Volkswagen Golf GTE 2014 review

5 Sep, 2014 10:45am Kyle Fortune

Behind the wheel of the impressively efficient ‘hot’ Volkswagen Golf GTE hybrid


The GTE is the missing link between conventionally powered Golfs and the all-electric e-Golf, and is a convincing all-rounder. While it doesn’t live up to is sporty billing, it still provides plenty of fun and allows buyers to dodge road tax bills without EV limitations and compromises.

Everything to everybody; a sporting family car with tax-dodging emissions and sensational 188mpg fuel economy. That’s what Volkswagen claims with the new VW Golf GTE – a plug-in hybrid that slots into the performance range alongside the GTI and GTD.

Combining a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine with an electric motor and plug-in battery system gives a total output of 201bhp and 350Nm of torque. That’s almost enough to allow the GTE to keep up with the GTD from 0-62mph – it takes 7.6 seconds, which is just one-tenth down on the diesel Golf. And while the GTD offers excellent efficiency, it’s completely overshadowed by the GTE, which claims 35g/km emissions and quotes official economy of 188mpg.

In the real world it’ll be more like a third of that, but that’s when driving without caring about fuel efficiency. The GTE defaults to E-mode on start-up, and will run entirely emissions free for up to 31 miles. Plus, if your morning commute allows, it’ll do so at up to 81mph.

Volkswagen Golf GTE rear tracking

It’s an impressively integrated hybrid system, offering five drive modes: E-mode, Battery Save, Hybrid Auto, Battery Charge and GTE. Efficient E-mode is swift and silent, building on the Golf’s impressive refinement by eliminating engine noise when running on battery power. When the TSI petrol cuts in, it does so smoothly.

In fact, at normal speeds, it’s all very cleverly managed, and the GTE only struggles when asked to live up to its sporting billing. Push a bit harder and the hybrid has trouble keeping up, with the automatic box trying to second guess the set-up, the steering proving not particularly informative and the brakes lacking initial bite. Even so, it’s more resistant to understeer and rides better than its Audi A3 e-tron sister car.

Volkswagen Golf GTE interior

So take the GT badge as a high-spec trim, rather than a GTI or GTD chaser, and this car makes more sense. The GTE offers range-anxious potential EV buyers a credible, usable and – crucially – desirable hybrid alternative with few compromises. And all this at a price (including £5,000 Government grant) that’s equally attractive.

Disqus - noscript

Wonderful- another review that misses the mark. This is not a GTI competitor.This car is perfect for those that frequently run short trips, in town, without worrying about what happens if.... The Audi A3 with this same set-up was also praised for fullfilling this new mission. An easy way to step up into this new world.

£28k for what is basically a second rate Ford Focus with an image problem? VW are hilarious.

What are the torque and HP figures for the electric motor? If the torque is sufficiently good then could be a good alternative to the rattly diesel.

188mpg?! LOL!

Now tell us what the REAL WORLD consumption will be..............

I have no intention of buying this but I will admit that this is the
first hybrid/EV that I would consider a good buy. You could drive this
most of the time as an EV and not burn a drop of fuel and still have a car with warm hatch performance for longer journeys.

Depends on who's world I suppose. If your commute is 10 miles the potentially the consumption will be far better than188.

A second rate ford focus? Obviously you've never driven a focus or a golf, otherwise you'd never make sure an idiotic statement. You'd pay around 28K for an focus ST with the same kit level but nowhere near the same economy, so I actually think Ford are hilarious.

Who mentioned the ST? I was thinking more of the base model Focus Seriously, VWs in general are overrated and Ford leave them for dead on value.

Having said that, I wouldn't choose either.

Key specs

  • Price: £28,000 (est)
  • Engine: 1.4-litre 4cyl petrol, plus electric motor
  • Power: 201bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed auto, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 7.6 seconds
  • Top speed: 138mph
  • Economy/CO2: 188mpg/35g/km
  • On sale: Now
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