2015 Volkswagen e-Golf
by John Davis
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf lineup has earned a lot of praise and awards from the automotive media of late. One of the reasons for these honors is the wide variety of choices you have when it comes to buying a Golf: You can go basic with a TSI, sporty with the GTI, or long range with the TDI. Plus, there’s even a totally green choice on that list -- the all-electric e-Golf.
There are skeptics who firmly believe the moment you replace an internal combustion powertrain with an electric motor, a car loses its character and appeal. Well, that’s not the case here.
It doesn’t take any time at all behind the wheel to realize that the e-Golf drives almost exactly like every other Golf. It does feel a bit heavier, thanks to the additional weight of the battery pack, but that just helps to make it feel even more stable. The only alteration f
rom otherwise excellent Golf handling is some loss of steering feel. While that certainly counts, it’s not an e-Golf deal breaker for us.
Compared to other small, mass-market EVs, the e-Golf appears to be somewhat more manageable when it comes to driving range. We found the distance to empty gauge seemed to hang onto numbers a little longer than most rivals, and thus reduced our “range anxiety”. The EPA driving range is listed at 83-miles.
The regenerative braking system can react harshly, but it’s also driver adjustable. Still, there is certainly no compromise in Golf braking power. Drivers can also control power output by choosing between Normal, Eco, and Eco+ driving modes.
The powertrain is Volkswagen’s own design and features an 85-kW motor that outputs 115-horsepower and 199 lb-ft. of torque. Voltage is supplied by a 24.2-kWh Lithium-Ion battery pack mounted beneath the rear seat. That means that the more-than-ample cargo room is unchanged from other 4-door Golf hatchbacks.
Interior build quality of the e-Golf is equally impressive.
It delivers the same sporty atmosphere as the rest of the lineup, and even retains elements like a flat-bottom steering wheel. Interior components unique to the e-Golf include an exclusive gauge package with a power/charge meter, and a battery meter that looks exactly like a traditional fuel gauge.
Navigation, back-up camera, heated leatherette seating, touchscreen infotainment system, and keyless entry are all standard. Like most newer EVs efforts, the e-Golf uses an efficient heat pump for cabin climate control.
Things outside are a little more of a departure from other Golfs, with LED headlights, C-shaped LED Daytime Running Lights, blue trim, updated grille, 16-inch alloy wheels, and of course unique e-Golf badging. But from the rear, other than the lack of a tail pipe, there’s little to indicate the e-Golf’s fossil fuel-free nature. Even the charging port is located behind a traditional fuel filler door.
For our exclusive roadtest of the 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3425 that begins airing on February 20, 2015. For a complete listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable channel.
The Volkswagen e-Golf is a very impressive piece of engineering. It has a solid feel, terrific handling, and fine throttle response. Moreover it proves that electric drive can live harmoniously inside a chassis designed to please driving enthusiasts. Indeed, the 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf delivers both a charge, and a bit of a shock, to the all-electric vehicle segment.