This is an important car for Volkswagen, though
the A3 e-tron was the first with this drivetrain. But, as a PR manager of a competing
make once told me: “it’s as if a new door handle on the Golf
is bigger news than a new model from us”. Sometimes it is like that. We’re driving
the plug-in hybrid Golf, the GTE. It’s a big step. Why is it
important for Volkswagen? They will only sell a few cars in the Netherlands.
The 7% additional tax liability is nice. These are the first cars of a generation
plug-in hybrids Volkswagen promised us. The Volkswagen Golf sits on the MQB
platform, which is a modular build. That means the same drivetrain can be
easily put in the A3 and other cars like the Octavia, A3 convertible, Audi TT.
A plug-in version is a fun idea. There will be more electrified Volkswagens.
They’ve already announced the Passat. They said there will be 30-40
electrified Volkswagen cars. That’s a lot, more than
what’s on the market now. It’s fun to see how manufacturers choose
different ways to build a plug-in hybrid. There are electric cars with a range extender,
like the Opel Ampera and Chevrolet Volt. No longer relevant, but those were sister models.
There’s also the Fisker Karma and BMW i3. Other plug-in hybrids like the Volvo V60,
which we know well in the Netherlands, combines a diesel engine for FWD with an
electric motor driving the rear wheels. The Golf GTE only has FWD.
It has a 1.4 TSI with 148 hp. I’ll say more about hp and stuff later,
don’t worry. It uses a DSG transmission. The electric motor sits in front of the gearbox,
which means you can shift in e-mode. The DSG shifts automatically as well, so you
can make better use of the electric motor. The electric motor has 101 hp. In e-mode
with the gearbox it goes alright. It can do 81 mph ’til the
electric motor loses power. The maximum electric range is 31 miles. That’s what you should be able to do in the
test cycle as well, so that’s convenient. The 8.4 kWh battery sits
underneath the rear seats. It’s where the fuel tank used to be,
which got pushed back. It got smaller as well;
40 liters instead of 50. The total range is 584 miles, in theory. If you look at the fuel
consumption of a Golf 7 1.4, which does 34 mpg
according to various websites, it could be more economic,
but 400 miles should be doable. The name GTE is the third installment
in the sporty GTI / GTD range. They added the GTI checkers, blue as an
accent in the headlights, grille, and logos. It makes the GTE look more sporty. The total power of the electric motor and
combustion engine combined is 201 hp / 258 ft lb. However, that’s only in the overboost function.
In boost the needle moves further. They are hybrid hp. It doesn’t feel as if the 201 hp are reached,
which we see more often in hybrid cars. The Lexus, for example, has 217 hp, but
it might has well have been 168 hp. It does 0-62 mph in 7.6 seconds. In the
boost function you can do 137 mph, but on a long straight it’ll go 135 mph
tops. It’ll fall back, apparently. I think it’s strange as well, but that’s
how Volkswagen made it. As with every plug-in hybrid there
are different drive modes. I don’t think it works intuitively. The
e-mode button makes it go electric. If you need more power or the battery
runs low, the TSI engine will start. The GTE button is for the
optimized automatic hybrid mode. There’s also a fully automatic hybrid mode,
one to charge the battery, and one to keep an even charge level. Strange for a sporty plug-in hybrid is the missing
mode for the motor and engine to run always. I miss it for these roads, so it’ll
have a more feisty response. On these roads you notice
a lot happens with the drivetrain. It declutches sometimes, shifting up.
It’s a quick, good handling car, but I had more fun with the
Golf GTI on roads like these. In the GTE they’re only OK. On the other hand, we don’t have roads
like these in the Netherlands. Not much. This is a comfortable cruiser on
the highway with sufficient power. Tax-wise it has a nice price tag. 36,995 euros is a lot of money, but the
low additional tax liability makes up for it. That has become the most important
thing in the Netherlands. which means there will be
a run for the Golf GTE. Subs – Maru