- Everything, except the range. The eGolf is based on one of the best all-around cars on the road, the VW Golf. To the Golf it adds a battery, a silent powertrain, and several pats on the back from your tree-hugging friends.
- Easy to drive. It’s effortless because it’s zippy, comfortable, easy to see out of, and highly maneuverable. The turning circle is a thing of beauty. For those who live in fear of three point turns, run out and get an eGolf now.
- Easy to live with. The five door hatchback is versatile. Carry four people and a load of groceries, or fold down the rear seats and carry more stuff. Seats are comfortable, driving position is great, and all-around visibility is refreshing.
- Fun. It’s got the fantastic Golf suspension, which is both sporty and somehow extremely comfortable and tolerant of bad pavement. It feels sophisticated for what is really an economy car. The batteries, while not built into the floor, feel like they lower the center of gravity a bit and make cornering even more secure.
- Zippy. The electric motor is great. VW has tuned the accelerator to mimic the gasoline engine you’re used to. So there’s no weirdness. It just feels a lot quieter and a little bit faster off the block. Less so on the highway. You can dial in regenerative braking if you want, or just coast, like you would in gasoline powered car.
- Safety. Our VW eGolf, which listed for $33,400 before federal and state rebates, came with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and blind spot monitoring.
- Range. There are really two types of electric cars these days: Older generation and newer generation. Unfortunately, the eGolf is an older generation electric. The older generation battery powered cars max out at about 120 miles of range. Newer generation electrics are well up into the mid 200s, with several getting more than 250 miles of range. That makes a big difference between having to think about your range, and not thinking about it.
We had a 37 mile —approximately hour long — drive to take one Sunday afternoon. The VW was fully charged up, and said we had 120 miles of range. But as we drove on the highway, we noticed the range was dropping faster than our "miles to destination." As with gasoline powered cars, wind resistance at higher speeds reduces mileage. So after traveling 37 miles each way, we got home with 10 miles of range to spare. Phew. Then, it took about two overnights plugged into a standard 110 volt outlet to finally get fully charged again.
If this eGolf had 250 miles of range (and we had a fast charger at home), it’d be a nearly perfect car. Alas, it’s unlikely to see that kind of upgrade. It’s more likely that VW drops the eGolf when the next generation Golf comes out, and directs us to electric cars based on their new battery-specific architecture. We can only hope they’ll be as good, all around, as this eGolf.
- USB Port. The eGolf’s one other failing, which it shares with its Golf siblings, is a terribly positioned USB port. The USB port was an afterthought… located deep in a narrow cubby in front of the shifter. It requires long fingers, good dexterity, and excellent middle and index finger strength to push your USB cable into the port. That’s just thoughtless ergonomics.
However, if you plan to just plug in a USB cable once and leave it plugged in forever… and you plan to use it as a second car around town, and 100 or so miles will cover you, this a terrific car to drive.