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Stalwart hatchback gets a plug-in: Volkswagen e-Golf

Swap your spare wheel for a 'leccy motor

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Economy drive

This configuration helps handling by lowering the car’s centre of gravity but not acceleration which completes the standard 0-62mph (0-100km/h) in 10.5 seconds, putting it on a par with the VW 1.6 turbo diesel blue motion. Top speed is limited to 87mph (140kmph) in the interests of power saving.

The electric motor doesn't need to be here, but the VW tries very hard to be conventional

The electric motor is deliberately styled to look like a petrol engine

Like the VW e-UP, the e-Golf has a plethora of economy and recharging power aids. While the e-UP has separate buttons for the Eco and Eco plus modes, the e-Golf has a single button saying “mode” to switch between normal "Eco" and "Eco+".

"Eco" cuts peak power to 95 PS, reduces the output of the air conditioning system and modifies the accelerator response. Top speed is cut to 71 mph and 0-62 mph takes 13.4 seconds.

The e-Golfe apes an auto

Auto means it doesn't have a golfball knob

"Eco+" limits maximum power to 75 PS, torque to 175 Nm, and top speed to 56mph (90kmph), while the accelerator response is modified and the air conditioning disabled. Although whatever mode you are in you get full power if you put your foot all the way down.

The regenerative braking comes in five modes: D, D1, D2, D3 and B. In D, the vehicle coasts without regenerative braking when the accelerator is lifted. In each other mode, lifting off the accelerator pedal provides greater regenerative braking. In D2, D3 and B, the brake lights are activated when the driver’s foot is lifted, and the retardation is really quite marked.

All the UK spec e-Golfs have five doors only, and come in a single well-equipped trim level based on the standard Golf SE. You'll find the addition of some Golf GTI trip, climate control, front and rear parking sensors, and Discover Pro satellite navigation too, with an eight-inch colour touchscreen.

This is much better integrated than the system in the e-Up which feels a little after-market but the software is similar including a range display, and the option to pre-programme the vehicle’s heating or cooling systems. So you can leave it plugged into the mains to heat or cool.

Volkswagen e-Golf touchscreen

Touchscreen console

There is an app for Android or iOS called Volkswagen Car-Net which enables many vehicle functions to be controlled remotely, including charging, heating or cooling and more. Three years’ subscription to Car Net is included as standard.

The e-Golf is the first Volkswagen to have LED headlights, and this is going to be something of a trend as LEDs run cooler, whiter and use less power than other technologies. Peugeot has been using LED on the 308 since late last year and Ford has just announced a new Mondeo with LED lights.

Running lights and headlights in one unit

The first VW with LEDs

One option on the e-Golf is a special heated windscreen. This has the side-effect of blocking mobile phone signals, so a passive antenna is included. You put your phone in the centre console and the signal is relayed to the roof. Fine for the driver, not so great for passengers.

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