2017 Volkswagen e-Golf Review: Getting There

– Malibu, California

Here in the U.S., the Volkswagen Golf was a favorite among environmentally mindful buyers, many of whom were seduced by the Golf TDI, with its dieselicious torque and jaw-dropping fuel economy and handy little cheat devices that secretly switched to an emissions-compliant driving mode for EPA tests but spewed up to 40 times more pollutants from their tailpipes most other times. When that little act of fraud blew up in in VW’s face, TDIs were banished and VW became a pariah in the eyes of crestfallen environmentalists. Fortunately for VW, exactly one year before, it had introduced a Golf model that made no emissions at all, the all-electric e-Golf.

Developed mainly as a “compliance car” to help VW meet governmental mandates for zero-emissions vehicles both here and abroad, the e-Golf was expected to represent no more than a tiny percentage of Golf sales. The original e-Golf was rather sluggish, weighed more than 400 pounds more than the standard Golf, and couldn’t travel more than 83 miles without sucking up to an electrical outlet for a few hours, but in all other respects, it was as winsome as any other Golf. Now, with the dust of Dieselgate settling (in courts) and the Golf TDI not expected to return any time soon, the e-Golf has a more prominent role, so I (and I imagine a few environmentalists who rather miss their old Golfs) welcome the refreshed and improved 2017 e-Golf, with its snappier styling, better performance, and a more livable driving range...