted the use of EVs, brought in a number of different makes for us to try out in the lot and the eGolf was hands down the best…of course as a die-hard VW enthusiast, I expected nothing less.

  • Ghislain Lejeune says:

    1.5 fast charging? You probably tried a 24kw Dcfc at the VW dealer… If you use a real DCFC at 50kw… you will charge from 20% to 80% in about 20 min…. That’s the way to use fast charging stations….

  • DJ says:

    Randy,

    I have a 2016 eGolf and I absolutely love it! My car tops out at 85 mph (136 kph). It behaves VERY well. If I floor it, I’m gone! the pickup on this thing is amazing. My only complaint is the range. I can’t get more than 80 miles per charge and, on occasion, it is quite problematic. That being said, if all you do is drive to work and back – I can’t recommend it enough!

  • skyline says:

    Thɑnks for finally talkіng about >Here’s Why The 2018
    Volkswagen E-Golf Is The Beѕt EV You Can Вuy <Liked it!

  • pillage says:

    Great aгticle, exactly what Ι needed.

  • Isaac Mel says:

    Oct will be my 3 years with 2016 E Golf driving it Everywhere in Southern California, purely said Amazing Car, a ballistic missile when you need it or can drive it this is California endeavored speed in the morning is 7 MPH but the power is there when you need it , I have zero problem with the car no maintenance is needed well except once a year when VW is doing their so-called annual maintenance which is updating the firmware and charge you $250 , so far I have 30000 miles on it , we’ll see what the future holds.

  • Andreas says:

    I own an eGolf since last September, have done 7500 km in it.
    Being located in Austria, I will give you some numbers that are relevant for my use.
    Living around 40 km outside Vienna, I do drive there once or twice a week and have the choice of doing the scenic route or taking the motorway. Doing the scenic route, I managed to drop average consumption to below 9 kWh/100 km, which is 14.4 kWh/100 mi. Going via the motorway at allowed max speed of 130 km/h (81 mi/h), I have an average consumption of 17-18 kWh/100 km (27-29 kWh/100 mi). Going at constantly 130 km/h gets a consumption of 21 kWh/100 km (33.6 kWh/100 mi).
    What does that mean for range? If I take the low range along the scenic route, I could theoretically do just under 400 km. Obviously, that’s not going to happen but coasting speeds in the countryside (60-70 km/h on average) a consumption of 11-12 kWh/100 km is very viable, which gets just over 300 km in range.
    The above report is somewhat incorrect when it comes to driving the car. Drivability of the eGolf is quite different to the ones with combustion engine. Firstly, taking off at a traffic light puts a serious challenge to a Porsche 911. Secondly, and most importantly, due to the centred centre of gravity and that being very low (batteries beneath your butt), the car turns like a middle engine care or go cart. There is non of the Golf-typical understeer. I can actually challenge myself in (some) cornering compared to doing the same corner with my Duc Hypermotard.
    What is important to know and not mentioned very often: charging speed in numbers.
    alternating current: max 7.9 kWh/h, which means it doesn’t matter if you have an 11 kW or 22 kW wall box at home, the Golf will only take 7.9 kW/h
    directional current: max 40 kWh/h. You read the numbers above in regards to charging time and may wonder why it takes 1:30 h to charge a 35.8 kWh battery at 40 kWh. Reason is power management. The closer you get to 100%, the slower it will get. From 80% to 100% you only get 25-30 kWh/h into the battery.
    plugging it into the ordinary wall socket takes 17 hours … sexy 🙂

    Now, having driven the car for nearly a year, what would I want to change? Charging speed is really the only thing that concerns me. If they can up that from 40kWh/h to 120 kWh/h on directional and to at least 22 kWh/h on alternating current, I’d be a very happy chappy. Regardless, I love the car and don’t regret the purchase.

Leave a Reply