Volkswagen e-Golf (2014 – 2020) Review

Volkswagen e-Golf (2014 – 2020) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
Offers all the advantages of a Volkswagen Golf, but with electric power instead. However, the driving range on early cars isn’t great.

+Swift, smooth performance. Regenerative braking makes town driving easier. Feels similar to a petrol Volkswagen Golf.

-Driving range is limited compared with a petrol or diesel and later generations of electric cars.

Insurance Group 15

The Volkswagen e-Golf is a battery-powered version of the hatchback favourite. For some, this will be a perfect combo, but only if you’re happy with the limited driving range of early versions – cars from 2017 could cover a more useful 186 miles per charge. This puts it into strong contention with the BMW i3, innovative Hyundai Ioniq Electric and familiar Nissan Leaf. Read on for our full Volkswagen e-Golf review.

A few years ago, you had to be a diehard early adopter to buy an electric car, but they’re now commonplace.

If there was one car that truly took EVs towards the mainstream, it’s the ubiquitous Volkswagen Golf.

The electrically-powered version offered the same formula of practicality, quality and refinement as the rest of the range, but with the big advantages of no tailpipe emissions and no requirement for fuel.

Instead, you only need to plug in the Volkswagen e-Golf to charge it up. Using a wallbox, a full charge from empty to maximum can be achieved in a little over five hours.

With the electric charging network in the UK ever expanding, there are now far more charging points available at supermarkets, shopping centre car parks, railway stations and motorway services.

These more rapid chargers will top up the relatively small battery quite quickly, but the Volkswagen e-Golf does not have the same superfast charging capacity of more recent electric cars.

Of course, the worry with any electric vehicle is that you might run out of power, miles away from a charging point.

But with a claimed range of 124 miles for the Volkswagen e-Golf, and 186 miles from 2017, this is less of a worry. It’s not a car that will suit everyone – but for many people who do a commute of even reasonable distance, it could make sense as an everyday car.

It drives well too. This is no slow eco-special – instead it feels as rapid as a turbocharged petrol Volkswagen Golf hatch.

The power figures are reasonable, with 136PS and 290Nm of torque, but what makes the difference is that all the torque is available from a standstill, making the Volkswagen e-Golf a rocket at the lights.

From 0-30mph it is effortlessly fast and really enjoyable to drive, even beyond the novelty factor.

It’s just as good on larger roads, with strong pace on the move. It’s incredibly easy to drive with a single-speed gearbox, plus there are regenerative braking modes.

While it was expensive when new, the Volkswagen e-Golf is now a much better deal as a used car. This makes the VW an even more attractive prospect for those looking for a second-hand EV.

It also has familiarity on its side. It’s very much like any other Volkswagen Golf from behind the wheel. For those who want an electric vehicle without anything weird or wacky, there is plenty of appeal.

Fancy a sportier version of the Volkswagen e-Golf? Read our review of the Volkswagen Golf GTE here.

Ask Honest John

What is the service interval on a Volkswagen e-Golf?

"Two local Volkswagen dealers have give me contradictory answers when I ask them what is the correct service interval after the two-year service. One says annual, one says two-yearly. I have asked VW themselves and all they do is refer me to the nearest dealer! My car is a 69 reg."
This seems to be a common theme on e-Golfs, clearly dealers aren't seeing that many of them. Officially the service interval for the e-Golf is 24 months or 18,000 miles, whichever comes first - this is listed on VW's service plan website.
Answered by Lawrence Allan

What's the best used, small hatchback for low mileage use?

"We are both recently retired and found that having just one car (the brilliant Volvo XC40 T3) is proving inconvenient, so we want a small used car for running around and short trips. Current thoughts are Audi A1, Fiat 500 or MINI. Prices seem fairly equal for recent models and running costs about even, but it's difficult to find information on reliability. It will probably only be doing 5000 miles per year. From those above, what would be the least likely to cause problems and prove not overly expensive? What other makes/models would you suggest in 3 to 4-year-old cars? Thanks in anticipation."
Our Satisfaction Index is a good indicator of reliability: As a guideline, Audi owners are generally fairly satisfied. MINI and Fiat actually perform pretty poorly. We also list common issues under the 'good/bad' section in our reviews. Have you considered an electric vehicle? If you can charge a car at home, it sounds like one would suit your requirements well. Something like a Volkswagen e-Golf, Hyundai Ioniq or Kia Soul EV could be a good option. A little more expensive to buy but you'll save money in running costs. If you'd prefer to stick to petrol, consider a Ford Fiesta Vignale. It's essentially a posh Fiesta with a luxurious interior but low running costs.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What's the best value, used electric car?

"Is the Volkswagen e-Golf the best value, used electric car?"
The Volkswagen e-Golf is certainly an excellent introduction to electric vehicles. We ran one for six months and rated it highly: You might find a Nissan Leaf to be a better choice, however. The 40kWh model can travel 168 miles on a charge (compared to the e-Golf's 144) and, as it sold in bigger numbers when new, there are more to choose from on the used market. We'd also recommend the Hyundai Ioniq Electric which has a range of up to 183 miles.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What's the best app to find public charging points for electric cars?

"What apps do I need for a holiday trip around the south coast and West Country with my new e-Golf?"
I'd recommend downloading the PlugShare app. It'll tell you where all the chargers are in the area you need, along with details about the companies that operate them and reviews from other users.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Volkswagen e-Golf (2014 – 2020) cost?