Volkswagen e-Golf long-term test review

We like the regular Volkswagen Golf family hatchback, so surely an all-electric version is going to be one of the best cars around? Let's see if that theory holds up across four months of use...

Volkswagen e-Golf long-term test
  • The car Volkswagen e-Golf
  • Run by Jimi Beckwith, special contributor
  • Why it’s here To prove that electric cars aren’t just for short trips and those who live in the city
  • Needs to Be reliable, leggy transport for three-figure daily mileage, with the comfort and convenience of a long-distance cruiser and the talent to match conventional petrol and diesel models

Price £32,075 (excluding government grant) Price as tested £35,490 (excluding government grant) Miles 9500 Official range 180 miles Real-world range 124 miles Options fitted Heat pump (£830), Winter Pack (£400), Active Info Display (£495), keyless entry and start (£375), carpet mats (£85), metallic paint (£575)

9 October 2018 – What used car could I get instead?

One quibble people around me seem to have had when considering the e-Golf is its price. At £30,990 (after the £4500 Government grant) it’s no snip, and a brief look in the What Car? classifieds suggests I could get a variety of more conventionally flashy, almost-new cars for the same money.

Among the ranks are a one-year-old BMW 330e plug-in hybrid, along with a raft of conventionally engined Audi A4s, Mercedes-Benz C-Classes and other premium-badged saloons – and I could still have change to spare.

There’s a caveat to this, though. The e-Golf, with my 125-mile daily round trip, has cost me around £90 per month to charge. Factor this in, as well as the £300 for my Pod Point home charger, and my fuel bill over one year will have been, very approximately, £1380. See where this is going?

A diesel Golf, as a reasonable comparison, will achieve 58.9mpg on my commute, according to our True MPG calculator. This equates to fuel costs of around £2769.20. For a petrol Golf, that fuel cost would increase to £3601 for the year, with 45.3mpg returned. Those costs are before I factor in road tax, too. 

Volkswagen e-Golf charging

If I were to factor this into my purchase, I’d have only £29,601 to spend on a diesel, and £28,769 to spend on a petrol car. And at these prices, the mileage of any potential classifieds investment starts to creep up, as does the average age of each car. Choose a newer car and you’ll have to go lower spec. 

Still, the offerings are not to be sniffed at. Volkswagen knows how to charge for the e-Golf, then, to the point where – annual fuel costs considered – it’s still no bargain alternative. 

What you’re getting with this car, though, is convenience. Sure, I have to charge it nightly, but that means I set off every day not having to worry about filling up, what fuel prices will be or if I’ll have to dip into my credit card to pay for a tank of fuel before payday.

And as the ranges of electric cars grow (a short-ish range is the e-Golf’s Achilles' heel, that’s something you can’t put a price on. 

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