Car Review

2015 Volkswagen e-Golf: New Car Review

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Volkswagen Golf SEL
Used 2015 Volkswagen Golf
$18,900
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI S
Used 2015 Volkswagen Golf
$12,300
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Volkswagen Golf SEL
Used 2015 Volkswagen Golf
$19,700
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Volkswagen Golf SEL
Used 2015 Volkswagen Golf
$18,700
RELATED READING
See all Volkswagen Golf articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader October 2014

The 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf is the latest entrant in the growing electric-vehicle (EV) segment. Powered by a fully electric engine that makes 115 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque, the e-Golf offers a surprisingly traditional driving experience, despite its completely electric drivetrain. Of course, it also offers impressive practicality, touting the Golf's 5-door hatchback body style and 5-seater interior.

Does the e-Golf have what it takes to compete in the increasingly crowded world of the electric vehicle? On paper, it sure does, with reasonable acceleration, an impressive charge time of just 4 hours and a near-100-mile range rounding out its list of positive attributes. Its flaws? Well, there's the price, which starts north of $36,000 with shipping -- something we could potentially forgive with the right tax incentives and equipment levels.

We're more concerned about its limited appeal, however, thanks to Volkswagen's decision to offer it only in the handful of states that abide by California's strict emissions requirements -- meaning that a huge portion of American shoppers won't have the chance to buy an e-Golf.

What's New for 2015?

Though it's based on VW's newly updated Golf hatchback, the e-Golf itself is a completely new model for the 2015 model year.

What We Like

Long range; reasonable performance; practical interior; quick charge time

What We Don't

A little pricey; slightly compromised trunk space; severely limited availability

How Much?

$36,300

Fuel Economy

Although the e-Golf doesn't offer fuel economy per se, shoppers interested in the hatchback will probably want to know all of the electric powertrain's particulars. The e-Golf boasts 115 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque, making it a little more muscular than most rivals. Thanks to an onboard 7.2-kilowatt charger, the e-Golf can be fully recharged in just 4 hours with a 240-volt home charger, and while the Environmental Protection Agency hasn't determined an official range number for the e-Golf, Volkswagen says that the hatchback can do about 100 miles on a full charge.

Standard Features & Options

Although the 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf is pricey, VW makes up for the high cost with a long list of standard features. Only offered in one trim level, called SEL Premium ($36,300), the e-Golf includes a 5.8-inch center touchscreen, heated front seats, a navigation system, leather upholstery, LED headlights, 16-in alloy wheels, Bluetooth, satellite radio and a backup camera. It's a lot of equipment for a compact car.

Safety

In addition to the usual litany of safety features -- such as side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control and front side airbags -- the e-Golf also adds a few high-tech safety items. Chief among them is a unique post-collision braking system, which brings the hatchback to a stop after a collision has already occurred. It may seem unusual, but it can help stop the e-Golf from rolling into other cars if the driver is unable to stop the car after a collision. The e-Golf also includes a standard backup camera.

As for crash-test ratings, the e-Golf is simply too new to have taken part in any testing as of this writing. The same is true for the standard gas-powered Volkswagen Golf, which has been heavily updated for the 2015 model year.

Behind the Wheel

On the road, the e-Golf does a good job of keeping you focused on the fact that you're in a normal, everyday car capable of doing normal, everyday things -- not true for some electric vehicles that require big compromises. There are a few minor differences compared to a standard Golf, including the lack of engine noise (a plus), the low-end torque (also a plus) and the weak acceleration at higher speeds -- a big drawback for drivers who often leave crowded city streets.

Beyond those points, the e-Golf feels a lot like a standard Golf, which is to say a lot like most other compact cars, though it does boast a nicer interior than many rivals, along with sharper handling. Otherwise, expect strong visibility, reasonable front- and rear-seat room, and a well-sized -- but not cavernous -- trunk (especially with the batteries in place).

Fortunately, you'll also get a lot of equipment, because Volkswagen has packed the e-Golf full of luxury features to help shoppers justify its high cost. There's an excellent navigation system, impressive LED headlights and even a driving-mode selector that lets you choose if you want to be in Normal mode, Eco mode, or an especially efficient Eco+ mode that cuts hp but boosts range.

Other Cars to Consider

Chevrolet Volt -- While it isn't a fully electric car like the e-Golf, the Volt offers an electric motor capable of transporting it about 40 miles until a range-extending gasoline engine kicks in. That makes the Volt more practical than the VW. Its pricing is more affordable, too.

Honda Fit EV -- The Fit EV is similar to the e-Golf in that it's a fully electric adaptation of an existing small car. It also offers a similar base price, similar cargo room and a similar range.

Nissan LEAF -- The popular LEAF is cheaper than the e-Golf, but base models offer fewer features and a smaller interior. Still, it remains the overall leader in EV sales.

AutoTrader's Advice

We happen to like the e-Golf for its long list of equipment, its regular-car driving experience, its roomy interior, and its impressive charge time and range. Since there's only one model, we'd have to choose that if we were buying the e-Golf. Unfortunately, however, most shoppers won't be able to buy the e-Golf at all thanks to geographic limitations on where Volkswagen will sell it -- a disappointing fact that's probably the e-Golf's biggest flaw.

Find a Volkswagen e-Golf for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Volkswagen Golf SEL
Used 2015 Volkswagen Golf
$18,900
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI S
Used 2015 Volkswagen Golf
$12,300
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Volkswagen Golf SEL
Used 2015 Volkswagen Golf
$19,700
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Volkswagen Golf SEL
Used 2015 Volkswagen Golf
$18,700
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.
2015 Volkswagen e-Golf: New Car Review - Autotrader