2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf
MSRP range
$30,495 - $36,995
2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

Pros

  • Looks and drives more like a typical car than other EVs
  • Premium interior materials
  • Plenty of trunk space
  • Comfortable and quiet ride

Cons

  • Less electric range than other EVs
  • Less cargo and storage capacity, too
  • Not as many features for your money
  • Limited availability


Which e-Golf does Edmunds recommend?

It's a hefty price jump from the base SE to the SEL Premium, and beyond the LED headlights and faux leather upholstery (a commendable leather simulation), it's hard to see what you're paying for given that the upper trims' DC fast-charging system is a stand-alone option on the base model. Sure, we'd recommend leasing an e-Golf, but in any case, we'd still stick with the base SE.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

7.9 / 10

Although some shoppers like that electric cars are different from the norm, many others don't want to deal with anything out of the ordinary. Something more normal would be better. Well, the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf is about as normal as you can get.

Other than the different wheels and the lack of a tailpipe, you might as well be looking at any other VW Golf from the outside. On the inside, the e-Golf has the same high-quality, user-friendly cabin with comfortable seats and a roomy back seat. The cargo area is even the same. And, yes, even the shifter is the same. There's no confusing or potentially dangerous newfangled thingy included only for the sake of being different.

Of course, once underway, the e-Golf is quite different from any other Golf. For starters, it's very quiet since its electric motor doesn't make nearly as much noise as the Golf's turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Acceleration is also smoother (no gears to work through), and the four-mode regenerative braking system pretty much allows you to drive with hardly ever using the brake pedal.

Now, the e-Golf isn't quite as fast as the regular Golf or even some other EVs, such as the BMW i3, Chevrolet Bolt or Hyundai Ioniq Electric. Its driving range of 125 miles is also middle of the pack. Overall, though, the 2017 VW e-Golf is one of the more appealing electric vehicles available. Anyone looking to ditch gasoline would be wise to check it out.

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf configurations

The 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf is the electric version of the regular Golf hatchback. It comes with a 35.8-kWh battery pack and a 115-horsepower electric motor that results in an EPA-estimated driving range of 125 miles. The three trim levels are: SE, Limited Edition and SEL Premium.

Standard equipment on the SE includes a 7.2-kW onboard charger, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED running lights, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated power-reclining front seats (manual height and fore/aft adjustment), a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Volkswagen Car-Net Security & Service remote services, an 8-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a USB port, Bluetooth, and an eight-speaker sound system that includes a CD player and satellite radio. DC fast-charging capability is a stand-alone option.

The Limited adds the DC fast-charging capability, plus a more energy-efficient heating system, premium vinyl upholstery, parking sensors, an automated parking system, and Maneuver Braking, which can automatically brake the car when you're in danger of striking something while parking.

The SEL Premium adds LED headlights, an auto-dimming mirror and a navigation. It's the only trim level available with the Driver Assistance package that includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic braking, lane keeping assist, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, an upgraded touchscreen and the 12.3-inch all-digital Volkswagen Digital Cockpit gauge cluster.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium (battery electric | 1-speed direct drive | FWD).

Driving

8.0
Compared to the first-year e-Golf, the 2017 model has a larger electric motor that can accelerate more briskly. Handling, steering and braking remain solid compared to others in the EV segment. But we wish the steering wasn't so light and the lift-throttle regenerative braking was turned up higher.

Acceleration

7.5
The first e-Golf wasn't terribly quick, but this one has more going on under the hood. While it's still not as quick as some of the newest competition, it feels sufficiently peppy unless you're a lead foot who throws caution (and range) to the wind. At our track it reached 60 mph in 8.4 seconds.

Braking

7.5
The brake pedal is firm and sure in routine use, with good feel and feedback. At our track, the e-Golf's fuel-saving tires contributed to a ho-hum 60 mph panic stop of 128 feet. There are four levels of regenerative braking, but the most aggressive setting falls short of enabling true one-pedal driving.

Steering

7.5
Turn the wheel and the e-Golf delivers a smooth and predictable response, exhibiting an eagerness in turns without feeling darty on straights. But the effort is a bit too light. It starts that way to ease parking, and even though it builds as the pace picks up, it never quite feels engaging.

Handling

8.5
Handling is eager and well-balanced through corners, reminiscent of a GTI. It was also able to orbit the skid pad at our test track at a respectable 0.88g, which is good considering the economy-minded all-season tires. The battery hangs under the floor, so the e-Golf leans a bit less in turns than a standard one.

Drivability

8.0
It feels utterly smooth and effortless because the torquey direct-drive electric powertrain never shifts. Lift-throttle brake regeneration has four levels that can be selected with the shift lever, too. We only wish the maximum B level was a bit more forceful to better enable one-pedal driving.

Comfort

8.0
The e-Golf offers comfortable seats and a smooth ride that nicely straddles the line between too hard and too soft. The electric powertrain is undeniably smooth and silent, of course. This is something that all EVs do well, but it's worth pointing out to those cross-shopping a regular Golf.

Seat comfort

8.0
The front seats have a very accommodating shape and offer great all-day support with just the right amount of padding. But some found the seat bottoms flat. The effective side bolsters aren't confining. The rear seat offers similar levels of comfort and support but doesn't have heaters.

Ride comfort

8.0
The highway ride is nicely controlled and settled. There's no float, but there isn't any nervous head-toss either. Bumps and holes are smoothed over with a minimum of harsh side effects. The result is a steady ride that nicely straddles the line between sloppy and tense.

Noise & vibration

9.0
There's even less overall noise than a standard Golf due to the utter silence of the electric drivetrain. Wind noise is nil, and the tires don't call attention to themselves. A subtle whir has been artificially added to alert pedestrians, but it's almost inaudible inside the car and disappears above 15 mph.

Climate control

8.0
Dual-zone automatic climate control and heated front seats are standard. The main heating system is electric, and it warms quickly because there's no engine that needs warming up. It can be preheated while charging, too. The capable A/C system has an Eco mode to use the system sparingly if you want to preserve range.

Interior

8.5
The e-Golf's interior is ideally suited for people. There's plenty of room, it's easy to get in and out of, and the controls are obvious and easy to reach. Credit goes to the Golf's signature boxy shape, which seems like it was drawn after the occupants were taken care of, not before.

Ease of use

8.0
The e-Golf is refreshingly simple and straightforward. The controls are within easy reach, and their function and usage are plainly obvious. There's little that will lead you to consult the owner's manual. It might take some time to master the steering wheel buttons, but they come easy once you do.

Getting in/getting out

9.0
The squared-off door openings make entry and exit a breeze, even for tall folks. The same is true for those in the back seat. The seats aren't so low that you have to stoop either. The doors aren't overly long, so they work well in tight spaces.

Driving position

9.0
The relationship between the e-Golf's seat, steering wheel and pedals (also its dash and gauges) is just about perfect. Folks of all sizes will agree on this point because the generous adjustment range of the seat (fore-aft, up-down) and the tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel allow nearly anyone to fit.

Roominess

8.5
Boxy on the outside equals roomy on the inside. There's abundant legroom and headroom, and the cockpit feels broad and airy. The back seat is similarly roomy with good leg-, head- and even toeroom. The best part is the e-Golf's underfloor battery changes none of this relative to a regular Golf.

Visibility

8.0
It's very easy to see out, and the blind spot is small thanks to abundant glass area and slender roof and windshield pillars. The standard rearview camera and proximity sensors are a nice bonus. The SEL's standard heated windscreen has myriad fine embedded wires that can refract oncoming headlights, though.

Quality

8.0
The e-Golf looks and feels well put-together, inside and out. The seats and door trim are especially handsome. The dash design is pretty simple and uncomplicated, but that's the look they go for. It all fits together nicely.

Utility

8.0
You'd likely predict that a boxy hatchback would offer good utility, and in the case of the Golf you'd be exactly right. There's plenty of room, and it's easily accessed through the hatch and the squared-off doors. Best part is you don't give up any of it when you buy the electric version.

Small-item storage

8.0
It's a compact car, but the e-Golf still offers ample interior storage. You'll find long front door pockets with water bottle nooks, a good-size glovebox and center console, central cupholders, and a hidden bin in front of the shifter. The rear door pockets will also hold a water bottle.

Cargo space

8.0
The e-Golf's battery doesn't consume any cargo space, which is unusual among EVs adapted from a gas-powered version. Like any other Golf, its rear seats fold flat, the deck is low, and the hatch provides easy access. Cargo capacity is abundant with all seats up (22.8 cubic feet) or down (53.7 cubic feet).

Child safety seat accommodation

8.5
Child seat accommodation is hard to beat. LATCH/Isofix lower anchors are very easy to find without digging around between the cushions, and the top tether hooks are equally obvious. The generous rear legroom accommodates most bulky rear-facing seats, and the squared rear roofline eases parent access when assisting children.

Technology

7.5
The e-Golf's simple and effective touchscreen audio and navigation system is easy to live with and offers plenty of ways to integrate your smartphone. But we really wish it had more than one USB port. There's a nice suite of active safety gear, but it's all optional and mighty expensive.

Audio & navigation

8.0
The e-Golf's 8-inch touchscreen delivers high-definition graphics and the SEL's Fender AM/FM/XM/CD audio system delivers crisp sound through nine speakers and a subwoofer. Easy-to-operate user interface consists of volume and tuning knobs, dedicated off-screen buttons and virtual on-screen touchpoints.

Smartphone integration

8.0
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come standard. You can also input sound from your smartphone (or a memory stick) via the USB port directly, or you can stream your tunes via Bluetooth audio. If you'd rather go old-school, there's an auxiliary jack and even an SD card slot. But there's only one USB port.

Driver aids

6.5
A backup camera and rear parking sensors come standard. The SEL can be equipped with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert and parking steering assistance. But all this costs $1,395, and you can't add it to an SE.

Voice control

7.0
The system is good at identifying names in your contact list and switching stations within a radio band, but it falls down if you try anything more complicated because it prefers set phrases over natural speech. Holding the button longer gets you Siri if you want to control your smartphone.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Great car
Andrew Meister,01/03/2018
Great car, which is only beat by Tesla’s Model 3.
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Features & Specs

MSRP
$36,995
MPG
126 city / 111 hwy
Seats 5
1-speed direct drive
Electric
134 hp @ 3000 rpm
MSRP
$30,495
MPG
126 city / 111 hwy
Seats 5
1-speed direct drive
Electric
134 hp @ 3000 rpm
See all 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf features & specs

Safety

Our experts’ favorite e-Golf safety features:

Intelligent Crash Response System
Automatically engages the brakes after an accident, turns off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors and activates the hazard lights.
Lane Keeping Assist
Detects and warns you when you're drifting out of your lane; it can take steering action if necessary.
Forward Collision Warning
Warns you about an imminent collision with an object ahead. Can automatically apply the brakes if necessary.

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More about the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

The 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf is the electric vehicle for you if want an EV that's not much different than a regular car. Its styling inside and out is pure VW Golf. Apart from its badges, wheels and lack of a tailpipe, you'd be hard-pressed to tell it apart from Volkswagen's ubiquitous hatchback. It also has the same cargo area unencumbered by extra batteries like other regular gasoline-powered cars that have been transformed into EVs. And, yes, it has the same traditional center console shifter. No buttons. No strange joystick. Nothing different for the sake of being different.

Then there's the matter of range. No, the e-Golf can't go anywhere as far on a charge as Chevy's Bolt, but its range has been significantly extended for 2017 from a rather paltry 83 miles to a far more useful 125. This puts it in the same league as most other EVs not named after lightning or the Serbian-American discoverer of alternating current. A newly standard 7.2-kW onboard charger also quickens recharge times, while a DC fast-charging system remains an option on the base trim and standard on the Limited and SEL Premium trims.

Volkswagen also upgraded the e-Golf's electric motor for 2017. The result is an increase of 19 horsepower to 134 hp and an improvement in acceleration. It also feels a bit more vigorous than some other EV models.

Standard equipment on that base SE is generous, including heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped wheel, an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite radio. A new Limited midtrim adds premium vinyl upholstery, an automated parking system and an automatic parking emergency braking system (good for avoiding errant shopping cars). The SEL Premium adds LED headlights, navigation, and the option of the Driver Assistance package that adds advanced driver and safety aids, plus an upgraded touchscreen and a new-for-2017 Volkswagen Digital Cockpit instrument cluster.

We think the 2017 VW e-Golf is one of the most appealing electric vehicles on the market. It doesn't go as far on an electric charge as the class leaders and is a bit more expensive and less versatile than others. Still, it's a likable, on-the-traditional-side EV that should be ideal for many. Edmunds will be happy to help find one near you and make sure you get the right price.

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf Overview

The 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf is offered in the following submodels: e-Golf Hatchback. Available styles include SEL Premium 4dr Hatchback (electric DD), and SE 4dr Hatchback (electric DD).

What do people think of the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2017 e-Golf 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2017 e-Golf.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 e-Golf featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

Our Review Process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

Which 2017 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) 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf.

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Why trust Edmunds?

Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

Should I lease or buy a 2017 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.

Check out Volkswagen lease specials