2017 Volkswagen e-Golf Review

Pros & Cons

  • Looks and drives more like a typical car than other EVs
  • Premium interior materials
  • Plenty of trunk space
  • Comfortable and quiet ride
  • Less electric range than other EVs
  • Less cargo and storage capacity, too
  • Not as many features for your money
  • Limited availability
Other years
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List Price Estimate
$14,038 - $16,677

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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.

Notably, we picked the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf as one of Edmunds' Best Used Cars.

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf models

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 134-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.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall7.9 / 10
Driving8.0
Comfort8.0
Interior8.5
Utility8.0
Technology7.5

Consumer reviews

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

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Electronic Failure
Tom,03/12/2019
SE 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
It just wouldn't start. Dash said Electronic Error: Stop! Had to have it towed 3 miles away because the only person in my local vw dealer who could work on it quit. In Denver they informed me they couldn't figure it out and sent it to Oxnard? I am still trying to locate my car and no one is telling me anything. I looked on forums and found the same complaint on a lot of these. I hope I get my car back so I can sell it.
Great car
Andrew Meister,01/04/2018
SEL Premium 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
Great car, which is only beat by Tesla’s Model 3.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf features & specs

Safety

Our experts like the e-Golf models:

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.

More about the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

Used 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf Overview

The Used 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's a good price on a Used 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf?

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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.

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