The key to making the most of any plug-in hybrid’s efficiency is to use the electric running as much as possible. We found that the GTE will do around 28 to 30 miles in varied driving and quite chilly weather, so warm weather and more town driving (which is when any electric car will be at its most efficient) will see the real-world electric range climb towards 35 miles. The Golf GTE will do motorway speeds in pure electric mode very easily, and it feels perfectly confident doing so, but you’ll see the electric range dip to below 25 miles at these sorts of speeds. You can set the GTE’s battery to hold its charge for later in the journey – which is the best thing to do on the motorway – and you can charge the battery with the petrol engine, but you’ll take a hit on fuel economy doing this.
Talking of fuel economy, the 1.4-litre turbocharged engine is impressively efficient. Disregard the official mpg figures – they’re always a nonsense on plug-in hybrids. We saw well over 45mpg, even when driven with no battery charge left, so even if you just choose to stick the GTE in hybrid mode and let it shuffle between electric and petrol as it see fit, you’ll still see well over 50mpg quite easily. As we said, the best way to save the most money and emissions with a PHEV, is to charge up regularly and use the electric running as much as possible.
The VW Golf GTE’s 13kWh lithium-ion battery is a similar size – and uses the same battery chemistry - as most plug-in hybrid or pure electric rivals, hence the reason the Golf has a very competitive range. An eight year, 100,000 mile battery warranty is also included.
The Golf GTE has a maximum charge rate of 3.6kW, which means that it’ll take 3 hours and 40 minutes to charge up from a Type 2 car charger (which includes any normal home wallbox and most public chargers you find in town centre car parks). The cable for connecting the Golf’s Type 2 socket to a home car charger or AC public charger is provided as standard, as is the cable for plugging into a normal three-pin domestic socket. The latter will take around five to six hours for a full charge, which is still more than good enough that you could charge the GTE easily in a normal working day or overnight. The Golf GTE isn’t compatible with any DC rapid chargers, and while it will charge up at any Type 2 fast charger, that 3hr 40min top-up is the quickest full charge you’ll get.
There is also a phone app that lets you remotely control the charging times of the GTE, as well as the climate control (which you can pre-set to cool or warm the cabin ready for when you set off).