We have to admit, the Volkswagen e-Golf had us rather charmed from the start.
Even based on early Euro-spec prototypes, and when we pitted all-electric against diesel with our back-to-back e-Golf vs. Golf TDI test drive review nearly two years ago, we found a lot of potential in the all-electric hatchback—provided details like driving range, charging, pricing, and availability meshed in with comparable all-electrics like the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric.
Against either those electrics or the diesel, the e-Golf satisfied the driver with a nimble, light, responsive driving impression, while its high-quality cabin appointments and refined, quiet ride wowed passengers.
The “e” in e-Golf is far more important for VW this year
Since then our long-term 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf has come and gone, and it didn’t prove us wrong on any of those early impressions. Somewhere in the middle of our nine-month period with the e-Golf, however, the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal broke, and it likely forever changed the way the public sees VW’s TDI lineup.
The e-Golf brought us lots to love and very little to fret about, and it has us convinced that there’s light at the end of the tunnel—provided Volkswagen can get its family of plug-in hybrid (and pure electric) models out soon enough.
2015 Volkswagen e-Golf - Long-term test car [November 2015]
Even early last summer, after a few weeks with the Golf, when we look back at what we liked and didn’t like, we pointed out that VW appeared to have met its goal of providing a car that was “a Golf first, and zero-emission second.”
So many positives, with a few teething pains
Back then we singled out the e-Golf’s smart packaging, tidy handling, and great ride quality as positives—as well as the straightforward gauge layout and excellent interior packaging. As for negatives, we had to search rather hard, identifying its sparse information screens, speed-limiting Eco modes, and generally conservative powertrain settings as things to be critical about.