by John Tallodi
Early adopters into the world of electric cars tend to fluctuate between being either pleased or frustrated with the constantly evolving offerings on sale depending on what stage of the ownership process they are currently in.
The 2017 e-Golf has just gone through such an evolutionary bump and now offers more power and an increased range over last year’s model as well as more standard equipment on the base trim level.
There is little to differentiate the e-Golf from its more conventionally powered siblings in the range and the logically laid out controls, supportive seats and generally high quality interior are all present and correct.
A larger touchscreen now graces the dashboard and only the unique instrumentation, blue color highlights and uniquely styled seat coverings differ from the standard models. Passengers in the rear are well catered for too and the battery pack is mounted underneath the floor so that it does not impinge on the generous cargo area either.
The e-Golf responds to throttle inputs with the eerily silent immediacy that is common to most electric vehicles, it feels strong in city driving conditions and cruises comfortably and quietly at the highway speed limit.
Braking performance is strong despite its high curb weight, and, thanks to its lower center of gravity it actually feels better resolved going around corners than its gasoline powered counterparts.
A number of different driving modes alter the power output and braking strength so that careful driving can have a marked impact on the available range.
The e-Golf has received a power boost for 2017 and now packs a 134 hp electric motor that delivers an instant 214 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels. There is one gear so progress is seamless but acceleration does diminish as speeds rise and it is limited to 85 mph.
The 35.8 kWh battery pack is larger too and now promises up to a 125-mile range. It gets to 60 mph in a claimed 9.6-seconds which matches up well to its Ford and Chevy rivals.
The torque delivery makes it feel much more potent than that figure though and the e-Golf responds with a satisfying immediacy that makes overtaking and merging onto the highway no problem at all.
Available in two trim levels the base SE starts off with a decent range of equipment.
Notable standard features include dual-zone climate control, cruise control, keyless entry and start, powered and heated front seats, 8-inch touchscreen with USB port, Bluetooth integration and a rearview camera.
Safety systems include hydraulic brake assist, an intelligent crash response system and an electronic differential lock. The 7.2kW on-board charger is now standard across the range and an electrically heated windshield, LED taillights and LED daytime running lights as well as 16-inch wheels with unique alloy design are standard fitment too.
A notable and useful option is the DC fast charging system which lowers charging time to four hours when connected to a 240v charger.
The SEL Premium trim adds leatherette seat coverings, LED headlights, navigation system, park distance control and ambient lighting. This trim also offers a Driver Assistance Package which includes forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, digital cockpit, lane, light and parking steering assist, adaptive cruise control and blind spot detection.
The fast-moving world of electric vehicles makes for continuously improving technologies that threaten to make each preceding model an interesting footnote.
When it comes to the revised 2017 e-Golf, it has improved in key areas over its already capable forebear and is now good enough to recommend without fear of it becoming redundant when the inevitable new technological innovations arrive in the near future.