Road Test: 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!

Highs

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

Lows

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

Related Stories You Might Enjoy: VW Golf & EV News

Road Test: 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Flash Drive: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

News: EV Onslaught to Begin in 2020

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf (John’s view)

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf (Steve’s view)

News: Volkswagen Introduces I.D. Crozz to EV Lineup

News: Volkswagen Microbus to Return as an Electric

First Drive: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen Golf TSI

+ Other EV Contenders

Top 10 Electric Cars

News: 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Coming with BIG Battery

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

News: Nissan IMx Electric CUV One of Eight New EVs

Flash Drive: Tesla Model 3 Long Range

Road Test: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Personal: One Year with My Chevrolet Bolt EV

News: Kia Niro EV Showcased at 218 CES

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

Flash Drive: 2017 Honda Clarity Electric

News: Honda Takes Wraps Off Sports EV Concept

Disclosure:

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.

Comparison Test: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6 SEL Premium 4Motion vs. Atlas 2.0T SE

Comparison Test: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6 SEL Premium 4Motion vs. Atlas 2.0T SE

VW’s Seven-Passenger Large SUV Siblings

Volkswagen is a latecomer with its three-row Atlas SUV. Designed for the American market, the Atlas lives up to its name–it’s big, which is a good thing if you need to seat up-to seven people. For most, this is something very few of us do on a regular basis. However, if you have a growing family and need the extra storage space for all their (and their friends’) gear, the 2018 Atlas should be on your wish list.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas

VW wants to play with the big boys

VW designed the Atlas interior to be open and inviting, even for passengers venturing into the third row. You need to be a Cirque du Soleil contortionist to access or comfortably sit in the far back of many seven-passenger SUVs. Not so with the Atlas, as VW has made the access easy with fold-and-slide second row seats, and a third row bench with good thigh support and a comfortable angle for the seat back. Maybe six-footers would not want to spend a few hundred miles back there, but anyone shorter would do just fine. A nice feature is that a child car seat can remain attached to the second row when it slides forward for access to the third row. The Nissan Pathfinder has this same convenience.

The beauty of the Atlas interior is how efficient the space is. Achieved by having near squared-off sides and a tall roof, shoulder room is expansive and leg room is good for even the tallest passengers. If you do not want a second row bench seat, Captain’s Chairs are a $625 option.

Available in five trim levels, you can get into a nicely equipped base 2018 Atlas S for about $31,000. This is a compliment to VW, knowing they have to be aggressive on pricing and content to gain awareness in the crowded large SUV segment. As for discriminating consumers, they will be rewarded with a well-built vehicle that can accommodate the complete family.

2.0L Turbo or 3.6L V6/FWD or 4Motion AWD

Clean Fleet Report had the opportunity to drive two Atlases (Atlasi?)—the Atlas SE with the 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 and front-wheel drive (FWD), and the Atlas SEL Premium with the 3.6L V6 with 4Motion (VW’s term for all-wheel drive). Both models had an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. Volkswagen’s 4Motion is a permanent all-wheel-drive system engineered to eliminate wheel spin under almost all conditions. It’s also designed to automatically decouple the rear wheels when the driving load and conditions don’t require the additional traction, saving fuel. It also comes with four drive modes: Highway, Off-road, Snow and Custom. So, what are the differences between the two engines and drive systems?

2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Ready to take the whole gang on or off-road

Here are some stats to get started.

  • 2.0L Turbocharged I4
  • 235 horsepower (hp)
  • 258 pounds-feet (lb.-ft.) torque
  • 22 mpg city/26 highway/24 combined (EPA)

 

  • 3.6L V6
  • 276 hp
  • 266 lb.-ft. torque
  • 17/23/19

It is clear from these numbers that an Atlas, with either engine, is not winning any fuel economy ribbons. Of course, the big trade-off that places an * next to the fuel economy is being able to transport up-to seven people and their gear. Had it not been for the recent diesel scandal, VW most likely would have offered the Atlas with its 3.0L TDI engine, which would have lifted the fuel economy numbers into the low 30 mpg range. The 18.6 gallon fuel tank means that, at a 25 mpg average, your family road trip could rack up more than 450 miles before refilling the tank.

The choice for performance between the two engines is a toss-up. The V6 accelerates smoothly, pulls strong and will be your primary choice if you plan on doing any towing, as it is rated up to 5,000 pounds. Both engines have Stop/Start technology that, while noticeable when the engine kicked in, it was not jarring or loud. The 2.0L Turbo gave peppy performance with good low-end torque, and a bit better fuel economy.

In what we believe afflicted only the car we were driving, Clean Fleet Report’s 2.0L Turbo suffered from stumbling upon acceleration from a stop. No matter how hard we tried, we were unable to find a pressure on the accelerator pedal that would result in a smooth launch. Was this a combination of the Stop/Start, turbo lag, the differential locking or the transmission searching for a gear? We never could figure it out. But, once off the line the 2.0L turbocharged four cylinder was a joy to drive. The turbo did exactly what turbos do by giving instant power when needed, out performing the V6 in all timed categories. We especially liked how we were able to merge onto Southern California freeway traffic with ease and confidence with both engines.

Driving Experience: On the Road

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is balanced nicely and grips the road well. However, the suspension on the 2.0L Turbo FWD was soft, at times suffering from a rolling, sloppy feel. The V6 4Motion did not have this issue, possibly because it weighed-in at 4,502 lbs., while the 2.0L came at 4,222 lbs. (280 lbs. lighter). In both vehicles there was noticeable body roll on hard corners at high speed, but it did not affect confidence because it was easy to predict. Plus taking those corners a bit slower was a good idea anyway.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas

The two models are similar, but with different capabilities

Both FWD and 4Motion Atlas models have identical independent suspensions of front struts, coil springs and an anti-roll bar, while the rear has multi-link with coil springs and telescopic dampers. The 2.0L had 245/60R Continental Cross Contact all-season tires on 18-inch alloy wheels, while the 3.6L had the same tires but on 20-inch alloy wheels.

Driving Experience: Exterior

A couple of years back Volkswagen began standardizing its vehicles on the MQB (Modular Transverse Matrix) architecture. The 2018 Atlas, at 200-inches in length, is easily the largest VW to be adapted to this platform. So how to design a large SUV that did not actually look so large? VW accomplished this nicely with a classic design of pleasing proportions that should hold up for many years. The Atlas is modern with soft, clean lines, but also bold in that it holds a commanding presence on the road.

Volkswagen CrossBlue

VW showed where it was going in the CrossBlue concept SUV

First shown in 2013 as the CrossBlue concept vehicle, Volkswagen retained much of the CrossBlue design by not squaring-off the corners or adding all sorts of scoops and vents. The Atlas is refreshing, clean and simple. The very respectful 0.34 drag coefficient helped the Atlas cut quietly through the wind, even at freeway speeds.

Driving Experience: Interior

The 2018 Atlas has a neat and pleasant interior with a clean fit and finish. Nothing fancy, trendy or quirky. The usual German simplicity, with a good mix of soft and hard plastics, was complimented by tasteful wood-grained and brushed aluminum trim. The white backlighting for the dash gauges added a premium element, which went along with the overall quality materials used throughout the interior.

The center stack features VW’s Car-Net infotainment (information and entertainment) system. Our Atlas SE model had an 8.0-inch color touchscreen for the eight-speaker audio system

2018 Volkswagen Atlas

The VW interiors had an upscale feel

for the AM/FM/HD radio and CD player, with MP3 playback. Also part of the infotainment system is SiriusXM, Bluetooth for telephone and streaming music, and VW’s Media Device Interface (MDI), which includes a SD card and USB slots. Clean Fleet Report’s Atlas SEL Premium had the same screen, but with a Fender audio system and its 12 speakers and subwoofer. Clean Fleet Report is a big fan of knobs. VW makes it easy to operate the radio and the multi-zone climate control system with the turn of a few well placed knobs.

Our Atlas SE had seats covered in VW’s V-Tex Leatherette while the SEL got leather for the front and outward second row seats. Leatherette is a durable fabric technology that is comfortable to the touch and provides good air circulation. Both had heated and power adjustable front seats. There was a good choice of seat settings that, when combined with the height adjustable and telescoping steering column, made it easy to find a comfortable position for the driver. Separating the front seats is a center console offering ample storage and an USB charge-only port. A nice upgrade is the multi-function steering wheel wrapped in leather.

The 60/40 split-folding second row seats were heated on the SEL. Both models had the convenient fold-and-slide second row that made getting to the 50/50 split-folding third row an ease. Storage configurations abound, all depending on how many seats are folded. If you are looking to tote an eight-foot kayak or surfboard, the Atlas can handle it.

Interior conveniences, standard or optional, include remote start, a power tilting and sliding sunroof, remote power lift gate, power windows, keyless access, multi-function steering wheel with audio and telephone controls, power adjustable and manual folding heated exterior mirrors, multiple power ports, front and rear reading lights and carpeted floor mats.

Safety and Convenience

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas has standard or available safety features such as eight airbags, tire pressure monitoring system and an Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS). In case of an accident, the ICRS turns off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors and activates the hazard lights. But the real stand-out coming from Volkswagen is its Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which is pretty self-explanatory. Working in conjunction with the airbag sensors in a collision, the brakes are applied automatically after an accident so your car does not continue moving where it could strike another vehicle or object.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas

There’s room for big stuff in back

Additional safety features include adaptive cruise control, power-assisted anti-lock brakes, park assist, stability control, overhead view and rear view cameras, blind spot monitor, lane departure warning, rear traffic alert, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking. If you have never driven a car with these last two safety features, have your Volkswagen sales representative demonstrate them to you on the highway. Once you have used them, you will feel naked when driving a car that is not similarly equipped.

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas earned a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and a 5 Star Overall rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These are the highest ratings by each organization.

Pricing and Warranties

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas ranges in base price from $30,750 to $48,740. Clean Fleet Report’s Atlas with the 2.0L Turbo and FWD had an MSRP of $33,590, and the 3.6L V6 with 4Motion came in at $48,490. All prices are before any options and the $925 Destination Fee.

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas comes with these warranties:

  • New Vehicle/Powertrain – 72 months/72,000 miles
  • Corrosion Perforation – 84 months/100,000 miles
  • 24 Hour Roadside Assistance – 36 months/36,000 miles         

Observations: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6 4Motion and Atlas 2.0L Turbo FWD

Volkswagen is in the same position as all auto manufactures needing to get the attention of consumers to even consider buying their cars, trucks and SUVs. In the case of the 2018 Atlas, the task for VW is even greater as several competing well-known large SUVs are already on the market . So the question looms of why an Atlas should be in your driveway?

2018 Volkswagen Atlas

A third row for adults!

To start, you won’t be disappointed owning an Atlas as the build quality on Volkswagens is second to none. Choosing either engine, front wheel or all-wheel drive, will be based on your lifestyle and where you live. Will you be going off pavement or pulling a trailer? With the Atlas, Volkswagen gives you good options when needing to transport up-to seven people.

The only way you will know is by going to your local Volkswagen dealer and take all three engine and drive models out on the open highway, around town and if necessary for your intended use, off-road. You may feel the front-wheel-drive Atlas suits your commuting and around town needs, while the Atlas 4Motion fits your adventurous lifestyle just a bit better.

Whatever you end up buying, Happy Driving!

Related Stories You Might Enjoy: Atlas & Other VW Road Tests

Road Test: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6

Road Test: 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Flash Drive: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

News: Volkswagen EV Onslaught to Begin in 2020

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

News: Volkswagen Introduces I.D. Crozz to EV Lineup

News: Volkswagen Microbus to Return as an Electric

Competitive Three-Row SUVs

Road Test: 2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Nissan Pathfinder

News: 2018 Lexus RX 450hL Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander

Top 10 Best MPG AWD SUVs/Crossovers

First Drive: Tesla Model X P100D

Disclosure:

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.

 

 

Road Test: 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Road Test: 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

A Great Crossover Wagon Gets Even Better

Volkswagen has been hard at work beefing up its CUV/SUV offerings over the last 12 months. In 2017 they replaced their German-built Touareg with their first US-built full-sized SUV, the Atlas, introduced an updated Tiguan with American-sized version and introduced an upscale version of the Golf SportWagen named the Alltrack.

2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Don’t call it an off-road station wagon

The Alltrack, introduced in 2017 is a compact AWD station wagon that is designed to compete in the space occupied by the likes of Subaru, Volvo, Audi and Mitsubishi. Granted that US buyers are somewhat averse to the name “Station Wagon,” so VW has revamped the Golf wagon with increased ride height, aggressive body cladding, and VW’s 4Motion AWD system, along with other upscale content.

For 2018, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack continues to improve with added content, new styling, added safety features and lower pricing.

Here’s what’s new for 2018

The 2018 Alltrack is still available in three trims, S, SE, and SEL.

The base S receives new LED taillights, front daytime running lights (DRLs) and automatic headlights with a rain sensor. Inside, the S has a new MIB II infotainment system with VW CarNet, Apple Carplay, Android Auto and Off-road display, with a 6.5-inch color screen.

The 2018 Alltrack SE adds forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking (front assist), as a standard driver assistance feature along with pedestrian monitoring and blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert.

2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

The upgraded, refined interior is full of tech

SE trims also upgrade to an 8.0-inch Composition Media touchscreen infotainment display.

The top-of-line 2018 Golf Alltrack SEL gains a new 8.0-inch Discover Media touchscreen infotainment and navigation display, as well as LED headlights with the Adaptive Front-lighting System. Safety systems that were previously optional are now standard equipment, including:

-Forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian monitoring (front assist),

-Adaptive cruise control (ACC), lane departure warning (lane assist),

-Front and rear park distance control with maneuver braking (ParkPilot),

-Parking steering assistant (park assist) and high beam control (light assist), and

-Standard blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert.

The Power Behind Alltrack

The Alltrack is still powered by a 1.8-liter turbocharged direct injection four-cylinder power plant, which is a destroked version of the 2.0-liter EA888 engine found in the GTI. The Alltrack has 170 horsepower and 199 pounds-feet of torque on tap. This engine is a VW tuner’s favorite engine with a vast number of aftermarket parts to increase both

2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Steady power comes from a turbo four

horsepower and torque. The Alltrack offers two choices of transmission with a six-speed manual transmission or VW’s silky smooth six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic with Tiptronic and paddle shifters.

Delivering power to the road is through VW’s 4Motion AWD system that uses electronic controls to provide power to whichever wheels have the most traction in a variety of terrains via a center differential. On regular road conditions, the differential disconnects the rear drive for maximum fuel economy. Utilizing the stability controls, individual wheels can be locked to prevent slipping while power is transferred seamlessly to the wheel on the opposite side. Up to 50 percent of the drive torque can be transferred to the rear wheels. Hill descent control, an “Off-Road Mode” and increased ground clearance provide exceptional performance on a variety of terrains. The Alltrack borrows VW’s XDS+ cross differential system from the GTI and Golf R. XDS+ is an electronic version of a mechanical limited slip differential for all four wheels for maximum traction.

The Alltrack unibody chassis is beefed up over the regular Golf wagon with two solid-mounted sub-frames, one for each set of drive wheels. The suspension is unique to the Alltrack with a .06-inch increased ride height and tuned shocks, springs and front and rear roll bars for ride comfort on regular roads, but increased travel and rebound control for off-road conditions.

The Key Numbers

For 2018 EPA ratings keep the Alltrack in the AWD 30-MPG Club with scores of 21 city/30 highway/24 combined for the six-speed and 22/30/25 for the automatic. We observed an average of 28.6 MPG during our test of the 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. With the addition of a 14.5-gallon fuel tank, range is increased.

2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

If you squint, it becomes a crossover

Pricing for the 2018 Alltrack is slightly less than the 2017 version mainly due to the shifting of content. The only options for the S and SE trims are the choice of transmission. The SEL only offers the six-speed DSG.

Alltrack S – Six-speed manual $25,955 / Six-speed DSG $27,055

Alltrack SE – Six-speed manual $29,765 / Six-speed DSG $30,865

Alltrack SEL – Six-speed DSG $35,660

The destination charge for all trims is $850

The 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is a worthy competitor to the other CUV wagons on the market today. The build quality is solid, power is smooth, but a bit buzzy at higher RPMs, and the transmissions are flawless. If you are in the market for a small station wagon with some off-road moxie, then make sure the Alltrack is on your consideration list!

Related Stories You Might Enjoy: Other Volkswagen News

Road Test: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Flash Drive: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf (Michael’s view)

News: Volkswagen EV Onslaught to Begin in 2020

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf (John’s view)

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen (Michael’s view)

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf (Steve’s view)

News: Volkswagen Introduces I.D. Crozz

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack (Larry’s view)

News: Volkswagen Microbus to Return as Electric

Comparison Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen SportWagen & Alltrack (John’s view)

First Drive: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf (Steve’s view)

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen Golf TSI

Disclosure:

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.

Road Test: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6

Road Test: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6

Is This Your Best Buy SUV?

Volkswagen has proven that being late to the full-sized, three-row SUV party is not such a bad thing. Despite VW’s attempts at SUVs with the Touareg and Tiguan, which were both quality SUVs, neither really captured the heart of the American SUV buyer. Volkswagen’s latest attempt, the Atlas, is poised to become a best-selling SUV because it hits all of the hot buttons the typical SUV buyer has. It doesn’t break new fuel economy ground, but it acquits itself well against a broad array of competition while delivering the goods in terms of price, utility and features. 

2018 Volkswagen Atlas

It’s a space ship in back

The new Atlas is a real full-sized three-row crossover that seats seven full-sized adults. The Atlas is just the right size at over 200 inches, and over 90 cubic feet of space in the rear with both back seat rows down, 53 cubic feet with the 3rd row down and and 21 cubic feet of space with both rows of seat up. All of this cargo space is available with a perfectly flat floor.

The Atlas is a massive box on 18-inch wheels, the interior is beautiful and spacious with tons of room in the middle and back seats. Ammenties include 17 cup holders, and all sorts of bins and storage in the doors and side areas.

Parts Bin Value

The Atlas draws from the VW part’s bin to maximize its value with the base Atlas starting at just $30,750. Yet at this price it’s no stripper, it uses VW’s tried and true two-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a state of the art eight-speaker infotainment system, LED headlights, dual-zone climate control and front wheel drive. An eight-speed transmission is standard on all Atlas trim levels. And that model will deliver 26 mpg on the highway.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Inside, the Atlas has an upscale feel

The Atlas has a total of 12 levels of trim starting with the $30,750 two-wheel drive 2.0L Turbo up  to the $48,740 3.6L V6 4Motion SEL trim with a digital cockpit and panoramic sunroof.

Our test vehicle was the mid-level trim the front wheel drive V6 SE with the Technology package that has an MSRP of $38,015., Add $1,800 for 4Motion AWD.

The Technology Package

The Technology package includes a rear-view camera system, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring. The package also includes lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, remote engine start, keyless access, SiriusXM, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, VW Car-Net, front and rear USB ports and much more.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas

The choice is there–we challenge you to find one that doesn’t fit

The Atlas sits on the VW MQB architecture that is also the underpinnings of the Golf and other VW vehicles. Because of that, the ride qualities of the Atlas are superb, with only a hint of body roll in some situations. It’s solid German engineering with big American roominess. The V6 has decent gas mileage for the size of the Atlas. EPA averages are 18 city/25 highway/20 combined. Our test vehicle averaged 23 mpg in mixed driving. Clean Fleet Report will be taking a look at the higher mpg versions of the Atlas soon.

With the variety of levels of trim and affordability available, there is an Atlas for every need and pocketbook. The Atlas is a home run for Volkswagen, and it should be at the top of the list for anyone considering a three-row SUV.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy: Other 3-Row SUVs

Road Test: 2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Nissan Pathfinder

News: 2018 Lexus RX 450hL Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander

Top 10 Best MPG AWD SUVs/Crossovers

First Drive: Tesla Model X P100D

Disclosure:

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.

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium

VW’s Versatile Hatchback Ups Its Electric Capabilities

Fun to drive and quiet–and I will buy dinner if you can find a tailpipe. Yeah, I know there are no tailpipes on an all-electric car, but sometimes stating the obvious is necessary to drive home a point.

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

All Golf; all electric

The point is that the Volkswagen Golf line-up is well-known as fun-to-drive small hatchbacks that get excellent fuel economy. The Golf even comes in Hot Hatch GTi and R versions that take the driving experience up a few notches. So with all their worldwide success with the extremely popular Golf platform, why would VW offer an electric Golf? Drive a 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf and the reason becomes clear real, real fast.

e-Golf Technology

The e-Golf has become a favorite at Clean Fleet Report. Introduced in 2014 and unchanged through 2016, the 83-mile driving range was right in line with EV competitors at that time selling in the mid-$30,000 price range. In 2017, the e-Golf has upped the driving range to 125 miles with a very good 119 MPGe, or miles per gallon equivalent. MPGe is an EPA measurement of how far a car can travel, electrically, on the same amount of energy as is contained in one gallon of gasoline.

Charging and Stopping

The 35.8-kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is charged through the 7.2-kW onboard charger, which is standard on the 2017 e-Golf. Additional charging is through the regenerative braking system that converts braking or coasting into electricity. So driving around town, stuck in stop-and-go rush hour freeway traffic or coasting down hills will recharge the battery. The battery charge and mileage range are metered instantly by dash gauges.

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

Three charging level potential

The Li-ion battery is charged through a plug-in port offering three charging speeds. The batteries go from fully discharged to a full charge in:

  • 120V (Level 1)                    16 hours
  • 240V (Level 2)                   6 hours         
  • 480V DC Fast Charging  80% in 60 minutes or less

The Driving Experience

The 100-kW electric motor drives the front wheels, delivering 134 horsepower and 214 pounds-feet of torque that give the e-Golf a fun whoosh-factor. At 3,455 lbs., the 2017 e-Golf is quiet and smooth. The batteries are located under the seats, makes for a sure-footed driving experience that truly shines in city maneuvers and around tight corners. Considering it comes with all-season, non-performance 16-inch tires that are designed for low rolling-resistance, VW was careful not to dial-out too much of what the Golf is known for–a spirited driving car.

Road feel was excellent with rack-and-pinion electric power steering that thankfully was not programmed to take away the fun of driving. Body roll was almost non-existent, even when pushed above recommended corner speed limits, and highway 65+ mph cruising was solid and confident.

Drivers have the choice of driving modes and regenerative braking force. The mode levels go from Normal to Eco and Eco-plus, progressively reducing performance as the electricity use is reduced. You learn pretty quickly that you can’t drive like a racer and expect the e-Golf to get far down the road. Smooth and steady is the prescription for maximizing the 125-mile driving range.

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

You can “C” the e-Golf coming

While there is nothing too unusual about multiple, driver-selected drive modes, the new, very cool and useful technology is the ability to control braking by your fingertips. Found on the left side behind the steering wheel, a paddle shifter, when blipped once, twice and maybe a third time, progressively increases the regenerative braking. What is cool about this is that it is possible, once you get the hang of it, to drive around without using the brake pedal except to make a complete stop. This technique lends itself to getting the most electricity from regenerated braking, as fingertips are far more sensitive than a foot tromping on the brake pedal. There is also a driver-selectable B mode for the heaviest regeneration. I found putting the e-Golf into B mode when going down long declining roads, really had a positive impact–I could see the battery level and driving range increase on the dash gauge.

A good handling car, of course, is nothing without good brakes. The e-Golf comes standard with ABS (an anti-lock braking system), power-assisted front vented and rear solid discs. Handling and driving confidence was also aided by the standard electronic stability control, brake-pressure distribution and hydraulic brake assist.

Driving Experience: Interior

Golf’s interiors are known for their clean fit and finishes. Renowned for being German tight, the e-Golf has a good mix of soft and hard plastics, with the simple layout of all gauges uncomplicated by fake woods, plastic chrome pieces or other design gimmicks. Volkswagen says their “driver-centric design focus” begins with the center stack being angled towards the driver: a design feature usually found on more upscale cars. The white backlighting for the dash gauges also added a premium element.

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

The cockpit is driver-oriented–as is the whole car

The heated V-Tex leatherette front seats have better-than-average bolstering, with the driver’s side getting power adjustments for height, sliding and lumbar adjustment. There was a good choice of seat settings that, when combined with the height adjustable and telescoping steering column, made a comfortable position easy to find. Especially noticeable was how far back the driver’s seat slides: no circus contorting for the six-foot-plus crowd. Visibility was excellent and exterior noise was deadened to near nothing. The center console has a height-adjustable armrest and storage area. Head, leg, elbow and shoulder room was accommodating, even for 6-foot-plus drivers and passengers.

Storage space, accessed through the rear hatch, is more like that of the largest midsize sedans. And, if it is only the driver and front seat passenger on a long weekender, the rear seat (with a ski pass-through) has a very handy system for lowering the 60/40 split seatback to an almost-flat position, providing 52.7 cu. ft. of cargo capacity–large enough for a full-size bicycle. Access through the rear doors was easy, with rear leg and head room accommodating for all but the tallest passengers.

Taking center stage on the dash of our SEL Premium trim level e-Golf was the eight-inch color touchscreen that handles the navigation and rear view camera. The centerpiece of the infotainment system is the eight-speaker sound system, delivering deep, full crisp tones for the AM/FM/HD radio and CD player. Also part of the infotainment system is SiriusXM (a must for those fuel-efficient road trips), Bluetooth for telephone and streaming music. Standard on all e-Golf trim levels is Volkswagen’s CarNet connected car technology that provides a seamless link between the car and an iPhone, Android smartphone or computer. Volkswagen says it “keeps you connected with your car even when you’re apart.” Now, isn’t that something we all dream of?

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

The hatch can swallow a lot of luggage

Clean Fleet Report is a big fan of knobs and switches for the radio and climate controls. VW does a nice job of making it easy to operate the radio and dual-zone HVAC system, with the turn of a few knobs. The black dash has accents of chrome, aluminum and piano-black finishes, and a leather-wrapped gearshift knob and hand brake handle.

Other conveniences are rain-sensing windshield wipers with heated washer nozzles, power windows with one touch operation and pinch protection, keyless access, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, power adjustable and manual folding exterior mirrors, multi-function car analytics and trip computer display, multiple power ports, front and rear reading and ambient lights, and front and rear carpeted floor mats and rear air vents.

Driving Experience: Exterior

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

The Golf’s got some edges in its styling

If you are a fan of classic German design, the e-Golf will not disappoint. The front end leads off with a narrow grill, sleek Halogen headlights on the outer fender edges, all leading to the character line that extends to the horizontal tail lamps. A design element unique to the e-Golf are the “C”-shaped daytime running lights, which present an interesting look at night. The steeply sloped hood and raked windshield lead to a roof with a shark fin antenna and an integrated spoiler, ending with a large rear window with a wiper and LED taillights. This design is based on the MQB (Modular Transverse Matrix) architecture and has a “cab backward” look that gives it a lower visual center of gravity.  All this has created aerodynamic reduction with a drag coefficient of .027, placing the e-Golf with the likes of the Audi A6, BMW i8 and Nissan GT-R.

Safety and Convenience

All 2017 Volkswagen e-Golfs come with eight airbags, a tire pressure monitoring system, Intelligent Crash Response System with forward collision warning, and the Automatic Post Collision Braking System. Clean Fleet Report’s SEL Premium had automatic LED headlights and LED daytime running lights, and rear parking distance control sensors, lane assist, blind spot monitoring and park assist.

Pricing, Warranties and Safety

There are three 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf models.

  • SE                           $30,495
  • Limited Edition   $33,795
  • SEL Premium      $36,995 (Clean Fleet Report’s MSRP)

All prices do not include the $850 destination charge.

The 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf has not been rated by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, the gasoline-powered Golf received the highest ratings from IIHS as a Top Safety Pick, and a Five Star rating from NHTSA.

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

The e-Golf has some nice touches–like a blue door sill light

The 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf comes with these warranties:

  • New Vehicle: Three years/36,000 miles
  • Powertrain: Five years/60,000 miles
  • High Voltage System: Five years/60,000 miles
  • High Voltage Battery: Eight years/100,000 miles
  • Roadside Assistance: Three years/36,000 miles
  • Corrosion Perforation: 12 years/120,000 miles

Observations: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium

The e-Golf is a very comfortable and well-designed car. With great handling, a spirited all-electric driving experience and an intuitive interior, it lives up to its German heritage. The four-door 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf is the most solidly built of its direct competitors.

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

The most solid electric in this segment

Five seat all-electric compacts that sell against the e-Golf include the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus, Hyundai Ioniq, Kia Soul and Fiat 500e (though a little below compact size). Sales currently are limited to California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington D.C. If you live in one of these states then the e-Golf should be very high on your consideration list.

If you don’t live in any of these states and must have an all-electric car now, Clean Fleet Report gives high marks to the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf, which are direct competitors to the e-Golf, but are available nationwide.

Whatever you end up buying, enjoy your new car and as always, Happy Driving!

In order to give you, the reader, the best perspective on the many vehicles available, Clean Fleet Report has a variety of contributors. When possible, we will offer you multiple perspectives on a given vehicle. This comes under SRO-Second Road Test Opinion. We hope you’ll enjoy these diverse views–some are just below—and let us know what you think in comments below or at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf (Steve’s view)

First Drive: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen Golf TSI

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Disclosure:

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.