The GTE looks like a Golf and drives like one too. In fact, this plug-in hybrid variant enables you to experience the best the Golf has to offer as you do your bit for the environment with a range of up to up to 40 miles. Enjoy a GTI-like performance, with 245 PS, while leaving a tiny carbon tyre print.
The five-door GTE is distinctively styled with a blue trim strip that stretches across the entire front. An attractive rear fascia features chrome-plated diffuser, striking LED tail light clusters and roof spoiler. Lighting includes IQ.LIGHTs as standard, featuring powerful LED matrix headlights fitted with “Dynamic Light Assist” and animated turn signals. Fog, heavy snowfall or rain? LED front fog lights come as standard, built into the bumper of the GTE.
A smart five-seat cabin features black headliner, decorative trims, hallmark stitching and stainless steel pedals. Optional high-quality “Vienna” leather equipment, enhances the premium feel.
The LED background lighting adds accents of light in all the right places, whilst a leather-wrapped sports steering wheel is adorned with the GTE insignia.
High-resolution displays dominate the cockpit, and the majority of functions, including the radio, air conditioning and lighting, can be operated using touch-sensitive surfaces and sliders, simply and intuitively.
The Golf GTE has a Digital Cockpit Pro as standard, with a 10” display. When combined with the optional “Discover Pro” radio navigation system, the Digital Cockpit Pro can be upgraded to the Innovision Cockpit, enabling the two displays to be merged, and you can set up favourite functions on the home screen, just as you would your smartphone.
Travel Assist with Emergency Assist, including Side Assist are among a wide range of driver aids that come as standard with the GTD. Plus, with the optional head-up display, there’s no need to take your eyes off the road.
An almost silent electric motor with seamless power transmission and an innovative 1.4L TSI direct-injection petrol engine with 150 PS, the GTE has three intuitive hybrid operating modes.When using “Boost”, the electric motor works with the TSI direct-injection petrol engine to achieve extra torque, up to 400Nm. The function can be selected in “Hybrid/Sport” mode.
The GTE has the power to proceed from a standing stop to 62mph in approximately 6.7 seconds. The vehicle is capable of 135mph too but this doesn’t impinge on its fuel efficiency. The GTE returns an impressive 246.1 mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 26g/km.
The lithium-ion battery of the GTE can fully charge from 220 minutes (with an optional wallbox, 5 hours using a normal socket) and offers up to a 32-mile range (WLTP*) on electric power alone.
*Depending on the driving style and power requirements, such as air conditioning or lighting.
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What is it?
Volkswagen is pushing hard when it comes to electrification. We’ve already seen its ID brand swell with the reveal of the ID.3 and ID.4, while more look set to join the market shortly. But the firm hasn’t forgotten the merit of hybrids, either, which is why it has revived its plug-in hybrid GTE for the latest eight-generation Golf.
It’s designed to offer some of the thrills of the GTI but with lower running costs and rock-bottom emissions. We’ve been finding out what it’s like.
The bulk of the changes here reside around the powertrain, which combines petrol and electric power - but more on that later. Because the GTE sits on the latest eight-generation Golf platform it’s got more technology on-board than before, with a screen-heavy interior helping to ensure this car feels as up-to-date as possible.
What’s under the bonnet?
Underneath the bonnet of the GTE sits a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine which is then paired with a 109bhp electric motor for a combined output of 242bhp and 400Nm of torque. Volkswagen has increased the size of the battery on board too, bumping it from 8.7kW in the older GTE to 13kWh, which helps it to deliver an electric-only range of 40 miles. A full charge will take around three hours and 40 minutes via a 3.6kW charger, too.
When it comes to performance, the GTE will crack 0-60mph in 6.4 seconds, yet emits just 26g/km CO2 and will return a claimed 246.1mpg combined.
What’s it like to drive?
Push off and the GTE makes progress in a typically silent fashion as you’d expect from a plug-in hybrid. Given the decent electric range it’ll keep going on plug-in power alone for quite some time which means that for most trips you’re unlikely to disturb the engine. Request more performance, however, and the engine will chirp in to give the electric motor some assistance.
Once that range is depleted you’re left with the 1.4-litre engine on its own and it does an admirable job of keeping things interesting. That said, through an efficient regenerative braking system, it’s not hard to top the batteries back up with a small amount of charge.
How does it look?
Volkswagen has tied its GTI, GTD and GTE models tightly together in terms of design. They all feature the same ultra-sharp headlights, slim tail lights and full-width LED light bar on the nose. It’s a classy design, that’s for sure, and is a great evolution on the classic Golf look.
The GTE is only separated by the use of electric blue highlights for areas such as the badging and this does help to differentiate this hybrid model from the rest of the line-up.
What’s it like inside?
Given the number of screens and the distinct lack of buttons, it can take a little while to get accustomed to the GTE’s cabin. However, once you’re up to speed it’s a pleasant and well-made place to be, with plenty of high-quality materials used on all of the surfaces you interact with.
There’s just one downside to that hybrid powertrain; the fitment of the batteries means that the GTE’s boot shrinks to 273 litres from the regular GTI’s 360.
What’s the spec like?
As you’d expect from a tip-top hybrid the GTE boasts plenty of standard equipment. There’s that 10-inch central infotainment system which houses satellite navigation and media functions, as well as both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is then complemented by a secondary screen ahead of the driver which can be configured to show all manner of readouts.
The level of on-board tech is seriously impressive, while the clean button-free layout does make the cabin a relaxing place to be.
Whereas the Golf GTI is all about delivering thrills as well as practicality, the GTE takes a slightly more sensible approach. It can’t quite deliver the same experience as its solely petrol-powered relation, but it gets close - while the gains in efficiency will be too great for many to ignore.
For those who want a company car that’ll add a little extra fun to a journey without causing payments to skyrocket, the GTE could prove incredibly attractive.