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Volkswagen Golf GTE Advance review

Date: 24 August 2017   |   Author: Debbie Wood

Standard equipment: Adaptive cruise control, climate control, heated front seats, Active Info Display, parking sensors, satnav, Bluetooth, Apple Carplay, 8in colour touchscreen.
Trims: Standard, GTE Advance
Transmissions: six-speed automatic

As well as being the firm's number one seller worldwide and a hugely popular fleet car here in the UK, the Volkswagen Golf is also one of the first ranges to offer petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid or electric powertrain choices all in one bodystyle.

Like the standard car, the Golf GTE plug-in hybrid has also been revised for 2017 and we've driven it on UK roads for the first time to find out if the changes move the game forward enough to keep the Golf as a main contender among its competitors.

What's new?

The key to this latest update is what VW calls a 'price alignment', which basically means the price has been lowered to create a larger gap between the firms sister brand Audi. The entire Golf range has seen a price reduction, although its combustion counterparts were not as significant as the GTE here, which is over £3,000 cheaper than the outgoing car.

This price cut comes despite all of the additional kit that the Golf range now adds, including advanced technology like Traffic Jam Assist that offers semi-autonomous driving up to 37mph, the fully digital Active Info Display and the optional Discover Navigation Pro infotainment system, including 9.2in display, and gesture control are also added to the range for the first time.


The new standard 8in infotainment system introduced in this facelift offers excellent resolution, and is sophisticated and easy to use too - a marked improvement over the previous generation.

Two trim levels are also now available, and to tell the GTE apart from it's combustion brothers, plug-in hybrid models get blue detailing around the exterior and cabin, while subtle badging is also added around the car.

Battery power

On the road, the car drives just like the standard Golf; it's an excellent all-rounder on the motorway and in the city, while the steering is expertly weighted and the ride quality is supremely comfortable too.

Paired with the GTE's 1.4-litre 150hp petrol engine is a 102hp 75kW electric motor and the two work seamlessly with each other on the move. The total potential range according to Volkswagen is 514 miles, while the electric battery can travel for up to 31 miles in EV mode alone. Charging to full from a domestic socket takes around three and a half hours or two and quarter hours from a wallbox.


You get a choice of four driving modes in the GTE - E-Mode, GTE Mode, Battery Charge and Hybrid, the latter uses the electric battery and petrol engine, and is ideal for longer-distance journeys. E-Mode uses only the electric battery up to speeds of 81mph and Battery Charge enables you to charge the battery using regenerative braking to help restore the power for later.

GTE Mode offers the greatest performance to help satisfy the driving enthusiasts among us; however, one small criticism is that, even in GTE mode, the petrol and battery combo doesn't quite offer as much oomph as expected. The car is far from slow, mind; just not as quick as we expected or as sporty as VW would like you to believe given its 'GTI' links.

Officially the 0-62mph sprint is achieved in 7.6 seconds, while CO2 emissions from 38g/km will keep BIK tax costs in check.

Two trim levels

The entry-level Golf GTE is joined by the new GTE Advance in the line-up. The standard car already comes well equipped as standard; however, moving up to Advance adds luxuries like 18in alloys, the updated navigation system and heated seats. Advance models also include e-sound, which is a button next to the gearbox that creates engine noise, meaning those around you are more likely to hear the car coming. A genuine safety benefit to pedestrians, I think this is a feature we will soon see across more electric and plug-in vehicles.

All GTE cars come equipped with LED lights with sweeping indicators; VW's excellent Active TFT Info display, which, like the Audi Virtual Cockpit, displays all the essential information behind the wheel; and the Car-Net App, which includes a number of features like remotely pre-setting the temperature, and local pump prices and parking information.

Golf GTEadvance Rear

No changes have been made to the dimensions of the car following these latest rounds of updates, and the cabin is as spacious and comfortable as ever. Although it's not the most exciting place to sit, the quality of materials used throughout is excellent, while the boot is still smaller than the standard car too, down 100 litres at 272 litres.

It's still early days for plug-in vehicles when it comes to residual values but the Golf GTE's 34.9% figure is impressive against its rivals, with only the new Hyundai IONIQ beating it. Whole-life costs are also competitive at 54.9ppm and it's impressive BIK tax costs are sure to please company car drivers too.

The Volkswagen Golf isthe generic nomenclature for family travel and the best-all round hatchback money can buy. The extensive choice of powertrains available in the current car further cements the Golf's future here in the UK.

Volkswagen Golf GTE Advance

P11D Price: £32,080
On sale: March 2017
Residual value: 34.9%
Depreciation: £20,880
Fuel: £2,001
Service, maintenance and repair: £2,293
Cost per mile: 59.4ppm
Fuel consumption: 156.9mpg
CO2 (BIK Band): 40g/km (9%)
BIK 20/40% a month: £48/£96
Boot space: 272 litres
Engine size/power: 1,395cc/150hp + 8.7kWh 102hp electric battery


  • Great to drive
  • High build quality
  • Lots of new tech
  • Ease of use.
  • Smaller boot
  • Not as sporty as name suggests
  • Bland interior.