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VW Golf GTE Test Drive Review

Date: 12 June 2015   |   Author:

With the addition of the new VW Golf GTE, Golfs are now on offer with four powertrains: petrol, diesel, electric and now plug-in hybrid options.

The plug-in hybrid is designed to sit alongside the petrol GTI and diesel GTD, and the interior adornments mirror its performance siblings, with the GTI's tartan seats turned from red to blue - now the colour of choice to denote low-emission technology - for the eco hot hatch.

Emissions of just 39g/km mean low running costs, and they are achieved by an official 31 miles of electric range before the 150hp 1.4 petrol engine is required, although in our experience you'll do well to get past 20 miles.

With the £5000 Government grant, the GTD and GTE Golf models are very closely matched on list price, while over three years and 60,000 miles KwikCarcost has the GTE plug-in beating the diesel by 0.5p per mile thanks to the savings on fuel and National Insurance countering the higher list price and residual value, which is four percentage points lower.

To drive, the GTD is still the better car, although performance is very close.

The switch from electric to the petrol engine when the battery runs down is far from seamless - there's a little lurch as the switch takes place - but otherwise the system works well.

Other practicalities include a 272-litre boot rather than the regular Golf's 380 litres, due to the batteries being stored under the floor, and a benefit-in-kind saving of £160 per month for a higher-rate tax payer over the GTD thanks to the emissions gap.

Companies will save £1822 across three years on National Insurance payments. But it is worth mentioning that the Golf's Audi A3 E-tron sister car employs the same technology for more than £500 cheaper because it's based on a regular A3 Sportback, rather than the GTI and GTD that VW is pairing its plug-in with.

The GTE is an intriguing car, and for anyone regularly able to cover 20-30 miles between charges, it's a very clever choice.

Volkswagen Golf GTE 1.4 TSI 204 DSG

Model price range £17,255-£33,380
Residual value 33.0%
Depreciation £23,765
Fuel £1649
Service, maintenance and repair £2798
Vehicle Excise Duty £0
National Insurance £1028
Cost per mile 63.1p
Fuel consumption 188.3mpg/31-mile range
CO2 (BIK band) 39g/km (5%)
BIK 20/40% per month £30/£59
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 272/1162 litres
Engine size/power 1395cc/150hp petrol and 8.7kW electric motor