Thursday 27 October 2016

VW's fuel-sipping Golf GTE plug-in hybrid set to cost from €38,500

Is it better value? Does it make more sense than a GTD or GTi?

Eddie Cunninghan

Published 29/04/2015 | 02:30

New VW Golf GTE plug-in gets here in July.
New VW Golf GTE plug-in gets here in July.
VW Golf GTE interior

Volkswagen's new plug-in hybrid, the 5dr GTE, prompts a few questions now that I can reveal its price will be around €38,500.

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Is it a better all-round proposition than the other two 'GTs' in the Volkswagen stable - the diesel GTD or even, dare I say it at the risk of ridicule, the GTi itself?

Can the GTE's extraordinary mix of low fuel consumption and more-than-creditable performance outweigh what the other two bring to the table?

I understand prices for the plug-in will start around the €38,500 mark when VRT rebate and special allowances are factored in.

Admittedly that is still a fair lump of money but if you compare prices with the 5dr GTD you'll find both cost much the same.

However, as the GTE has a 6spd DSG transmission, the nearest automatic equivalent for the GTD would cost close on €41,000.

The 'real GTi' 5dr costs a bit deal less at €36,720. So maybe it is a straight battle between the diesel and the plug-in?

The GTE, here for July sales but with orders being taken now, comes with some unusually impressive statistics.

It can be driven on electricity alone for up to 50km. I'd make that 35km-40km in real-world driving - at least that as been my experience with plug-ins.

However, when the 150bhp 1.4-litre direct injection petrol engine and 102bhp electric motor work together in hybrid mode, it has a potential range of 939km.

Perhaps the truly outstanding statistic is its overall fuel consumption: a claimed 1.6litres every 100kms (166mpg) is one of the lowest I remember.

Even if you got half that in real-world driving it would still be outstanding.

As well as that, official emissions of a mere 39g/km anchor it firmly in the €170-a-year road tax band.

With a combined 204bhp on tap (GTi 220bhp, GTD 184bhp) it is no slouch: it has an 0-100kmh sprint time of 7.5 seconds.

That is the same as the GTD and - believe it or not - just one second slower than the GTi. And, not that you should ever attempt it, there is a top speed of 222kmh.

If you can plan your battery charging in line with your daily commute, you should seldom have to call on the engine during the week.

As most people commute fewer than 50kms a day, it might just be possible to do so on electric power only, especially if you can plug in at work to reboot the lithium-ion battery. It can be charged in approximately 3hrs 45mins from a domestic mains outlet and 2hrs 15mins from a wall box.

They have themed key cabin highlights in blue (to denote electric/frugality); the GTi's signature is red (for performance).

Unlike the e-Golf which is sold through one dealer, there will be a number of outlets for the GTE.

In many ways it is a car that typifies what plug-in technology is about these days. The critical thing is how grants and rebates make such cars competitive on price against diesel equivalents.

Which would you buy? A GTE or GTD? Let us know:

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