2016 Volkswagen e-Golf Review
2016 Volkswagen e-Golf Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Outstanding cabin materials and construction
- superior ride and quietness
- low center of gravity delivers impressive grip and handling
- just as much cargo capacity as other Golfs
- new lower-price base model.
- Less power and thus slower acceleration than some other electric vehicles
- limited availability.
The 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf gets a new, lower-priced base trim with slightly less standard content. Both the base SE and upper-trim SEL models get a new infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and VW MirrorLink smartphone connectivity and a 6.5-inch touchscreen for the SE and an 8-inch touchscreen for the SEL. The SE loses the built-in navigation system, parking sensors and auto-dimming rearview mirror that were standard on all e-Golfs in 2015, and speedy battery charging is now an extra-cost option on the base trim. The SEL gets a new optional driver assistance package that includes front collision mitigation and parallel parking systems.
One of our favorite electric vehicles, the 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf stands out from the growing crowd of EVs with its superior driving dynamics, impressive range and optimized battery charging equipment. And thanks to careful packaging, it has all the practicality of any other four-door Golf hatchback.
2016 e-Golf Highlights
- Cost to Drive
- 5 seats
- front wheel drive
- Engine Type
- 3 years / 36,000 miles
- EV Battery Warranty
- 8 years / 100,000 miles
Volkswagen was a bit late to the EV segment, waiting until 2015 to introduce its first electric vehicle — four years after Nissan launched the category with the all-electric Leaf. But those weren't four wasted years. VW engineers and designers studied the EVs that were entering the market and learned from their plusses and minuses. The result is the e-Golf, an electric car that doesn't surrender handling, comfort or roominess to make room for its large battery pack. It's a car that actually builds on rather than subtracts from the qualities of the conventionally powered Golf hatchback on which it is based.
The 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf is an electrified version of the standard Golf hatchback. It is rated at 83 miles of range.
On the outside, the 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf looks just like the rest of the Golf lineup. The only real differentiating features are a shuttered grille and some unique wheel and LED lighting treatments to distinguish the electric model. Inside, with its lithium-ion battery pack placed under the front and rear seats, the e-Golf has exactly the same cargo capacity as the standard four-door Golf.
The low-slung battery array also helps the e-Golf maintain the same excellent handling traits as the regular models and, in our view, its highway ride is superior and quieter to boot. Acceleration is competitive for EVs, and range depends on driving style, but you can expect between 80 and 100 miles on a single charge.
In both of its trim levels, the 2016 e-Golf's features and standard equipment are better than most competitors offer. But because of limited charging infrastructure availability in many regions, the e-Golf, like many other electric vehicles, is available only at participating dealers in California and the dozen West Coast and East Coast states — plus Washington, D.C. — that adhere to the tougher emissions standards and zero-emissions vehicle rules first implemented in California.
In the states where they are available, there are a growing number of EVs, including the stalwart and affordable Nissan Leaf, cute-as-a-button 2016 Fiat 500e, versatile 2016 Kia Soul EV and engaging 2016 Ford Focus Electric. There also are some luxury-brand options in the Golf's class with the distinctively styled BMW i3 and the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive. But if you're interested in a small EV that doesn't scream "look at me" and offers dynamic driving qualities and great versatility — and if you live in the right area — then you owe it to yourself to test-drive the 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf.
Performance & mpg
The e-Golf is powered by a synchronous permanent-magnet AC motor that develops a maximum of 115 horsepower and an impressive 199 pound-feet of torque in the default "Normal" driving mode. Power is reduced to 94 hp and 162 lb-ft in Eco mode and 74 hp and 129 lb-ft in Eco+ mode. The e-Golf sends its power to the front wheels via a single-speed transmission. Electric power is supplied by an under-floor lithium-ion battery pack with an overall capacity of 24.2 kWh.
The SE model comes with a fairly slow 3.6-kW charger that requires about seven hours to restore a depleted battery when connected to a 240-volt, Level 2 charging source. The SEL comes with a speedier 7.2-kW charger — it was standard across the line in 2015, the e-Golf's inaugural year — that does the job in just under four hours. Charging can also be done on a standard 120-volt household line, but it then takes about 20 hours to replenish a fully discharged battery pack. The SEL also comes with a "Level 3" DC fast-charge port that permits rapid recharging — 80 percent in 30 minutes — on select commercial SAE-standard fast-charging installations that are being installed around the country. The 7.2-kW charger and a DC fast charge port are bundled as the only factory option available for the base SE trim.
The EPA estimates the 2016 e-Golf's fuel (electricity) consumption at 29 kWh per 100 miles traveled, with a total range of 83 miles per charge. Our own testing experience suggests a realistic range in the default Normal mode of 106 miles on our suburban evaluation loop, with 6 miles remaining. This was, in part, due to the e-Golf's unique ability to customize regenerative braking among four different levels to maximize energy recovery. Range can be further extended if either the Eco or Eco+ drive modes are used, especially when used in conjunction with a light foot on the accelerator pedal.
At our test track in Normal mode, a 2015 e-Golf accelerated to 60 mph in 9.3 seconds. This is a little slower than the Chevrolet Spark EV, but quicker than the Ford Focus EV.
Standard safety features for the 2016 VW e-Golf include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, rearview camera, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A post-crash braking system is also standard and automatically applies the brakes after an impact to reduce the likelihood of a secondary crash. Front and rear parking sensors are standard on the SEL trim
Also included is VW's Car-Net emergency telematics service, which offers automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, remote vehicle access, stolen vehicle location and geo-fencing (which allows parents to set boundaries for teenage drivers). A Car-Net app for Apple and Android smartphones lets owners control many of these functions on the go.
For the SEL trim only, there's an optional Driver Assistance package that includes a front collision warning and crash mitigation system with automated emergency braking.
In Edmunds braking tests, the e-Golf stopped from 60 mph in 117 feet, an impressive result for this class, only bettered by the much smaller and lighter BMW i3 EV.
Although the e-Golf has yet to be crash tested by federal regulators or by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the non-electric 2016 Golf four-door hatchback on which it is based earned the Institute's highest possible score of "Good" in tests for moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact, small-overlap frontal-offset impact, side impact and roof strength. Its head restraints and seats also received a "Good" rating for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
The e-Golf's ability to provide smooth and effortless drivability comes naturally due to the zero-shift direct-drive powertrain. The car's electric motor delivers maximum torque from a standstill, which makes for good response in city driving conditions. It's not going to win any drag races, and as speed builds, acceleration ebbs slightly. Still, you'll have no problem merging into highway traffic.
Unlike some other EVs, the e-Golf offers four distinct levels of lift-throttle regenerative braking that the driver may select with the shift lever up to the maximum "B" level. This is handy in traffic as well as for improving efficiency and extending range.
Unique LED running lights, different wheels and the lack of a tailpipe are a few of the visual p>Another benefit of the batteries' under-floor location is that the electric hatchback's center of mass is low to the ground and as a result, provides a very stable highway ride and surprisingly good handling as well. In fact, the e-Golf matched the standard Golf's agility in our handling tests, and its power steering retains a smooth and direct response. This EV is easy to steer when you're parking, and the wheel is reassuringly firm and stable at highway speeds. And because there's no engine, the e-Golf is amazingly quiet in any situation. Volkswagen's engineers added a whirring sound for pedestrian awareness and safety.
Overall, the Volkswagen e-Golf feels like a well-equipped Golf that just happens to be electric-powered, and from the perspective of comfort, its highway ride is actually better. For all these reasons, we awarded the e-Golf our highest "A" rating.
Volkswagen wisely avoided the temptation to alter the regular Golf's otherwise practical and functional interior for the 2016 VW e-Golf. Were it not for blue accent colors and a specialized power display replacing the tachometer, you would never guess this is the electric-powered version of the Golf.
That's a good thing because this cabin is furnished with well-grained materials that are soft to the touch, and the overall design is slightly austere but generally comfortable and even sporty. Buttons and switches are close to the driver and offer intuitive control over basic functions. The center information display is simple to use and the base model's 6.5-inch touchscreen (also used to display the rearview camera image) works well and is easily read at a glance. The SEL's 8-inch screen is much better, though, especially for displaying the SEL's built-in navigation system. While the base SE doesn't have a proprietary in-dash navigation system, its smartphone integration allows drivers with smartphones to use the touchscreen to display navigation maps and directions from their phone apps.
Its front seats provide ample support and comfort, even during long-distance driving stints, and not at the sacrifice of rear-seat passengers. The e-Golf's leg- and shoulder room make the small hatch feel spacious. Our lone criticism about the backseat is that while the low-mounted rear-seat cushions afford ample headroom, they reduce thigh support for longer-legged passengers.
By packaging the batteries under the floor of the e-Golf, VW engineers ensured that its luggage and cargo capacity are identical to any other Golf hatchback. Up to 22.8 cubic feet of cargo can be accommodated behind the rear seats, while folding the seats completely flat provides a class-leading 52.7 cubic feet of space.
2016 Volkswagen e-Golf models
The 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf is a four-door hatchback electric vehicle (EV) offered in two trim levels: SE (replacing the 2015 Limited Edition) and SEL. Standard equipment for the SE includes power heated side mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, automatic headlights, LED running lights and 16-inch alloy wheels with low-rolling-resistance all-season tires.
Interior features include dual-zone automatic climate control with rear vents, an electrically heated windshield, rearview camera, automatic wipers, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and manual-slide/power-reclining front seats with heating and manual lumbar adjustment. The rear seats are 60/40-split folding with a pass-through armrest. Standard technology features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, USB and auxiliary ports, an SD card reader, an eight-speaker audio system with satellite and HD radio, a CD player and VW's MIB II system with smartphone integration, VW's Car-Net telematics and a 6.5-inch touchscreen that provides for all manner of controls.
The SEL Premium adds LED headlights, cruise control, a multifunction steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, ambient lighting, an 8-inch touchscreen, an SD-card-based navigation system, additional Car-Net features, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors and an energy-efficient — and range-increasing — heat pump for the climate control system.
Going for the e-Golf in SEL Premium trim adds niceties such as cruise control and a multifunction steering wheel.
Options packages are simple. The SE can be augmented with a DC Fast Charging package (standard on the SEL) that adds a 7.2-kW onboard charger and a DC fast-charge port that enables rapid charging at a growing number of commercial quick charge stations being installed around the country. The SEL's only optional equipment comes bundled in a Driver Assistance package that includes a front collision warning and mitigation system with autonomous emergency braking, and VW's parking assist system for semi-automated parallel parking (the driver still must control the brake and accelerator).
Read what other owners think about the Used 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf.
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4 out of 5 stars
Fun electric commuter car
John Heyer, 01/19/2017
2016 Volkswagen e-Golf SE 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
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.
4 out of 5 stars
Great, but know what you're getting into.
Jeff Rut, 08/27/2015
2015 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
I own an E-Golf, and generally I love it, but I don't think general discussion touches on two important points. First, my only real negative to the car: the Navigation/Entertainment System is a complete joke. The entertainment/navigation console takes a minute to boot up. So if you're going to use navigation, you have to turn on your car and wait a minute before you can get on your … way. Then, the screen is slow, it's small, etc. I do like the little dashboard screen. Overall, Google Maps is incomparably better than VW's navigation. There's also a problem that it doesn't have standard USB power, and they just assume you have an iPhone, so no micro-USB/Android charger is available for their proprietary slot (I got a 3rd party wire off Amazon, but it's crazy slow). Also, it has a weird bluetooth problem where it switches up music sometimes. It's just generally clunky and ugly and problematic. It does allow an SD card full of MP3s, I know that's like 2003 tech but I actually really like it. Also, about the range: I drive with a heavy foot, mostly on freeway, I don't use the annoying auto-brake or evo modes, and I get 85 miles or so. Before I got the car, I thought charging stations were going to be a big deal. But unless you have charging at work, charging stations are really not a large part of the EV experience. Even in the Bay Area, you just can't count on one being available - somebody else is parked there, and will be parked there for at least another hour or two more. Or it's broken. Or a non electric vehicle parked there. You just can't rely on it 100%. Anyway, who wants to wait around an hour to charge up enough to get home? A better way to think about it is, every morning your car starts with a quarter tank of gas. Sure, if there's an EMERGENCY, or you need to BARELY extend your trip past the car's range, something will probably be available. But if you think this will be a regular occurrence for you, buy a gas or diesel car. OK, not to scare off buyers, because yeah I do love this car. If you have a regular daily commute it's incredibly cheap to operate, especially with the lease deals out there. Quality isn't luxury car, but it's very high-end for a low-end car. With the torque and tight turns, it's really fun to drive around town - I feel like I'm driving a go-kart around on city streets. It's not quite as good on the freeway, but it's not bad. I'm six and a half feet tall and my wife isn't all that much shorter, and it's still surprisingly spacious inside, I don't keep the slider all the way back. However, tall people up front does mean that the people in the back row have basically no space at all.
5 out of 5 stars
City Stealthmobile BEV
2015 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
This is a 2nd car for me, for driving around in the city. The car does have limited range, I can get 5.5-5.8 miles per kwh, but I am retired and I do drive at or under the speed limit at all times, with most consumer devices turned off. What I like most about the e-golf is that it is just another Golf. It does not draw attention to itself. It does not say "hey, look at me, I'm a hybrid … or electric car". It's low key, it's quiet, it's stealthy, and most importantly, it drives, due to it's heritage, like a german engineered car. Not like a japanese electric or hybrid econobox. It is purposeful, it's a city car, pure and simple. If I need to do a long distance trip, or get out of town and do some major driving, the TDI I have is for long distance trips. It's hard to put into words how a german car drives, compared to a japanese car... but you know it was designed to drive on Autobahns, and in the German, Swiss, and French alps too, in the twisties. And for all the mountains and canyons I drive in, I demand the way a german car drives, and gladly pay the premium for it. Update after 6 months: Still a nice car for the city and short trips. Key is to charge it at home, overnight, where filling up isn't so burdensome, and the cost of electricity is reasonable at $0.16 per kw, instead of using public infrastructure for recharging, which is quite a bit more expensive and time consuming, 2.5 to 3.25 hours each session. Forget about mooching electrons for free if you need a recharge, it's a business model doomed to failure. Provide your own infrastructure to charge, and you'll do fine Update after 1 year of use: Battery life has dropped to about a 7% loss in maximum range. I am averaging 6.0 miles per kwh with careful driving, over the last 2000 miles. My route remains a constant. What was 129 miles of range on a charge when new has dropped off to 120 miles now. Loss first started in the warm weather of May, and continues to drop in the heat of the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, CA. Odometer now reads 7750 on 10/19/16
5 out of 5 stars
Definitely 5 stars overall
Richard Zimmer, 05/20/2018
2016 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
A comment about each of the two single-star reviews from other owners: 1. If the software to time the charging is spotty, then simply make it a pattern to check on the car once during the night to ensure it is charging. Make it a routine, just like taking the dog or cat outside. While having to drive the car without heat in 45F is chilly, it is definitely not "freezing". Have you … noticed the many electric car reviews (of any make) in the winter, the driver is bundled up? 2. For the owner who moved from California to Georgia: Yes, the dealer should have mentioned that VW dealers in GA cannot service the car, but that should be a negative rating on the dealer and not on the car itself. Anyway, the maintenance on E-Golf is pretty much limited to tire rotations, 12-volt battery check, windshield wash fluid fill, and other things which you or your local mechanic can do, and don't worry about violating warranty. I really think VW dealers' service of E-Golfs are just money makers to pad their own pockets - - there's no oil to change, no spark plugs, no radiator. Brakes last twice as long. And yet they charge more than they would charge for regular Golf maintenance.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf, so we've included reviews for other years of the e-Golf since its last redesign.
More about the 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf
Used 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf Overview
The Used 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf is offered in the following submodels: e-Golf Hatchback. Available styles include SE 4dr Hatchback (electric DD), and SEL Premium 4dr Hatchback (electric DD). The Used 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 1-speed direct drive.
What's a good price on a Used 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf?
Price comparisons for Used 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf trim styles:
- The Used 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf SE is priced between $13,990 and$16,990 with odometer readings between 18486 and54333 miles.
- The Used 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium is priced between $16,990 and$18,990 with odometer readings between 41845 and46064 miles.
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Which used 2016 Volkswagen e-Golfs are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf for sale near. There are currently 47 used and CPO 2016 e-Golfs listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $12,590 and mileage as low as 15229 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf.
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Should I lease or buy a 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.
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