Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium: How Sporty is VW’s Greenest Golf? [Review]

At first glance, you might think this car to be a standard Golf. But what is the e-Golf like to live with?

The Volkswagen e-Golf is a sporty hatchback that debuted as a 2015 model – the German automaker’s first fully electric vehicle for the U.S. marketplace. As a part of the Golf family, it joined the more than 30 million Golf models sold worldwide. The e-Golf is part of Volkswagen’s “Think Blue” approach to sustainable and efficient mobility. Charging solutions from Bosch and Chargepoint, along with a Roadside Assistance Plan and the VW Car-net e-Golf app are designed to make ownership of the e-Golf a reassuring and pleasurable experience. That helps to take the anxiety out of the “range anxiety” plaguing most vehicles that are propelled exclusively by electricity.

An all-electric Golf: By the numbers

VW claims the e-Golf to be the most versatile electric vehicle in its class. Its drivetrain consists of a forward-mounted 35.8 kWh Synchronous AC Permanent Magnet Electric Motor with a 36.8 lithium-ion battery pack. Producing 324 volts in 264 cells, the whole pack weighs 710 lbs. The motor’s energy drives the front wheels through a direct drive automatic transmission with a single-speed forward gear and reverse.

Standard DC fast charging capability allows for the battery to achieve an 80 percent charge within 30 minutes. Recharging may also be accomplished with 110/120 volt socket, which takes approximately 20 hours and a 240-volt wallbox delivers a complete recharge in less than four hours. Volkswagen estimates the e-Golf’s range is 125 miles. The e-Golf was the first U.S. Marketed VW to be outfitted with all-LED headlights.

Reining in the e-Golf are power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes with three-channel, 4-wheel ABS, EBD, ESC and a regenerative braking system that helps to replenish battery power. The e-Golf rolls on Bridgestone Ecopia 205/55 R16 all-season low-rolling resistance tires.

The Volkswagen e-Golf’s wheelbase measures out to 103.5-inches. The overall length, however, comes out to 168.1 inches. It is 70.8 inches wide and 57.1 inches tall, and weighs in at 3,455 pounds. As the front grille is shrouded – it doesn’t need as much air, after all – the e-Golf’s drag coefficient is a slippery 0.27.


The e-Golf’s exterior design is, for the most part, shared with other members of the new Golf family. The lines are sharp and well defined featuring dynamic proportions. There are however, some key distinguishing features. The most notable of those features is the energy-efficient LED headlights. These LED clusters are complemented by C-shaped LED daytime running light strips in the bumper below. Other elements that define the e-Golf’s all-electric composition are unique badges and blue accents, as well as the lack of any tailpipes. The 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels that fit snugly within the pronounced wheel arches.

2017 vw e-golf interior


The interior incorporates all of the common elements found in the rest of the Golf stable, while adding special accents and a specific instrument cluster that displays the status of the electric system’s unique operation. To the right of the power display, is a conventional speedometer with a lower section that depicts the current stage of the battery’s charge.

The e-Golf provides two technologies allowing the driver to exercise control over the vehicle’s energy consumption: there are three driving profiles designed to preserve energy – (“Normal”, “Eco” and “Eco+”); and there are also three levels of regenerative braking (“D1”, “D2”, and “D3/”B”). The e-Golf automatically defaults to the “Normal” driving mode, offering full horsepower and torque. The ”Eco” mode allows limited horsepower torque. The various “D” settings for regenerative braking determine the levels of regenerative power.

The e-Golf comes with a full complement of both passive and active safety systems and features, matching the rest of the golf lineup.

2017 VW e-Golf instrument pod analog gauges
Volkswagen e-Golf. [Photo: TFLcar]


My most recent test vehicle was the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium – the last year for which the e-Golf is available. The base price is $36,995, which totaled $37,845 after adding the destination and delivery charge. It was fully loaded with no additional options.

Standard features included LED headlights and running lights, an onboard charger, 16-inch alloy wheels and a touchscreen navigation and infotainment system. V-Tex leatherette seating also comes standard, as well as a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, heated front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control. Finally, you get front and rear Park Distance Control, a rearview camera and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

If you’re looking for a 2017-2018 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL, it’s only sold in select states. However, Volkswagen is growing the available infrastructure, so it may become available in a wider area.

2017 VW e-Golf all-electric powertrain


Driving the e-Golf is actually fun, and it is actually better planted than some of its stablemates, due to the low positioning of the battery which weighs 701 pounds, and is composed of 264 individual prismatic cells that due to their efficiency, require no special cooling system. The cells are integrated in 27 modules of either six or 12 cells each, collectively producing a nominal rating of 323 volts and an overall capacity of 35.8 kWh. The battery has a limited warranty that covers eight years or 100,000 miles against 70 percent capacity.

Handling characteristics are sporty, with an on-center steering feel and the ride quality is firm, but not harsh. The range depends on your driving style, terrain and temperature, of course. However, with VW’s Roadside Assistance Plan, if the e-Golf runs out of charge within 100 miles of the owner’s home, Volkswagen will arrange for the car to be delivered to a nearby, convenient source for recharging. They’ll also pay for any taxi or transportation fees incurred by the owner. There’s also an impressive Limited Warranty and Scheduled maintenance program that enhances e-Golf ownership.

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf
2017 VW e-Golf [Photo: Volkswagen]


The VW e-Golf is certainly one of the more affordable and versatile electric vehicles available in today’s marketplace, if you reside in one of the select areas where it’s sold. By the way, the stated cost, does not take into account the available tax credits and rebates that are available federally and regionally.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium

On Sale: Now
Base MSRP: $36,995
Price as Tested:
Engine: 100kW synchronous AC permanent magnet electric motor with a 36.8 lithium-ion battery pack – 324 V in 264 cells weighing 710 lbs.
Drivetrain (Layout): Front mounted motor, front-wheel drive
Horsepower: 134 hp
Torque: 214 lb-ft
Transmission: Automatic Single speed forward gear and reverse.
Suspension: Front: Strut-type with lower control arms, coil springs,
telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar.Rear: Multilink with coil springs, telescopic dampers
and anti-roll bar
Brakes: Power-assisted, dual circuit four-wheel discs (vented front) with three-channel, 4-wheel ABS, EBD and ESC.
Tires: Bridgestone Ecopia 205/55 R16 all-seasons
Electric range: 125 miles
Economy (EPA): 126 city / 111 Hwy / 119 combined MPGe


Wheelbase: 103.5 inches
Length: 168.1 inches
Width: 70.8 inches
Height: 57.2 inches
Turning Circle: 35.8 feet
Curb Weight: 3,455 pounds