Car Review: 2019 VW e-Golf drops the gas engine but retains the fun-to-drive nature

October 21, 2019

WTOP/Mike Parris

When you think of the compact hatchback, the car that pops in your mind is probably the Volkswagen Golf, a stalwart in the market for decades. Historically, it’s been a peppy performer that won’t break the bank, and the gas versions all delivered good miles per gallon. But some people are looking to ditch the gas engine for an electric vehicle, and now, the Golf answers the call.

The Golf always offered a great driving experience, and that holds true with the e-Golf. The same fun-to- drive attitude is here and the e-Golf is even a bit peppier because the power is available instantly. It’s not ultimately a huge power output, and some other electric vehicles are quicker, but at 135 horsepower, it still feels like enough power overall.

Handling is also a high point for the e-Golf. Not only is it a good commuter car, but a fun little car in the corners with higher handling limits than some of other EVs on the market. The e-Golf has several modes of regenerative braking, but it’s not a one-pedal operation like in some other electric vehicles. One possible drawback for some buyers might be the 125-mile range of the e-Golf. The standard DC fast-charging port available in specific locations can quickly get you back on the road. The optional Drivers Assistance package adds adaptive cruise, forward collision warning with autonomous braking and is well worth the modest $650.

The 2019 e-Golf doesn’t scream EV when you look at it. You really have to give it a close look to spot the differences. A few blue lowercase “e”s before the Golf name and some funky looking wheels are about the biggest clues. Bottom line: If you want to stand out with your EV, the e-Golf isn’t really going to draw much attention.

Rather if you want to drive a normal-looking car, then the e-Golf is your ride. The Golf was updated a few years back, so it’s still a fresh and modern-looking small hatch. LED lighting adds to the more aerodynamic look at the front end. Outback a rear roof spoiler, LED taillights and the slightly odd looking, blacked-out plastic piece where an exhaust pipe would go on the gas-powered Golf models give it some style.

Usually when you electrify an existing model, it tends to have many compromises on the interior to create a place to put the batteries. VW did not go that route, so you have the same space you have in the normal gas VW Golf.

It means trunk space isn’t compromised, and the rear seats still fold flat. The interior on the $33,400 SE trim level e-Golf is nicely equipped. Heated cloth seats provide good comfort and a nice quality. Back seat passengers are treated to a surprising space for a small car with good head and adequate leg room.

A large touch screen is easy to use and the sound system provides decent sound at most sound levels. The driver is greeted with a normal looking cockpit with analog gauges that are simple and straight forward.

Even the battery level in the e-Golf looks like a fuel gauge in a gas model. If you’re looking to make the move into an electric car, the fun-to-drive VW e-Golf is worth a look. With the look and feel of a regular Golf, the e-Golf makes jumping into an EV easier than you might think.

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