VW Golf GTE even

more advanced

Volkswagen Golf GTE, 2017, front, static
Volkswagen Golf GTE, 2017, front, action
Volkswagen Golf GTE, 2017, side, static
Volkswagen Golf GTE, 2017, rear, action
Volkswagen Golf GTE, 2017, interior
Volkswagen Golf GTE, 2017, MPG readout
Volkswagen Golf GTE, 2017, charging
Volkswagen Golf GTE, 2017, boot
Volkswagen Golf GTE, 2017, display screen
Volkswagen Golf GTE, 2017, engine
Volkswagen Golf GTE, 2017, rear seats
Volkswagen Golf GTE, 2017, badge

LOW 70s is a good enough score in any Golfing activity.

But when the challenge involves the Golf car and not the game of the masters then that figure becomes more impressive.

Real world fuel economy in the latest Golf GTE can easily top 100mpg - or even nothing at all for the average commute.

That's the beauty of plug-in hybrids such as the GTE and this petrol-electric Golf is one of the best.

Now revamped in line with the latest updates to the entire Golf range the new GTE has a smarter appearance inside and out and in new upmarket Advance trim can be had for £29,635 including the Government grant for low emission vehicles.

The standard GTE is £1,500 cheaper than the new Advance grade car and that's a reduction of almost £3,500 compared to the previous model - an indication of how alternative fuel models are becoming more cost effective.

As such the new Golf hybrids are some of the cheapest plug-in models on the market and while no longer free of vehicle tax, the 40g/km CO2 emissions of the GTE Advance mean it will cost £10 to tax in its first year under the new VED regulations with a business tax banding of nine per cent.

Take the price reduction into account and the latest Golf GTE is still a compelling blend of new-wave electronic motoring and good old fashioned hatchback fun.

Being a plug-in what you get in terms of genuine fuel economy is down to how it is used but on a run through the countryside on open roads we saw a healthy average of just over 70 to the gallon.

Officially the Golf GTE is rated at 156.9mph but that is pie in the sky and as with any PHEV it is a car which can be run purely on battery power.

Theoretically the Golf GTE has a zero emission range of 31 miles and that is enough to complete the average daily run to and from work or to the shops and back.

Need to go further and there's a 1.4-litre petrol engine under the bonnet and the Golf GTE can be driven in a variety of ways.

On electric power alone it can handle motorway speeds comfortably but such speeds sap energy.

Use its hybrid mode which combines the engine and the electric motor and you get the best of both worlds - the ability to cover long distances while conserving the EV mode for use when it's most appropriate such as in town.

Alternatively you can mix and match as we did on our exercise, switching the power source to suit conditions.

We covered some 50 miles setting of with 22 miles of electric motoring available, covered 17 miles on battery power and ended up showing an overall average of 70.1mpg.

A full recharge of the battery from a wallbox takes two-and-a-quarter hours (three hours 45 minutes from the mains) and the GTE has a nine gallon fuel tank giving it an official range of 515 miles - equivalent to 57mpg which is as good as a diesel.

Partial recharging can be done on the move - we added two miles to the EV range even on our short run - and with the electric motor hooked up via the car's six-speed DSG semi-automatic gearbox complete with paddle shifters there is scope for some sporty driving.

Among the four driving modes there is a GTE setting which sucks in power from both the engine and the electric motor to create 204ps.

That is enough to give the Golf GTE a lively performance of 0 to 60 in 7.6 seconds and a maximum speed of 138mph - not far off the latest Golf GTI.

Although the GTE is heavier than a regular Golf - the battery pack weighs 120kg taking the overall weight to just over 1.6 tonnes - you would never know the difference and dynamically it handles well.

However, with the batteries slung under the rear of the vehicle there is an impact on luggage space and the boot capacity is reduced to 272 litres - 108 litres less than that of the conventional Golf.

Maximum loadspace with the rear seats folded is also down to 1,162 litres and that is smaller than even the all-electric e-Golf.

But the bonus of the GTE is its ability to be driven without the range constraints of a pure EV and as such it excels.

In terms of equipment it is a high specification model and features VW's Active Info multi-function TFT instrument panel as well as Car-Net App connectivity which allows Internet access on the move.

The GTE is also fitted with adaptive cruise control and what VW calls Traffic Jam Assist - a semi-autonomous system which enables the vehicle to lock on to traffic ahead while moving at low speeds.

Upgrades on the GTE Advance include 18-inch alloy wheels, an advanced sat nav, heated seats and a sound generator to alert pedestrians when driving in EV mode.

All Golf GTEs have LED lighting front and rear and are finished in similar fashion to the GTI, although with blue highlights to denote its eco credentials instead of the red trim inserts used on the hot hatch.

And like the GTI, the seat fabric is Jacara tartan albeit in a shade of blue and grey.

The Golf GTE is very much a car of the modern age and for those who want to exploit the benefits of electric motoring without any compromise it is a car which takes some beating - a five door, family-sized motor with all mod cons and a proper environmental sticker.

LATEST Volkswagen NEWS

THE new Volkswagen Golf line-up has been expanded with the addition of a...

Read more View article

IT'S a household name.Maybe not as frequently used as Hoover or Selloptape, but...

Read more View article

JUSTa few years ago, a zero to 60 miles an hour sprint of eight seconds and...

Read more View article