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The Volkswagen e-Golf Is Actually Pretty Awesome

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author photo by Will Kinton November 2016

I drove a Volkswagen e-Golf the other day, and I walked away surprised by how much I liked it. The e-Golf is a genuinely good car, and if you need a car just for commuting, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a better electric option.

The brilliance of the e-Golf is that it's a Golf -- except in every way that it's not. For example, the interior is handsome, well-designed and intuitive to understand, just like the regular Golf. Also like the Golf, the seats are comfortable, the steering is on point, and the bones of the car are made of the same Volkswagen MQB chassis magic that you'll find beneath many great VW and Audi offerings. Best of all, the e-Golf looks like a regular car. It doesn't make any attempt to show off that it's an electric vehicle beyond some blue stitching, a slightly different front fascia and new wheels.

Basically, the best thing about the e-Golf is that VW started with a car that's already great instead of starting from scratch, so it doesn't really feel like you're making sacrifices in terms of build quality and aesthetic design in order to drive a fully electric car. It also doesn't feel like the kind of electric vehicle you'd drive just to let other people know you're driving an electric vehicle.

As for performance, the e-Golf is not fast by any means. It only has a top speed of 85 miles per hour, and it takes over 9 seconds to reach 60 mph. This makes sense, as the motor only has 115 horsepower, and the car weighs several hundred pounds more than a gas-powered Golf. That being said, the e-Golf is actually surprisingly quick on its feet around town due to all that sweet electric torque.

Of course, it's also quieter than a normal Golf. Coincidentally, throughout my entire time with the car, I somehow found myself surrounded by as many loud, obnoxious, coal-rolling, lifted pickups as the great state of Maryland has to offer. The lack of your own engine noise definitely makes you more aware of everyone else's.

The e-Golf is also fairly inexpensive. The starting MSRP is $28,995, and it can be optioned and trimmed out to just shy of $36,000. This makes it about $1,000 less expensive than the Leaf, in addition to being nicer to look at inside and out. Once you factor in federal and state tax credits, you can get an e-Golf for $21,495. In terms of range, the e-Golf's 83-mile figure is roughly the same as a base-level Leaf, but the top-trim Leaf features 108 miles of electric range. That said, neither car really has the capacity to take you on a long road trip, so you're still more or less confined to a city.

I think the e-Golf is one of the best electric options out there right now -- and it's a sign that the quality gap between electric and gasoline is becoming smaller. If Volkswagen's vision of a diesel- and gas-free future looks like the e-Golf, I think we'll be just fine.

VW eGolf Gauge Cluster

VW eGolf Interior

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Volkswagen e-Golf Is Actually Pretty Awesome - Autotrader