Volkswagen Golf Plug-In Hybrid Test Drive Review


VW Golf Plug-In Hybrid (via xeroyukix/youtube)

VW Golf Plug-In Hybrid (via xeroyukix/youtube)

Volkswagen is now so fond (perhaps there’s some sarcasm there) of plug-in vehicles that it’s making not one, but two plug-in versions of the VW Golf.

Volkswagen e-Golf - Note: There's a Plug-In Hybrid Version Coming Too

Volkswagen e-Golf – Note: There’s a Plug-In Hybrid Version Coming Too

First up is the e-Golf, a pure electric version that will launch in the US in late 2014.

Though its price remains a mystery, the e-Golf has received some fairly positive reviews and it’s out belief that if it’s priced reasonably well and sold nationwide, it could be an immediate hit.

Next is the plug-in hybrid Golf.  Volkswagen has not yet committed to a timeline for launching this version in the US, though we are promised it’s coming.

The plug-in hybrid Golf is still in the prototype stage, though it’s nearly in production form now and likely only requires some tweaking to powertrain functionality ( i.e. engine cut in, mapping, shifting etc.) before it’s ready to go.

We’re well aware of what it’s like behind the wheel of the e-Golf, but what’s it like to drive the plug-in hybrid version?

For an answer to that, we need look no further than a recent Autcar review of the VW Golf plug-in hybrid, but first let’s look at the known specs:

  • 0-62 mph: 7.6sec
  • Top speed: 135 mph
  • Top speed in electric mode: 81 mph
  • Economy 188.3 mpg – CO2 35 g/km NEDC
  • Electric range: 31 miles NEDC
  • Weight: 3,373 pounds
  • 1390 cc turbocharged gas engine 148 hp – 184 pound-feet of torque
  • Gearbox: six-speed dual clutch

Below, we’ve focused on some of the most important aspects from Autocar’s review, though we suggest you read it in its entirety by following the link down below:

e-Golf Interior - Note: We Suspect the Plug-In Hybrid's Interior Will Look Very Similar

e-Golf Interior – Note: We Suspect the Plug-In Hybrid’s Interior Will Look Very Similar

“The new Volkswagen Golf Plug-in Hybrid is the result of what the German car maker describes as its most ambitious new model project to date – bigger in scale and funding than any existing petrol or diesel engine model.”

“By adopting elements of the less-advanced hybrid system used by the American-market Jetta Hybrid in combination with its latest in plug-in know-how, Volkswagen has created the first series production petrol-electric Golf with an impressive blend of performance and economy, including the ability to operate purely on electricity for a worthwhile distance.”

“…Among the developments is a decoupling mechanism to permit drag free coasting. Volkswagen considers this a more efficient use of kinetic energy than the recuperation systems used by rivals.”

“The efforts of the petrol engine and electric motor endow the Golf Plug-in Hybrid with genuinely convincing performance properties despite a 1530kg kerb weight well above any existing Golf model. It is not quite in the same league as the Golf GTI for outright accelerative ability, but with a claimed 0-62mph time of 7.6sec, it is not far away.”

“Solid reserves of torque from the get-go provide urgent step off qualities away from traffic lights and a flexible nature to the delivery on the run, making the new Volkswagen completely fuss free to drive. Mechanical refinement is excellent, with excellent cruising ability over longer journeys.”

“…Less satisfactory is the ride, which in the early pre-production version we drove proved quite firm, lacking the overall compliance and fluency of other recent Golf models.”

The plug-in hybrid Golf is expected to launch in the UK in mid-2014.  It likely won’t make its way to the US until sometime in 2015.  Whether or not it sells well will depend on its price, as well as its price in relation to the e-Golf.  Which one will cost more?  It’ll be tricky for VW to pull these two near-simultaneous launches off with success.  In fact, VW is venturing into uncharted waters here as no other automaker has ever launch a pure BEV version alongside a PHEV of the same model at nearly the same time.

Source: Autocar

Categories: Test Drives, Volkswagen


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11 Comments on "Volkswagen Golf Plug-In Hybrid Test Drive Review"

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I like the e-Golf much more than their Econo-Up EV…

Drag free coasting sounds really nice to me. The lack of that is one of my gripes with the Tesla Model S.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater


Presumably at any speed the motor will either be propelling or regenerating since there’s no such thing as ‘drag free’ unless you’re in outer space. Set the cruise control and let the car figure out the most efficient way to go.

One of the things I really like about my Volt is that it uses regeneration to maintain a set speed on cruise control down hills.

Both regen and using the gas pedal are less efficient than just letting it roll. I find the Volt remarkably free in ‘D’, vs. other automatics, and completely free (down to rolling/air resistance) in ‘N’, which I frequently use. On the short list of “better than Tesla” is the ability to dial up the regen when you see sudden traffic ~200yds away. Just slip it in ‘L’. Sounds like it is a bit of a drill in the Musk mobile, and not like the upcoming paddles in the ELR, or as mentioned below with the Smart. A shame because a 4,800lb car has a lot more kinetic energy to harvest. Brakes don’t do it as well as transmission systems, so I’ve read anyway.

my smart ED can coast with no regen or have heavy regen with the simple click of paddles

That’s the way it should be done on all EVs.

Hypermilers will love the drag free coasting!

i think it is awesome to release a phev and ev of the same bodystyle. There are so many differences between current cars like the Leaf vs. Volt that it is hard to pinpoint all of the reasons why consumers pick one over another. But in this case, the drivetrain is the only diffeernce and so it will be great to see whether pure BEV or PHEV sells better with all other things being equal.

Of course I’m still not sure what type of PHEV we’re dealing with here. Is it a full power EREV setup like the Volt or is it a weak PHEV like the Ford Energi products and the Prius plug-in?

If VW wants to make it a winner, they need to offer cabriolet version – people will throw money at them.

Am I missing something, or isn’t this simply the VW version of the 2015 Audi A3 e-Tron?

In my experience, any EV that has significant regen on throttle lift-off has a neutral point in the throttle map such that you can coast if you just feather the throttle. I’ve done this on at least 4 different EVs, it’s just a matter of getting used to the throttle mapping.