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Volkswagen Golf GTE

The launch of the Golf GTE brings the number of different drivetrains to four - five if you count the gas powered model that is available on the continent - with this all made possible by the common componentry from Volkswagen's new MQB modular platform. Along with diesel, petrol and all-electric drivetrains, the plug-in hybrid technology found in this Golf GTE gives buyers a wider choice than ever before.
The recipe for this newcomer calls for one 148bhp 1.4- litre TSI engine, mixed with a 101bhp (75kW) electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. Add a five-door hatchback bodystyle and decorate it with the same kind of adornments that you'll find on a Golf GTI, but instead of red embellishments, use blue instead. Finally add some touches from the e-Golf, like the LED daytime running lights, and the end result is a vehicle that has the flavour of the mechanically similar Audi A3 e-tron, wrapped up in a more dynamic, sportier package.
The combination of the two power sources results in storming performance, and the switch between them is seamless. In fact, you often don't know which method is being used, without a quick check of the instruments. Gear changes are super quick, and by pressing the 'GTE' button on the centre console, this sharpens them even further, along with throttle and steering wheel responses.
A sound generator gives a rortier sound, too, and there's a choice of five further hybrid and allelectric driving modes to choose from. On fast back roads, this Golf impresses thanks to flat cornering, accurate steering, and excellent levels of grip. While you can feel that the GTE is a little more nose heavy than a GTD, there's little wrong in the way that it responds to steering inputs. And while the ride is set-up in a sportily firm fashion, it's really pliant, delivering a comfortable ride. One area that isn't so good is road noise, with far too much tyre roar entering the cabin. And while it's a big thumbs up for being a good driver's car, it's just at home pootling around town in zero-emissions mode. Maximum range is rated at 31 miles, and even with the climate control working at full tilt, we managed to achieve mid-20s with ease.
Topping up the batteries is an easy affair, with the charging socket housed behind the VW badge at the front. Using a domestic three-pin socket it takes around three and a half hours, or with a home wall box or public charging station taking two and a quarter hours until full. Step into the cabin, and it's familiar Golf fayre.
Excellent quality mouldings that feel well screwed together are combined with a great driving position, with supportive, comfortable seats. Where the GTI has red tartan seats, and the GTD silver, the GTE model features blue, in keeping with the exterior. Space up front is generous, but rear seat passengers will wish for more leg and knee room. Boot space has been sacrificed in favour of the hybrid gubbins, losing 108 litres of space, compared to the standard car. Thankfully it is well proportioned, and so we suspect that very few buyers will actually notice any difference.

Price £30,020
Made in Wolfsburg, Germany
Configuration 5-door hatchback, 5-seats, front-wheel-drive
Drivetrain 1395cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbocharged petrol with electric motor
Transmission 6-speed twin-clutch automatic
Power output (engine) 148bhp @ 5,000-6,000rpm
Power output (electric motor) 101bhp
Power output (combined) 201bhp
Maximum torque (engine) 184lb ft @ 1,600-3,500rpm
Maximum torque (combined) 258lb ft
Top speed/0-62mph 138mph/7.6 secs
CO2 emissions (tax band) 39g/km (A) Euro 6
Economy (combined) 166.0mpg
Fuel tank size/electric range/total range 40 litres/31 miles/583 miles
Recharge time: AC 2.3kW/AC 3.6kW 3.45/2.15 hours
Insurance group/BIK rate 26/5%
Size (length/width with mirrors) 4,270/2,027mm
Boot space (minimum/maximum) 272/1,162 litres
Kerb/max towing weight 1,599/1,500kg

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