Volkswagen Golf GTE First Drive Review From UK

3 years ago by Mike Anthony 29

Volkswagen Golf GTE

Volkswagen Golf GTE

Volkswagen now has nearly every possible version of its Golf model available. Gas, diesel, natural gas, all electric, and now even a gas plug in hybrid version called the Golf GTE. The only noticeable differences in each version would be the unique badging, instrument clusters, minor alterations and, or course, source of propulsion.

Volkswagen Golf GTE - Interior

Volkswagen Golf GTE – Interior

Autocar UK gets a test drive of the GTE, which is the plug-In hybrid version and, as expected, this PHEV is easy to recommend to buyers.

It’s just as if you were to get into a traditional ICE vehicle, says Autocar. Start up, buckle up, and drive off. However, you can tinker with 5 different available driving modes, in which case the gas engine will likely not be running upon start-up until it is needed or desired.

This ease of driving/operating is exactly what most VW customers demand. In regards to power, the electric motor is capable of providing most of the motivation required of typical driving.

Furthermore, Autocar’s test showed that the Golf GTE moves from electric to gas with smooth transitions throughout, no jerkiness or shutters. The electric motor provides a welcome boast of power and the engine has a pleasing exhaust sound.

Autocar even goes so far as to say that the GTE may be the best Golf ever produced, despite it being a bit heaver than a traditional Golf and having a bit less cargo space in the rear.

Current Specs:

  • A Turbocharged 1.4L four cylinder direct injected gas engine in tandem with an electric motor.
  • 6-speed automatic dual clutch transmission (DQ400) with the electric motor “mounted in forward section of transmission.”
  • A total output of 204 bhp & 258 LB-FT of torque. (limited to prevent overworking the clutch packs)
  • 8.7kWh Lithium-Ion battery pack, Gas tank size down to 40 liters from 50 liters.
  • Like the all electric version, the cargo area’s floor is slightly raised, losing a little bit cargo space.
  • An all electric range of a ~ 31 miles (NEDC) and a combined 584 miles of range using gas and electric.
  • 5 different driving modes: E, GTE, Battery Hold, Battery charge, and Hybrid Mode.
  • 0-62mph in 7.6sec & top speed of 138 mph in GTE mode. 81 mph in E-Mode.
  • 188 mpge. CO2 35g/km.
  • Curb weight of 1524 kg.
  • A 2-4 hour charging time depending on charging setup. Obviously gas engine and regenerative braking will recharge battery pack.
  • Charger located in front grille behind the VW emblem.
Volkswagen Golf GTE - Charge port behind VW Emblem.

Volkswagen Golf GTE – Charge port behind VW Emblem.

Pricing in the UK is to start at around £28,000 and orders will begin in November of 2014.

Source: Autocar UK

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29 responses to "Volkswagen Golf GTE First Drive Review From UK"

  1. Brian says:

    Why does the eGolf have the charge port door in the worst possible location (rear passenger side) and the GTE has it in the best (front, dead center)? For commonality, wouldn’t it make more sense to have the charge door in the same place for both?

    1. MTN Ranger says:

      Good call. I have a feeling that two different groups within VW were involved in designing the GTE and the eGolf.

      1. Felix says:

        The GTE has the gas inlet at the rear right side so the charge port needed to go somewhere else. However for the e-Golf that’s not the case any more.

        1. phd says:

          You probably wouldn’t be able to fit a CCS connector under the VW badge in the front.

          1. DaveMart says:

            Nah.
            All the VW’s are CCS compatible.
            It is their standard of choice:
            http://www.greencarcongress.com/2014/03/20140313-golf.html

            1. Brian says:

              The article you linked does not actually say anything about charging the GTE. It goes into depth describing the options for the eGolf, however.

              phd may be right – it may just be a matter of space behind that emblem. The GTE doesn’t need quick charging: just refuel and go. The only PHEV I know of that supports quick charging in the Outlander. Of course the i3 EREV comes with the option as well. I wish it would become more standard on all plug-ins, though. That would really help PHEVs / EREVs be the bridge to BEVs that they should be.

              I do wish that VW would put the connector front and center, though. There are other solutions, like making the emblem bigger, or making the door bigger than the emblem (see also the Nissan Leaf 😉 )

              1. DaveMart says:

                ‘An available 7.2 kW on-board charger works with the CCS (Combined Charging System) for DC fast charging. In this case, the Volkswagen is charged at up to 40 kW of power from CCS charging stations; they charge the battery to 80% capacity in just around 30 minutes. In the e-Golf, the start time for charging—either immediate or with a programmed time offset—is activated by pushing a button on the charging plug under the “fuel door”.’

                (ibid)

                So: ‘Yah! Boo! Sucks to you!’

                Buried pretty deep in a long article, I grant.

                1. DaveMart says:

                  Oops! ‘Blush!’

                  I did not read carefully enough, I find.
                  I missed your point that the precise reference is to the E-Golf, not the GTE.

                  So theoretically they could be different.

                  1. DaveMart says:

                    The bad news is that you are right, and it doesn’t fast charge, or at least there is no mention of it at the Audi site for its sister, the A3 e-tron:
                    http://www.audi.co.uk/content/audi/e-tron/e-tron.html

                    The good news, which for you Brian is likely to outweigh that, is that VW seems to have done its usual conservative job in range estimates.

                    On test the A3 got 28 miles AER here:
                    ‘we managed a careful 28 miles in EV mode over a mixed town and country route’

                    http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/audi/a3-sportback-e-tron

                    1. DaveMart says:

                      Thinking about it though isn’t it still ccs and doesn’t that simply specify the socket type regardless of whether it is fast charging or not?

                      The plug in can certainly use public chargers (see the Audi link above) , which in Europe are either CHAdeMO or ccs, I believe.

        2. Brian says:

          Understood, but your comment seems to imply that reusing the gas door is better than putting the connector behind the badge. I vehemently disagree with that. Just because the gas door is available, doesn’t mean it should be used.

  2. Alex says:

    To small battery to big gasmotor. And i don’t like a DQ400 in an electric car, Outlander have only one gear, thats perfect (nothing could break)

    1. Brian says:

      Ah, but the GTE is not an electric car; it is a hybrid. VW makes no claims for this to be an extended range EV. Instead it is a hybrid with a powerful electric motor.

      That that as you will.

  3. pjwood says:

    Remembering what Nitz said about DCT being a challenge. Mine isn’t smooth, and nothing is smoother than 1-speed EV transimssions.

  4. DaveMart says:

    The Audi A3 Sportsback PHEV due for the States in the spring is mechanically identical.

    How many are going to be tempted?

    1. Brian says:

      This guy, right here. But you already knew that.

      I think the Audi has a decent shot at selling in the states, if priced in the low to mid 40s. This is par for an Audi, and would attract a completely new segment of the market. There would be some conquests, sure, but mostly the eTron will grow the plug-in market.

      My two cents.

    2. JRMW says:

      Audi does VERY well in the hinterlands as all their cars have an AWD version. An AWD e tron has a good shot if priced right.

  5. Kaleb says:

    I am not tempted by anything with an ICE, but if I needed a hybrid I would certainly buy this over the Prius for the much better driving dynamics.

  6. JRMW says:

    I’m happy that there are increasing options in the EV, Rex, and PHEV space.

    It’s good to have some “normal” looking cars in addition to uber-modern cars (like the i3) and the mini city cars (like the MiEV). Many people would never consider the competition but would look at a “normal” looking eGolf or GTE

    But I’m disappointed with this:
    “An all electric range of a ~ 31 miles (NEDC) and a combined 584 miles of range using gas and electric”

    What is this, 2011? The GTE gets less range than a 2011 Volt! C’mon, it’s 2014 now. The BMW i3 Rex has 72 miles of range. That’s the new standard. (I know the i3 is a Rex and the GTE is a PHEV)

    I once thought that pure BEV was the way to go. I’ve been slowly convinced that PHEVs and Rex may be an important bridge to future BEV. But it’ll only work if the manufacturers continue to push their AER on their PHEVs and Rex

    and 30 miles ain’t gonna cut it.

    we need to get BEVs to 150-200 miles, and PHEV/Rex’s to 80+ miles ASAP. An 80 mile PHEV/Rex will act essentially as a BEV for most drivers.

    1. DaveMart says:

      50 miles on the NEDC is the standard laid down in China to qualify as a low emission vehicle, to come in force in two years time, and as far as can be made out through a cloud of regulation at different levels and written in different languages in Europe, what seems in prospect here.

      It is also fine for most European commutes, and presumably those in China too.

      What VW and most others have done though is make their PHEV offerings have enough space so that when the next generation of batteries come out, according to Mercedes within two years as they will need it just to hit minimum regs for China with their S-type PHEV, that will give the VW/Audi offerings the option to offer a pack with about the same AER as the present generation Volt, 35-40 miles on the EPA.

      Whether it is an option or standard at least in North America we will have to wait to see, but it is plain that is the plan.

      Unfortunately since they use proprietary batteries it is not clear whether Mitsubishi will be able to also increase it in the Outlander PHEV.

      1. ggpa says:

        I wish California would adopt the same 50 mile standard, and stop issuing HOV permits to 6 mile Prius …

        1. DaveMart says:

          Sorry, typo!
          S/be 50km, not miles, which ain’t so good!
          And that is on the lenient NEDC, so expect around 22 miles on the EPA, which is more realistic for US roads.

    2. Brian says:

      I get what you’re saying, but this is yet another major automaker entering the plug-in space in a big way. I don’t think that they will stand still, and they have as much to gain from technology improvements as GM or anybody else. What VW didn’t do is compromise the internal volume of the car (ok, technically they did – but very little). The Volt is great, but it is too small inside. The main reason is the huge battery for a 40-mile range. A smaller battery yields a better package which appeals to more people.

  7. gra says:

    A small battery also keeps the price down, boosts the CS range, and can easily be charged overnight using L1, lowering the hassle bar to entry. 50km/31 miles NEDC (figure low to mid 20s EPA) will cover around half of the U.s. population’s average daily driving distance (49% drive 20 miles or less). Given workplace L1 also, that jumps up to at least 78% or more. Until batteries get a lot smaller/lighter/less expensive, it makes the most economic and practical sense in a PHEV to buy a battery big enough to cover your typical daily needs which doesn’t reduce your pax or cargo space significantly. That has been a problem with both the Volt and Energis, and I think VW is taking the right approach. The EV purists may not like it, but it’s time to move beyond them to the general public.

    1. DaveMart says:

      They should have a more energy dense battery, probably from LG Chem, which they can stick into the same space within a couple of years, giving those who need it the option of Volt-like AER.

    2. JRMW says:

      All points are noted regarding the eGolf range. I still think it’s a welcome addition. I’m just disappointed in that range but do understand why it was done. I guess it just shows how much further ahead BMW is from the rest of the pack and the wisdom of designing a car bottom up with EV in mind instead of using a cross platform

      Are you sure? I can’t imagine that work place L1 charging is accessible enough to bump the stats from 49-78%.

      1. DaveMart says:

        ? That sounds to me as though two different models are being confused.

        The subject of this thread is the Golf GTE plug in hybrid, which of course has not got the range limitations of the limp home mode of the i3 with the RE, which though has a much higher all electric range, as you would expect from a BEV.

        The E-Golf has comparable range to the i3, although of course it has not got the option of an RE.

        VW and BMW have completely different approaches, and for me at least the BMW one is not clearly superior.

        1. JRMW says:

          Sorry for muddling the picture. I was comparing the GTE to the i3 on purpose, understanding that one is a BEV with Rex and the other a PHEV.

          My thought was that if BMW can make a BEV with Rex that has 72-80 miles AER, then I’d like to see a PHEV that can do around the same distance. I understand they are different technologies, but it makes me wonder if BMW’s choice of BEV with Rex is a wiser choice for the market overall compared to a PHEV. I also feel that the i3 limping problem has more to do with BMW crippling the car to comply with CARB (talk about unintended consequences) as opposed to its technology.

          the PHEV is obviously a superior answer to people who consistently drive long distances (70+ miles, or 40+ miles in winter etc). But I think most consumers drive shorter distances.

          My second muddled point was that the GTE is a welcome addition, but I don’t feel like they’ve moved the ball forward much. It’s similar specs to a 2011 Volt.

          I’m just impatient. I want an A+++ product now. The eGolf and GTE are both probably solid but not a grand slam.

          But clearly we’ll have to wait until 2017/2018 until we get meaningful movement.

  8. Stephen says:

    This is a good start. Hopefully within 6-8 years all manufacturers will be offering cars like this and gasoline consumption will plummet.