Volkswagen Golf GTE review

Category: Hybrid car

Section: Costs & verdict

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Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The Golf GTE isn’t cheap, costing about the same (as a cash buy) as a Cupra Leon eHybrid, which shares its engine, motor and battery. You can buy a bigger Skoda Superb iV plug-in for around the same money, or spend less on a Kia Xceed PHEV, Mercedes A250e or Seat Leon eHybrid

The Golf GTE has less rampant depreciation than the Xceed PHEV, but the Mercedes A250e will have retained even more of its list price than the GTE after three years.

If you’re a company car driver the GTE’s electric range of 32 miles, combined with low official CO2 emissions, puts it in a competitive benefit-in-kind tax band. It’ll certainly cost you a lot less in tax than a regular diesel or petrol model, but not as much as some other plug-in hybrids, like the A250e and Leon eHybrid. 

Equipment levels are high. The Golf GTE comes with 17in alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, three-zone climate control, sports front seats, a heated steering wheel, power-folding door mirrors, privacy glass and keyless entry and start.   

Volkswagen finished at the lower end of the mid-pack in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey – in 20th place out of 31 manufacturers. That’s above Audi and Mercedes, but below other rival brands, including Kia, Seat and Skoda.

Like most Volkswagens, the Golf comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty and one year’s roadside assistance. That's not exceptional these days, falling short of the five-year warranties that Hyundai, Renault and Toyota offer, let alone the seven years of cover provided by Kia. 

Every Golf comes with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, a driver fatigue monitor, traffic sign recognition and something called Car2X. The latter feature allows all cars fitted with this feature to share information on the traffic conditions and any hazards within a radius of 800m, and send will you an early warning of any dangers that lie ahead.

 And the Golf achieved the full five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, with excellent category scores that all but matched the best cars in the class, which would include the Mercedes A-Class, for adult and child protection. The protection for pedestrians and vulnerable road users isn’t as good as the A-Class's, though.

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Volkswagen GTE 2020 infotainment

Overview

It isn't quite as nice to drive as a regular Golf, but the GTE is still quick, quiet and comfortable. Its 32-mile electric range could reduce running costs for private buyers and company car tax breaks make it worth considering as an option to petrol or diesel. There are bigger plug-in hybrids for the money, though, like the Skoda Superb iV, or cheaper alternatives, such as the Mercedes A250e and Seat Leon eHybrid, both of which have a longer electric range.

  • Lower company car tax than a petrol or diesel Golf
  • Good performance for a family car
  • Reasonably comfortable and quiet
  • Not as practical as a regular Golf or some other plug-in hybrids
  • More expensive cash buy than equivalent plug-in family cars
  • Other plug-in hybrid family cars have a better range

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