Is the e-Golf a True Hot-Hatch or an EV in Disguise?
I had the keys to an e-Golf for a week. Here are my thoughts.
I stated in a previous article that the Golf GTI still holds the benchmark for the modern day hot-hatch. Now that there is an all-electric variant of the famous hatchback, does it have what it takes to be a true hatchback? Or is it just a boring EV with a Golf body? Volkswagen gave me the keys to try it out for me to see if I can answer my question. Other hatchback models by different manufacturers don't hold a candle to the nameplate as the Golf does. So, let's find out then, shall we?
There is not much difference in styling with the e-Golf when compared to its fuel powered model. The main thing one sees are the badges and accents that make up some of the design. The most notable details are the blue "e" next to each "Golf" badge and the blue accent line on the grille. The rest of the car is plain and simple.
Interior styling doesn't change as much either. The only four noticeable design changes are the blue accents seen at night, the cluster, the "e-Golf" badge near the shifter, and the infotainment screen that, thankfully, has a faster input response than the ones found in other VW models. The seats are quite comfortable as well as the room inside the cabin. This is pretty much a given because it is a hatchback body.
Price and Options
Now, for just under $40,000, this model can be for anyone who wants to pay the price. It comes with, for safety, ABS, multiple airbags with advanced protection, anti-slip regulation and engine brake assist. Yes, it has EBA just because apparently. That was read correctly. Electronic brake-pressure distribution and hydraulic brake assist, stability and traction control with electronic differential lock, adaptive cruise control, park distance control, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, and lane keep assist. For technology and convenience, the e-Golf comes with sat-nav, a motion sensored infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity that has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, tilting and telescoping steering wheel, ambient lighting, and heated front seats. All-in-all, it is pretty basic.
So, how does this all fall into if the e-Golf is a proper hatchback and not just any EV? It pretty much is judged by how it performs. Sure, anyone could put a hot hatch body on a electric car and call it a day. But not when it comes to the Golf, it is entirely different. It needs to feel like a Golf because if it felt like anything else, it would stain the name with a gimmick that people would hate. So, does it perform like a Golf? In most cases, yes it does. Sure it can accelerate from 0-60 in a mere 8.4 seconds. Slower than the Mk1 Golf GTI by 0.3 seconds. The battery horsepower output is a measly 134 horsepower. That is less horsepower than an old 2001 Honda Accord without the V-Tec. Where it shines is in the corners. With its four-wheel independent suspension and an electronic differential, the e-Golf glides through the corners as if on the same track the Golf GTI is on. Not only that, but the ride comfort is just as good, if not better than the Golf GTI.
But there are 2 problems with the e-Golf: the charge range and the end of the power range. A fully charged e-Golf that is put into "Eco+" mode can only go as far as 150 miles but it significantly drops when I use the air conditioning. It is almost like the fuel range muscle cars in the past. As for the power range, I mean it in the sense of highway driving. When planting my foot all the way to the floor, at one point in time the e-Golf seems to catch asthma and no longer wants to go any faster. It struggles to keep going like "RC" in the first "ToyStory" movie. Luckily, "Buzz" had a rocket attached to him to keep up with "Andy" and the moving van. But in the e-Golf, I could just feel it not wanting to go any faster. It was as if the electric gear wasn't able to spin any faster.
So, what the answer to the major question at hand? Is it a proper hatchback or just an EV in disguise? In my conclusion, it is a proper hot-hatch. I say this because of how it performs. Yes, it has horrible battery range and yes it will give up the power to go on any faster, but this is the beginning of everything. Just like the beginning of all things, car enthusiasts don't need to fear that EV's will ruin the relationship people have with cars. They can still be fun to drive. I just would not travel too far from home or a charge station. If this is rock bottom, the only way to go is up.
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