Electric hatch gets 50 percent range boost, new infotainment

Volkswagen revealed its updated-for-2017 Golf hatchback barely one week ago, when the embattled German automaker left out one key model in its bid to boost its eco credentials after the Dieselgate debacle: the e-Golf. It's rectifying that omission today with the reveal of an updated all-electric model here at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Like its mainstream fossil-fueled counterparts, the 2017 e-Golf is being treated to a wheelbarrow-worth of new cabin and safety tech, and its powertrain is getting a substantial overhaul, too.

The 2017 VW e-Golf's headline number is "50," as in, "50 percent more range." The 2017 model's lithium-ion pack is much larger -- 35.8 kWh versus the old model's 24.2 -- giving a cruising range of up to 124 miles per charge, a big improvement over the old model's 83-mile figure. That's enough to put the VW out in front of rivals like the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric, but well shy of Chevrolet's new Bolt EV, which is rated at a whopping 238 miles on the EPA cycle. A 7.2-kW onboard charger is now standard across e-Golf SE and SEL Premium trims.

The upgrades aren't just about range -- power is also up meaningfully for the 2017 e-Golf, with 134 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque comparing favorably against last year's 115 hp and 199 pound-feet. That extra gumption allows the e-Golf to run to 60 mph in 9.6 seconds -- more than a second quicker than before -- and top speed has been let out to a (still-modest) 93 mph.

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

VW hopes its amped-up 2017 e-Golf will help put Dieselgate in the rearview mirror.


A new optional Digital Cockpit system brings impressively sized screens into the cabin, with a 9.2-inch Discover Pro infotainment display and a 12.3-inch digital in-cluster display that recalls the Virtual Cockpit system found in newer Audi models. There's even gesture control, just like in the BMW 7 Series. In addition, a bounty of available advanced driver-assist safety features are on offer, including forward collision warning with auto-brake and pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot assist and so on.

All-in, this appears to be a substantial and comprehensive upgrade for the electrified version of VW's high-volume global hatchback. No word yet on pricing or on-sale date, but this story will be updated as Roadshow learns more.

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