Test Drive: Golf GTE
The GTE can be viewed and compared in two categories: firstly, as a ‘green’ car and secondly as a ‘hot hatch’. I will tackle each in turn, starting with the former: The GTE is a plug-in hybrid that can be run on electric only up to a range of a claimed 30 miles. This means that the GTE has to suit your lifestyle to be properly effective in achieving its goals. If your commute and / or regular journeys are less than 30 miles (more if you have a charging point at work and you can charge it during the day) then it’s super because you should in theory be able to run it on electric only (depending on your driving). Yet you also have the ability to travel long distances without running out of range because of the 1.4l petrol engine. However, be aware that if you have regular long distance journeys then the economy will be very average as you’ll be running on petrol a lot of the time.
The subject of cost must be raised here because the GTE is undeniably expensive, at over £33k and being nearly £10k more than a Prius. However, the GTE is more than just a
family car, this is a car with vigour and grunt too – in theory you get all the environmental and cost saving benefits of a hybrid coupled with the performance and driver-appeal of a hot hatch. That’s why you pay more. And it’s a Golf, regarded as one of the best and most premium hatchbacks since its inception in the 70s.
There are high expectations when Volkswagen attaches its GT badge to something – so immediately I was expecting the GTE to be exceptional – as I know the new 2L petrol GTI to be. The GTE is striking and stand-out to look at, the distinguished blue detailing give it a unique identity whilst subtly revealing its green credentials and more spirited side in equal measures. The GTE is undoubtedly impressive and with over 200 bhp, it is a quick too. It’s not quite as much fun as the GTI nor is it as capable, however you still know it’s a ‘GT’, being a capable and entertaining package.
It does have some premium equipment as well, such as ‘Intelligent driver assistance systems’ which can increase driving comfort and help you manage critical situations – or even avoid them. The adaptive cruise control will hold an adjustable set distance between you and the car in front. I used this and found it to be really useful.
The GTE’s USP is that it is a green(ish) car with much of the tax, economic and environmental benefits, yet with some of the pizazz of a hot hatch. Perfect for those who are keen to adopt a greener commute yet still retain some driver appeal. However the viability really depends on your lifestyle – perfect for those where your journeys are mostly within range but unsuitable if you do regular long journeys.
Carrs Volkswagen, Indian Queens and Helston
T – 01726 862333