Did Volkswagen just create one of the best electric cars under $40,000? Well lets just say that I was so impressed with the new eGolf that I asked Volkswagen if I could keep it longer – definitely something that I don’t do often.
Did Volkswagen just create one of the best electric cars under $40,000? Well lets just say that I was so impressed with the new eGolf that I asked Volkswagen if I could keep it longer – definitely something that I don’t do often. The new seventh-generation Golf is an impressive platform, so it’s no surprise that the eGolf is this great.
The seventh-generation Golf rides on VW’s new MQB platform, which is also the basis for several models, including the new Audi A3. One of the best parts about the new platform, besides the fact that it’s lighter than the outgoing platform is the fact that it can be used for several different models and powertrains. Just look at the new Golf, which is available in three and five-door versions, in addition to the Golf SportWagen. Buyers can also choose from four-cylinder, diesel and electric powertrains.
The e-Golf is powered by an electric motor that generates 115 horsepower and 199 lb-ft. of torque. Don’t let that lower horsepower rating fool you, since with 199 lb-ft. available immediately, the e-Golf is zippy. Zooming away from a stop light is effortless and so smooth that every passenger I brought along was immediately impressed. It’s performance is better than rivals, like the Nissan Leaf and Kia Soul EV. It offers three driving modes: Normal, Eco and Eco+. There are also three regenerative braking modes. During my week with the e-Golf I mainly drove it in Normal and Eco modes, since the Eco+ driving mode reduces the horsepower too much. In Normal mode the e-Golf feels most like its internal-combustion family members with its brisk acceleration.
During my week with the e-Golf it was easy to forget that I was driving an electric car, since everything about the e-Golf feels like a conventional car, which is a good thing.
The e-Golf has an estimated driving range of 83 miles, which is about on par with the rest of its rivals. It does come standard with DC fast charging capability, which means that you can recharge the battery up to 80% in a mere 30 minutes. Using a 240V outlet will take four hours to fully recharge the e-Golf. Driving around LA I never had an range anxiety issues, since there are quite a few public charging stations popping up around the city.
On the outside the e-Golf looks almost identical to the standard gasoline and diesel-powered versions. The only big cosmetic different are LED headlights and running lights, e-Golf badging, a slightly revised grille and unique 16-inch wheels. Inside the differences are even smaller, with the big changes being different gauges. One of the big selling points about the e-Golf is that its interior is just as big as the other Golf models, since its battery pack does not take any extra space.
Pricing for this specific e-Golf SEL Premium starts at $35,445, but VW recently announced the introduction of a cheaper e-Golf Limited model that starts at $33,450. The e-Golf is eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit in addition to any state tax credits.
The biggest negative that I had with the e-Golf is the same as every other electric car on the market, besides the Tesla Model S – driving range. The e-Golf is not offered with a range extending engine like the Chevy Volt or BMW i3, so it limits its appeal outside an urban city. But if you live in a city that offers lots of charging stations, the e-Golf is one of the best electric cars you can buy.