2017 Volkswagen e-Golf
Which e-Golf does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
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.
Trim levels & features
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.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our initial drive of the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium (battery electric | 1-speed direct drive | FWD) and our previous full test of a 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium.
NOTE: While the 2016 e-Golf lacks this year's range and power upgrades, our observations from that model remain broadly applicable.
Noise & vibration
Ease of use4
Getting in/getting out5
Features & Specs
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.
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: . Available styles include SE 4dr Hatchback (electric DD), and SEL Premium 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?
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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.