ChargedUp: 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf Electric Car Review

“You’ll almost forget it’s electric” is Volkswagen’s bold and controversial claim of its 2015 all-electric e-Golf. The iconic VW Golf — now in its fortieth year — has fully embraced the future of technology with an all-electric model and a plug-in hybrid thanks to VW’s MQB platform where pretty much any drivetrain can be fitted to the Golf shell.

Last week, we gave you our quick charge review of the e-Golf as Nikki and Mark got behind the wheel of this all-electric car for the first time, but how does VW’s first foray into a modern all-electric car hold up against the competition after a week’s worth of daily driving?

The e-Golf isn’t a budget electric car. Starting at £31,145 (before incentives) in the UK, it is priced to compare with top end of the Nissan LEAFs spec (Tekna).

But let’s remember, when the LEAF first came out, it only had one spec level like the e-Golf. It’s only as time has gone on that the LEAF has gained additional levels of trim.

However unlike the LEAF at launch that only had one option in the UK, the e-Golf can be personalised with different add-ons – much like the BMW i3 when that first launched.

Out of the i3 and LEAF, the LEAF is the better comparison for this car. The standard and rapid charging options are nearly on par (albeit using different connectors) and the range is nearly identical.

However where the e-Golf comes into its own is the hold on the road and the driving feel. It feels more connected to the road – less like floating on a cloud and more like being suctioned to the road.

The e-Golf provides more of a direct driving experience and with that comes more user control. Regeneration levels can be switched on the fly with a simple flick of the ‘gearstick’, including switching it off completely.

As standard the e-Gold comes with:

  • LED headlights
  • LED running lights
  • Alloy wheels
  • Rapid charging (CCS)
  • Parking sensors
The Volkswagen e-Golf is available in both Europe and the U.S.

The Volkswagen e-Golf is available in both Europe and the U.S.

Optional extras include:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Parking assist
  • Leather interior
  • Lane assist


Nikki felt that the e-Golf in the UK had let itself down by not having 7kW charging as even an option. As that is available in the U.S. it is baffling as to why the European version still has the older 3kW charger rather than the more modern 7kW option.  Due to this she gives the e-Golf 7.5 out of 10 for the UK version and 8.5 out of 10 for the U.S. version, taking into consideration some of the extra bells and whistles (like a reversing camera) not included as standard in the UK.

Mark gave the e-Golf 8 out of 10 citing the ability to turn off regenerative braking and how well thought-out the car was as his reasons for doing so. “The car does everything a LEAF does to the same standard or better, with only one exception being the charging.”

Volkswagen e-Golf total score: 16.5/10 (U.S.), 15.5/10 (UK)

Did the car live up to the “You’ll almost forget it’s electric” claim. The simple answer is ‘yes’. The e-Golf is a car first and foremost. The fact that it is powered by electricity is just a small part of what makes this car what it is.

As with all of our Charged Up reviews, we’d love to hear your opinions of this new car. And if you’re in the market for a new vehicle, we certainly recommend taking the e-Golf for a spin at your local electric-certified Volkswagen dealer.


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  • Tim Martin

    Glad to see these reviews coming back. I really missed them. Hope you do more of these in the future.

  • Martin M Thomsen

    I agree with you on the lack of 3-phase charging and the climate control with short memory is annoying.nnBut I find that the range is at least 30% better than my 2. gen Leaf and it charges a lot faster on the CCS charger than my Leaf. The Leaf slows down around 70nu2013 80% but the e-Golf continues to charge at a high level to 100%.nThis combined with longer range is a very big difference when youndrive long distances!nnI want one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Interesting review, thanks!nnTypo: “As standard the e-Gold comes with” – unless it actually comes in gold.nnTrevornBlog:

  • CDspeed

    Another great review. I agree with Mark, I’d like to be able to turn the regen off so I could coast rather then always having to keep my foot on the accelerator.

    • jeffsongster

      Test drove it recently and agree that it free wheels way more than the LEAF. It seems a somewhat more polished car. I feel that my LEAF SL stays attached to the road better in hard cornering… but the VW feels more nimble and every bump in the road is passed to the driver. The microwires in the windscreen as a defroster are a great feature I’d love to see in the LEAF to eliminate the AC and heater use required in the LEAF to clear the window.

      • CDspeed

        In my i3 I occasionally notice a driver behind me who’s skills aren’t that great to begin with come up to quickly, and then stomp on the brakes. I’m fairly certain it’s occurring more often then in my old ICE because my brake lights don’t come on as often. Being able to roll I could hit my brakes when needed rather then always playing off the regen. I know my brake lights come on when I regen, but thanks to a friend I know they don’t come on as often as I think……..or hope.

  • David Galvan

    A co-worker/friend has an e-golf and loves it, with the following exception:nnFor some reason VW decided to require that a person with the smart-key be in close proximity in order to unlock the charge port and allow the car to be unplugged. In other words, only the car’s driver can unplug the vehicle at the charge port.nnMy friend HATES this, because at our office building all the EV drivers share 2 charging stations, and when one person is done charging they come down to move their car and plug in the next person. Unlike all the other EVs down there (a Tesla Model S, two Leafs, and 4 Fiat 500e’s), the e-Golf simply cannot be unplugged when it is done except by the owner. If he arrives at work when the two charging stations are in-use, and he plugs his 110V cable in in the mean time, no one else will be able to plug in his car when they return to move their car, so they’ll plug in the NEXT car waiting in line instead (to avoid wasting the time of the charging station).nnHe has been on the phone with VW about this, and has given his complaint as feedback. Presumably this oversight on their part could be fixed with a firmware update or something.nn(FYI for comparison, in my Nissan Leaf I have the option to lock my charge port using a switch on the dash. But I don’t HAVE to lock the charge port. VW eGolf owners don’t have the choice.)

  • D. Harrower

    I haven’t driven an eGolf but, on paper, I’m quite underwhelmed. Four years is a lifetime in the EV space and I’m of the opinion that VW should have been able to release a product that was more than “equal to or slightly better than” the Nisaan Leaf. Four years ago this would have been an exciting car.

  • vdiv

    Test-drove the US version last night. Some observations:nn– The LCD screen is smaller than that of the EU version with a very low pixel-density, and the controls on it are very sluggish — very disappointing.n– The US version does not seem to have the self-parking and the active cruise control features.n– The car makes rather annoying fake engine sounds. Also the steering wheel seems to artificially vibrate to remind the driver that the car is on. In trying to make the eGolf a “normal” car VW seems to be missing the point of EVs.n– The Start/Stop ENGINE (see above) button is too close to the drive mode select button so just like the gen.1 Volt the driver may double-click the wrong button and halt the car while moving. Let’s just say that unlike the Volt the eGolf does not handle it gracefully.n+- The selective regenerative braking (recuperation levels) are great, but even at the highest level and in B mode regen was rather mild, about on par with L mode on my Voltn+- The analog gauges are clear, easy to read and convey the key information. Wish there was more detailed information presented such as voltage and current while charging, watt marks on the power meter, efficiency stats up front.n++ The 7200 W onboard AC charger looks the same as the EU version shown in this video with the power rating printed on a sticker along with Made in Thailand.n++ Packaging in the eGolf is brilliant. It has a battery somewhere, or so I was told, but it does not show up and intrude anywhere.n++ Fit and finish, the controls, the door thunk are all brilliant and steps above the competition, better than the i3.n++ The LED headlights/DRLs are just cool.n++ The car has plenty of power accelerating from 40 to 50 mph on a slight uphill with three adults in it.nnOverall I think car is a winner for both first time and even experienced EV drivers. If BMW, VW and ChargePoint get cracking on the CCS charger availability it will give the Nissan’s Leaf and even the i3 a run for their money.

  • Dennis P

    I’ve had an e-Golf for nearly 3 months. Up until today it has been a fantastic car, and compared to other EVs I tested, it looked great, and handled great.

    Unfortunately today when I was braking, the car suddenly lurched forward. It was very disconcerting, but I figured it was a minor anomaly. A minute later the car lurched again on braking, then an error message popped up on the console “Error: electrical system: Stop!”

    The car no longer had power and I had to frantically get over to the side of the road somewhere safe. I called VW roadside assistance and it took a while, but a tuck came out and towed me to a dealership.

    Upon arrival, someone approached me to ask if I had an e-Golf, and asked why I was there. It was another e-Golf owner who just had his car in service for a week, because the exact same issue happened to them. The technicians were unable to diagnose the issue on his car.

    When I got home, I did a little research about this issue and it seems it’s not that uncommon. The other e-Golf owners experienced it around 1500-2000 miles, and it turned out to be a faulty ECM, but since the car is so new, and few technicians are train, it’s difficult to determine.

    I do hope this issue is resolved quickly, it seems for others it took a couple weeks to sort out, but I am now a little leery of the overall reliability and safety.

  • Angel Bou

    I bought a brand new e-Golf, Nov 2015. Drove it 4 days and broke! It’s been 1 month in the shop and still not repaired.

    Volkswagen America answer (3rd week) – We will never give you a new car, that’s why it has a warranty. – We will not give your money back. – We don’t have to provide you a loaner nor pay for your transportation while your car is being repaired. – You will not get compensated for anything. – You owe us this month lease payment, btw!

    Volkswagen America answer (4th week): We are not allowed to talk you. Get an attorney to reach out to us.

    Still considering to buy an e-Golf?? Good luck!