The 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf electric car gets a number of notable updates this year, including considerably increased range and a more powerful electric motor.
Unveiled at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, the e-Golf gets similar styling and content changes to other models in 2017 Golf lineup.
Crucially, the electric version also gets a 50-percent boost in battery capacity—from 24.2 kilowatt-hours to 35.8 kwh.
Recommended pricing for VW's only U.S. electric car has now been released: The base 2017 e-Golf SE starts at $31,315 (including a mandatory $820 delivery fee).
The middle trim level is the e-Golf Limited Edition, starting at $34,615 including delivery, which adds synthetic leather upholstery, DC fast charging, and other features. The top e-Golf SEL Premium version starts at $37,825.
An optional Driver Assistance package bundles a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and active-safety features that include adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection at lower speeds, active lane control, blind-spot alert, and parking assist.
The official EPA combined range figure is 125 miles, up from the 83-mile range of the current car.
The longer range squeaks past that of the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric by 1 mile, and represents the longest range of any 2017 electric car apart from the Chevrolet Bolt EV and three Teslas: Model S, Model X, and Model 3.
The Bolt EV has an EPA-rated range of 238 miles, while all Teslas have ranges of more than 200 miles, with the two available for immediate purchase starting around $70,000.
The e-Golf also beats the range ratings of the 2017 Nissan Leaf (107 miles) and BMW i3 (114 miles), the only other mass-market battery-electric cars of comparable price.
In addition to its larger battery pack, the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf also boasts a more powerful electric motor.
The upgraded motor produces 100 kilowatts (134 horsepower) and 214 pound-feet of torque, up from 86 kW (115 hp) and 199 lb-ft of torque in the previous year's model.
Volkswagen says the 2017 e-Golf will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 9.6 seconds, a reduction of more than 1 second. Top speed is quoted at 93 mph.
A 7.2-kW onboard charger is now standard on all models, while a CCS DC fast-charging port is standard on the SEL Premium model and a $995 option on the SE base model.
On the outside, the 2017 e-Golf features incrementally updated front and rear styling.
Changes include new LED headlights, running lights, and taillights; new front and rear bumpers; and new front fenders, although the differences between the 2017 model and the outgoing version are fairly subtle.
An 8-inch touchscreen is standard equipment, even on the base e-Golf SE, with an optional Discover Pro 9.2-inch central touchscreen display available. Hand-swipe gestures are planned as an addition within the next two years.
The 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf will shortly start reaching selected dealers, but only in certain states.
Although all other Golf models sold in North America are now built in Mexico, the e-Golf is assembled only in Germany and exported to the U.S. and other markets.
Assembly currently takes place alongside other Golf variants at VW's Wolfsburg plant as well as in the company's "Transparent Factory" in Dresden.
That plant is a glass-walled factory built to produce the now-defunct Volkswagen Phaeton large luxury sedan.
Volkswagen has said that it expects to begin building electric cars in North America by 2020, and that it plans to offer 30 electric cars globally by 2025 across all its brands.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article, originally published on November 28, 2016, has been updated with pricing information released on September 14, 2017.