Used Hybrid Cars - Volkswagen Golf GTE Review
Why Should I buy a Used VW Golf GTE?
- Introduced in 2015 the VW Golf GTE has a 1.4 petrol engine and an electric motor.
- Can run on purely electric power or as a hybrid.
- Will charge from standard domestic mains electricity supply.
- Has Volkswagen build quality.
- Intelligent power switching and blending between electic and petrol.
Used Golf GTE Review
Motoring journalist, John Swift got behind the wheel of a used Volkswagen Golf GTE, regarded by the motor industry, as one of the finest hybrid cars on the market; here's what he thought:
You can plug it into your standard domestic mains supply at home (the socket is just behind the VW roundel in the radiator grille) and it’ll take about three and a half hours for a full charge, or, if you have an exterior wall box unit installed, a full charge will take around an hour less. The car will also charge the battery while on the move.
With the battery fully charged the GTE will give you around 25 miles on just the electric motor. This is more than enough for most people’s urban commutes and for longer journeys you have the petrol engine as well.
You do need to take some the claimed fuel consumption figures with caution; I reckon that averaged out over different journey lengths and conditions you’re looking at high 50s to high 60s; what you can count on is the CO2 figure of less than 40 g/km.
That figure will come in very handy as road taxes go up, for company car drivers where it clearly beats a diesel alternative and also when or if more emissions-based city centre charges are introduced.
The appeal and indeed the whole point of any plug-in hybrid with both a petrol and electric motor is that you are largely shielded from future taxes, and with its either/or engine option the GTE eliminates the range anxiety you can get with a pure electric car and makes it much more practical.
It does something else too. You may have noticed that the GTE moniker is one letter away from GTI and when both power units are engaged under heavy acceleration the hybrid car is very nearly as quick as the sports version.
With so much torque its low and mid-speed performance is very impressive, but on the flip side, the extra weight of the batteries does make it less than pin sharp in a bend.
The instruments are all familiar save that a `power gauge’ is built into the rev counter to show you how much battery you are using, and the infotainment touchscreen in the middle of the console will also display real time details on how the hybrid is working and the range left.
It’s a two pedal car with a DSG semi-automatic gearbox and you can select from various modes, from full bore performance through to e-mode which takes as little energy as possible.
Up to 31 mph the electric motor is absolutely smooth and if you so wish it can carry on up to 80 mph on battery power – albeit not for very long! –in normal driving the car switches to petrol at 30 mph and the change is automatic and hardly detectable.
Interior wise, it looks and feels typically VW which is to say solid and as if it will last a lifetime without anything coming loose. There is a little bit less space which is taken up by the battery pack under the boot floor but otherwise it is an upmarket Golf.
VW promotes its eco-focused cars with a blue colour and you will find this theme on the trim highlights.
Should you buy one?
There is no doubt that the market is turning towards hybrid cars and the arguments in their favour are only getting stronger. Internal combustion engines are going to be legislated out of existence within a generation or so and hybrids and electrics will take their place.
For the moment a plug-in hybrid makes by far the more sensible and practical choice. Until electric recharging points become many more times more numerous than they are today the appeal of battery-only cars is always going to be limited.
Hybrids make much more sense. The Golf GTE gives you the tax benefits of an ultra-low emission car, the cost advantages of running on batteries you can recharge at home, but also the 450 mile or so range of a traditional car.
There are understandable concerns over the battery life and warranty but on top of the standard three year cover on any VW, there is an eight year/99,000 warranty on the battery pack.
There is a cost premium with a hybrid over a diesel or petrol but with the market moving as it is, a car like this is going to hold its value a lot better than the other two. If you are in the market for a second-hand hybrid then the VW is one of the very best all-rounders.
The GTE was updated after two years in 2017 when it got a turbocharged petrol engine as well as a mild facelift.
Second hand GTEs start to hit the market from around £17,000 unless you want one with leggy mileage. With a budget of £20,000 you will start to see cars with under 20,000 miles and a service history. The most expensive models are around £25,000.
Press the GTE button: A more responsible use of power: