• 2018 Volkswagen e-Golf

Road Test: 2018 Volkswagen e-Golf

The Best Value EV available today?

In 2018 the battery electric vehicle (BEV) revolution is firmly in place, with BEVs here to stay. There is now a myriad of BEVs for the buyer to choose from, but now the question is—Which one is the best value today?

BEVs primarily fall into three categories:

2018 Volkswagen e-Golf

Outstanding in its field

  1. Short-range or “1st Generation” BEVs that have a range under 110 miles,
  2. Mid-range BEVs that have official ranges of 125 to 200 miles, and
  3. Long-range BEVs that have published mileage ranges more than 200 miles.

Pricing for short and mid-range BEVs start under $35K, and long-range cars start between $40K and $65K.

Add to this all BEVs are not sold nationally; with some only sold in the 16 states that have adopted California’s more stringent emission standards.

But if you live in one of these 16 states and are in the market for a best-in-class BEV, may I suggest that you consider the 2018 Volkswagen e-Golf.

A Golf Is a Golf

We’ve just spent the last week living with the 2018 Volkswagen e-Golf and came away very impressed.  Now we have to admit that we are a big fan of the VW Golf and the author has owned many Golfs over the years including his current daily driver a VW GTI.  But we are also a big proponent of BEVs and have a high bar to reach when it comes to five-door hatchbacks regardless if they are ICE or BEVs.

The MQB platform is the basis of e-Golf, which is Volkswagen’s first serious effort into BEVs.  It’s also the basis of all Golf vehicles as well as its newest SUVs like the Atlas and Tiguan. The e-Golf’s chassis has the battery under the car so that it does not take up any interior or cargo space.  It’s quite a feat of engineering that also keeps the Golf’s center of gravity right where it needs to be.

2018 Volkswagen e-Golf

Motors in the e-Golf quietly motivate the EV

The current e-Golf came to market in 2014 with a range of only 80 miles, but for 2017 the car was upgraded with a larger motor and a more substantial battery that boasted an EPA rated range of 126 miles.  But does the revised e-Golf only have a real-world range of 126 miles?  Our experience and those of our colleagues would suggest that the real world range is an outstanding 177 or more miles.  We consistently enjoyed mileage more than the EPA rated miles and drove the e-Golf at least 150 miles several times! It looks like Volkswagen is sandbagging the range on the e-Golf.

The range of the e-Golf puts it squarely in the mid-range BEV category with the 2018 Nissan Leaf.  While the 2017-18 e-Golf and the 2018 Leaf are similar in many ways, the e-Golf has a more powerful 7.2 kW on-board charger, and an SAE DC fast-charger that is also more powerful than the Leaf’s and can do an 80 percent charge in an hour.  The e-Golf’s electric motor is 134 hp.

Ah, German Engineering

The German-built e-Golf build quality is typical of VW, rock solid with no rattles or creaks.  The Golf’s legendary chassis tuning provides a ride that is firm but compliant and soaks up the bumps with grace and style.  At speed, the e-Golf is eerily quiet, with no wind noise or road noise at all.  The 16-inch all-season Continental tires provided a very smooth and silent ride.

The 2018 Volkswagen e-Golf’s battery is rated at 35.8 kWh and is air-cooled like the Leaf’s, and seems to stand up to the heat generated by fast-charging very well.  Our e-Golf tester stood up to multiple fast-charges with no slowdown in charging speeds.

While Volkswagen’s MSRP pricing for the e-Golf is similar to the Leaf with a fully equipped e-Golf SEL model topping out at about $39,100 and a fully equipped Leaf SL MSRP coming in at about $38,200, incentives from both manufacturers make street pricing about the same.

The Inside Story

2018 Volkswagen e-Golf

Inside it’s classic Golf

The cockpit of the e-Golf is much like other Golf variants, but utilizes VWs top-tier configurable digital cockpit instrument cluster and an 8.0-inch glass touchscreen display.  Apple Carplay and Android Auto are standard.

The 2018 Volkswagen e-Golf is an excellent effort by Volkswagen for its first foray into the world of BEVs.  It bears serious consideration by anyone looking for a mid-range Battery Electric Vehicle.  After VW’s diesel scandal, they have seen the light, and are all-in on EVs.  They will be launching a dedicated EV platform called MEB for the next generation of BEVs expected to be available starting in the next two years. That makes us all the more excited to see what they have up their sleeve!


  • Solid nimble handling
  • Rock solid workmanship
  • Range that outperforms its ratings
  • Robust Charging


  • Available only in 16 states
  • Pricier than a regular Golf
  • Only EV that VW offers today

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Flash Drive: 2018 Nissan Leaf (John’s view)

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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

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About Author: Gary Lieber

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