I bought the 2016 SE as a commuter and being my first electric, I was surprised how fast the acceleration was. The interior has a lot of room, XM radio controlled by the wiper control, and the range has been great. I am averaging about 100 miles range. I have only been charging at night with the Level 1 charger and can recharge my 60 mile commute in about 11-12 hrs on a 110v outlet. iPhone app and carnet software has some nice features, but there are some glitches here and there. The lower rate charger on the SE has not been an issue for me as i just charge at night and have a pretty predictable commute. I also have other cars, so if this were my only car, I'd get the higher model with the higher rate charger.
Using the heater will take away from the battery. I will get a good 60 miles with the heater running. When I want to see that i'm doing better on mileage, i turn off the heater. I use regeneration stage 1 and gain some mileage. When i am in traffic and is not accelerating, i use no battery power. The only other things using the high voltage battery are the AC and heater. If i think that i need more time on the battery as i drive around town, i slow down. That's why this car give more miles in the city than on the highway.
The handling and acceleration of e-Golf is beyond my expectation. It is cute and agile on city road and highways. This is compared to the cars (Mercedes E350 and BMW X5) that I have. The perspective of paying $1.4 dollar for my daily commute of 45 miles is very promising. However, I will not recommend this model year to others because of the following pain points: (1) This car has a 3G module that communicates with VW server. It fails: The CarNet service on desktop browser or mobile App allows you to (a) lock/unlock the car, (b) activate A/C, (c) charging schedule manage. From day-1, the CarNet server is never able to communicate with my car. It renders the CarNet service useless. My e-Golf is completely off the grid. (2) Delay charging failure: If you search for "VW e-golf delay charging issue" on Google, you will find long list of complaints that it doesn't work. Yes, 2015 e-Golf delay charging problem continues to plague 2016 e-Golf. For people living in California, the low electric rate kicks in between 11pm-7am. This is a very fundamental software feature for utilize the discount rate, yet it fails to deliver. For those days that it fails to delay charge, I could wake up in the morning and only find out the battery is not charged. I had to drive my e-Golf with ECO+ mode in one morning commute because battery is low. With ECO+ mode that turns off AC/Heater, I was frozen with inside temperature 45F and thinking what I have trapped myself into. This is a horrible experience for a new car owner.
I wanted to get a second car for electric commuting to supplement my old Subaru. After looking extensively at the Volt, Soul, Focus, i3, and 500e, I felt the e-Golf was the best option to handle my twisty Highway 17 commute and it was the right decision. The design is solid, the ride is quiet and comfortable, and handling is good, although front tires will spin if the accelerator is hit hard. Range is generally 80 miles, even with mostly highway driving using the A/C. I generally charge at home on a standard outlet and recover the 60 miles used in about 15 hours (fortunately I only drive it every other day). Updated infotainment system on the 2016 models is really nice and does CarPlay, although I was disappointed to realize the base SE has no steering wheel button to activate Siri. The SE also lacks cruise control.