2015 Volkswagen e-Golf, German Efficiency and Zero Emissions [Review]

2015 VW e-Golf

The 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf is the all-electric version of VW’s best-selling sub-compact hatchback. Quiet as a summer breeze, the e-Golf has all the charming attributes of a regular Golf, plus the added benefit of zero tailpipe emissions.


Electric Motor Power Torque Transmission MSRP Price As-Tested Rating
Synchronous AC Permanent Magnet 115 hp 199 lb-ft 1-speed automatic $35,445 $36,265 Lease it!


New for 2015 is the seventh generation Golf (Mk VII) that is slightly longer, wider, and lower than the previous generation Mk VI . Sharper body lines, swept back LED headlights, and curved taillights impart a stylish appearance without screaming “look at me!” This understated air of sophistication carries over to the interior. Quality of the fit and finish, appearance, ergonomics, usability, and practicality is supremely high–striking an agreeable balance between form and function.

Distinguishing the e-Golf from the conventionally powered Golf family are distinctive daytime running lights, blue accents, and aerodynamic wheels.

2015 VW e-Golf

The VW e-Golf has the same exterior and interior dimensions as the Mk VII (7th generation) 5-door models, which means interior passenger and cargo space has not been compromised. Compared to a non-electric powered Golf, it still has almost 23 cubic feet of storage space behind the rear seats and more than 52 cubic feet cargo capacity when the 60/40 split folding rear seats are folded flat. For comparison, the Nissan Leaf has 24 cubic feet of cargo capacity when the back seat is upright and only extends to 30 cubic feet when back seats are folded down.

While the interior of the 2015 e-Golf looks almost like the previous generation, upon closer examination you will notice everything has been refined to look more cohesive and more upscale. The center console stack flows better downward from the infotainment display, climate controls, covered storage bin, and all the way to the center arm rest.

2015 VW e-Golf interior

The dashboard design is smoother and has lots of soft-touch surface area. Unlike other Evs and hybrids, VW omitted the disco light show and sophisticated displays showing power consumption/regeneration. The instrument pod in front of the driver is similar to a regular Golf that has analog gauges with a few changes. The tachometer has been replaced with a power meter showing how power is being used or the rate of charge. The temperature gauge is now an “available power” gauge that tells you how much power you can draw from the battery pack. Certainly less sophisticated, but also less distracting when driving.

The front-wheel-drive 2015 VW e-Golf is powered by an electric motor is good for 115 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. The system draws power from a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that can be recharged to 80 percent capacity in less than 30 minutes when connected to a DC fast charger. All e-Golf models offer Normal, Eco and Eco+ drive modes that are designed to conserve energy. Also, there are three regenerative braking modes, which converts the car’s forward momentum into battery energy when the driver lifts off the accelerator. This mode is also useful for controlling speed when going down hills.

2015 VW e-Golf

On the road the e-Golf assumes the well-mannered driving dynamics of its Golf brethren. We discovered that precise tuning of the chassis tuned out the rough stuff while retaining just the right amount of rigidity for spirited driving. The steering’s weighted response is near flawless at both low and high speeds. Cabin noise is considerably quieter than a Hyundai Elantra GT or Fiat 500e. And better isolated from wind noise than a Ford Focus.

The smooth and linear, almost silent flow of power from the electric system has the advantage of being ready with a quick throttle response and 100 percent of its torque at the drop of your foot. Zero to 60 mph isn’t much quicker than a Prius at 10 seconds. Top speed is 87 mph. Power does taper off as the car’s speed builds, but acceleration up to highway speeds is more than acceptable.

2015 VW e-Golf instrument cluster

With a 700 pound battery pack mounted underneath the floorpan, the e-Golf has low center of gravity and scoots around corners like a sports car. Body roll is kept to a minimum thanks to the German-tuned suspension. Overall, the e-Golf handles with metered consistency and well-rounded predictability one would expect from any member of the Golf family.

How does the VW e-Golf stand up to the competition? Style, ergonomics, and functionality of the e-Golf trump the Nissan Leaf easily. Plus, it has more cargo space than the Leaf. Driving dynamics match the fun and sporty Fiat 500e. Driving range of the e-Golf is similar to both. The next question is: are all the these points compelling enough to justify the higher price the e-Golf has over the competition, which is priced thousands of dollars lower?

Here are Roman and Emme’s first impressions after driving the VW e-Golf at Volkswagen’s media event.

Other all-electric cars you might consider:
Nissan Leaf, Fiat 500e, Ford Focus Electric, Chevrolet Spark EV

Specifications: 2015 VW e-Golf SEL Premium

  • MSRP Base Price: $35,445
  • Price as Tested: $36,265
  • Electric Motor: Synchronous AC Permanent Magnet
  • Power: 115 hp
  • Torque: 199 lb-ft
  • Battery: 24.2 kWh Lithium-ion
  • DC Fast Charging Capability: Yes
  • Transmission: 1-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain Layout: FWD
  • Front Suspension: Strut-type with lower control arms, coil springs, shocks, anti-roll bar
  • Rear Suspension: Multi-link with coil springs, shocks, anti-roll bar
  • Brakes: Power-assisted, dual circuit, 11.3×1.0-inch vented front discs and 10.7×0.4-inch solid rear discs
  • Tires: Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 Plus 205/55R16 (Grand Touring All-Season)
  • Wheelbase: 103.6 in.
  • Length / Width / Height: 168.1 in. / 70.8 in. / 57.1 in.
  • Ground Clearance: 5.0 inches
  • Curb Weight: 3,391 lb
  • Turning Radius: 35.8 ft
  • MPGe: 126 city / 105 hwy / 116 combined
  • Range: 83 miles