Over time, you can loosely map the progress of affordable electric cars by the way they travel from Autocar’s Teddington offices to the test tracks we use.

All of the ‘ordinary’ EVs we’ve tested have reached the circuit that we use for photography, about 30 miles away, under their own power – even if some (Renault Twizy) have needed recharging when they get there.

But MIRA’s proving ground, in Leicestershire, is a different matter. The Mini E, Renault Zoe and early Nissan Leaf have needed stops en route or to be taken by trailer. A Tesla, however – Roadster or Model S – will do it in its stride. Any range-extended EV will call on fossil fuel reserves.

But the prospect of gliding into our test track car park with some miles showing on the ‘range remaining’ estimator, and without beads of sweat on our brows, is a tantalising prospect that is becoming more realistic by the month.

The current hope is this Volkswagen e-Golf, priced and sized to compete with the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3. It’s time to see how it fares, not just on the drive to the test track but also when it gets there and on all roads and sundry in between.

Top 5 Family hatchbacks

  • Seventh generation Volkswagen Golf
    More than 29 million Golfs have been sold since 1974

    Volkswagen Golf

    1
  • The popular Ford Focus in 1.5 TDCi Zetec form
    The standout component of the Ford Focus has always been its handling

    Ford Focus

    2
  • Seat Leon
    Seat offers five engines for the Leon, ranging from a 104bhp 1.2 petrol to a 181bhp 2.0 diesel

    Seat Leon

    3
  • Seventh generation Vauxhall Astra
    The seventh-generation Vauxhall Astra seems to be a collection of General Motors' latest and greatest technology

    Vauxhall Astra

    4
  • Mazda 3
    The SkyActiv platform used in the 3 features more high and ultra-high-strength steel, offering greater strength and less weight

    Mazda 3

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Ford S-Max Vignale
    First Drive
    24 June 2016
    The Ford S-Max Vignale is the company's premium executive express. Can it really be worth the extra over the standard S-Max?
  • Volkswagen Scirocco GTS
    First Drive
    23 June 2016
    Still a really fun and likeable coupé but the extra power doesn't justify the VW Scirocco GTS's high price
  • Ford Fiesta ST200
    First Drive
    23 June 2016
    Fresh from testing it abroad, we've just got our hands on the Ford Fiesta ST200 for a blat on UK roads
  • Alpina B4 Biturbo Convertible
    First Drive
    23 June 2016
    Alpina's appealing BMW M4 alternative arrives in convertible form with a more relaxed nature than BMW's M car but still impressive performance and handling
  • Infiniti QX30
    First Drive
    21 June 2016
    Likeable for its fair refinement and comfort, and that quirky rarity factor, but small inside and with merely adequate handling