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 review
  • 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 (before £4500 government grant) Price as tested £35,490 (before £4500 government grant) Miles 6500 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 August 2018 – Leaf vs e-Golf

Regular readers will know that we also have a Nissan Leaf as part of our long-term fleet. The chance to compare the e-Golf with one of its fiercest competitors was too good to pass up, so cue a few days in Nissan's electric hatchback.

First thing's first: range. The official WLTP tests (which are more indicative of real-world conditions than the older NEDC tests) reveal that 168 miles should be possible in the Leaf, and our own experience suggests that 160 miles is achievable. However, while the range indicated in the e-Golf is often lower than what you can actually cover, the Leaf's range is often a little less than what's shown in the instrument cluster.

The Golf can handle my 125-mile daily round trip with little trouble, and it was the same for the Leaf, although its range indicated only 70 miles when I rolled onto my driveway – 15 more than the Golf usually reads after a single leg of my journey. That should have been enough to get me to work the next day, but having heard that the Leaf's indicated range isn't always accurate, I decided to charge it at home.

Inside, the Leaf is a very different car from the e-Golf. It’s got a smaller infotainment screen, for one, which is flat-on the dashboard, rather than slightly angled to make it easier to see. The materials are different, too; the seats are of a nicer material (part leather, part suede), although the dashboard and doors feel a little spongy. The seat doesn’t go quite low enough, either, and the rear-view mirror eats intrusively into visibility through the windscreen.

To drive, the Leaf feels like a far larger car, and it’s harder to judge where the corners are than in the e-Golf, although this could be down to familiarity.

The outcome of our swap? Allan Muir, who runs the Leaf, prefers his car over mine, but I remain convinced by the e-Golf. We agreed that there’s little to really separate them, but personally, I prefer the Golf for its intuitiveness to use, more accurate range readout and everything-just-so competence. After all, at the end of the day, it's based on the big-selling Golf family hatchback.

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