Road Tests

Volkswagen Golf GTE


thumbs upFine daily driver, no range anxiety, totally familiar

thumbs downSharp ride, not a GTi, not as economical as promised

Should You?

The plug in Golf blends a 1.4 petrol engine and an electric motor to give 201 bhp, up to 60 mpg and everything you’d expect from VW’s most admired hatchback. Despite a sub eight second 0-60 time it doesn’t feel like a hot hatch but does deliver big benefits if you’re a company car driver. Ideal on motorways but capable of running short town distances on battery power alone you’ll pay half the monthly Benefit in Kind you would with a diesel version. Apart from a slightly smaller boot interior packaging and space is identical to a normal Golf and everything feels reassuringly familiar. VW claim a battery range of 31 miles but we never aw more than 25 miles on test.  If your commute is short you’ll rarely fill up but the GTE is a PHEV that can easily do 300 miles thanks to its range extending petrol engine. And it recharges the battery on the move. Don’t think of the GTE as remotely sporting just a neat handling, sweet steering family hatch with commendably clean tail pipe emissions.  As a general all-rounder the GTE is hard to beat but at £33k before the Plug in Grant it’s still expensive.

My Charging Life

Four hours from a normal plug socket will take you to 100% charge and with a wall box its down to two hours. Rapid charging slashes that to 30 mins. Running round on battery alone gives you around 25 miles but allowing the GTE to mix battery and petrol power delivers around 60 mpg and over 300 miles of usable range.

The Downsides

With all that battery weight the handling isn’t that sparkling but the steering turn-in is crisp and sharp. The ride gets nervous on broken surfaces, it could be more economical and an extra £1700 for the Sat Nav spec model is just too much.


Well-engineered, enjoyable all rounder that will slash your company car tax bills. Just don’t expect a GTi.