To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when Volkswagen NZ offered me the chance to review the eGolf. I have been a long-standing fan of the Golf, especially the ‘hotter’ versions, so let’s just say I was a little reserved when handed the keys to something (that in my mind) had more fairway than roadway connotations.
I really should learn to do more research before passing judgement, as first impressions alone allayed all reservations that I may have harboured.
The eGolf looks like a Golf (once you take away the localised graphics) and why shouldn’t it, essentially it is simply another option to the range, however, in my defence, that’s not the case with all marques.
Rather than boasting its EVness, VW has subtly changed out the badging, aerodynamically altered the wheels and then pretty much left the rest of the exterior well enough alone. Even the recharging socket is behind the same flap that would normally gulp down fossil fuel.
Same goes for the interior. It’s not all ‘space-agey’ or needlessly overcomplicated, it’s just modern, VW modern. The finishing is good, cloth furniture and clever accents where needed. The infotainment screen is large and easy to use and the instrument cluster is digital too with all the data you want to see (such as range, speed etc) right where you want it, in short, it virtually mimics the other Golfs in the line-up.
But of course, the eGolf IS different, it’s a BEV (Battery EV), it’s powered by lithium-ion batteries (36kWh) and comes with an electric motor producing 100kW of power and 290Nm of instant torque.
Charging for me is an issue. My domestic set up makes home charging difficult (no I’m not living on the street, although I am in the dog house often enough). Which means public fast charging is my only form of fueling up. Luckily for me, I live near a Maccas with free Vector chargers, unluckily for me, it’s very, very popular. There is supposed to be a half-hour max time but not everyone adheres to that rule, plus, there can be a queue. Time it wrong and you spend a lot of time on Maccas free WiFi, time it correctly, and you get chance for a leisurely coffee and roughly 120km of added range.
Funnily enough, the eGolf drives like a Golf too, in handling respects, not too far removed from the hotter versions either, thanks to the low down battery weight. Off the line speed, however, is a different matter. In normal, 0-100 arrives in 9.6s, Eco, slows this figure to 13s and eco+ (my favourite mode in this) slows the clock down to 19s BUT, eco+ does up the ‘real world’ km’s to near 240km, hence why it’s my favourite.
For me, driving the eGolf was an experience. I did tend to watch the range figures a little too much but that’s because it was a newish treat. You cruise a lot more in this car and revel in pulling back on the gear stick to B when going downhill to maximise the ‘regen’ braking and watch the range increase.
Commuting barely makes a dent in the range and the eGolf’s powertrain ‘silence’ allows you to think, possibly a little too much (so that’s why I’m in the doghouse) thankfully the stereo is good.
Overall, the eGolf looks like a Golf, feels like a Golf and drives like a Golf, but, with its BEV powertrain some would argue, that in golfing terms, it’s well above Par.