The comforting theme of familiarity continues inside and is arguably where VW’s policy ultimately pays off. Aside from an extra couple of notches on the gear selector and a slightly altered instrument cluster, there is nothing else to get used to in the driver’s seat, so much so that even the battery charge readout – normally an excuse for designers to get the disco lights out – is simply a converted conventional fuel gauge.
Similarly, the rev counter, which admittedly shows regenerative charge at one end, also displays the actual revolutions of the electric motor at the other. The inference couldn’t be clearer: yes, it’s electric, but really it’s business as usual. Carry on.
Which means that in the quality of its finish, appearance, ergonomics, usability and practicality, like any Golf, it sets the bar for family hatchbacks. So it’s nigh on impossible not to feel at home in the driver’s seat, or comfortable in the back, or appreciative of almost everything that can be fingered or adjusted.
Added to which, it’s very well equipped – in addition to the standard SE spec - it gets two-zone climate control, all-round parking sensors, e-vehicle programmed sat-nav and an 9.2in touchscreen infotainment system with a 64GB hard drive and comes with gesture control – and it is now quite sensationally refined. The 63dB that we recorded at 70mph almost beats what the previous Golf we tested managed at 30mph.
The nav system is clear and easy to follow, and it will display your nearest charging options without too much prodding — vital in an EV. Detail on the available charging formats at those stations could be better, though. Equally, the system should make it easier to plot routes, including waypoints, to allow you to hop between fast chargers on a longer journey.
The car comes with a three-year subscription to an app called Car Net, available for iPhone and Android mobiles, which allows you to check and control charging status, climate control and driving data remotely.
Elsewhere, the multimedia system is impressive. A DAB tuner, smartphone integration, USB and Bluetooth connectivity are standard items across the Golf range, and the usability of both — along with the touchscreen — is on a par with the model’s overall intuitiveness.
Only boot space suffers a demerit. The elimination of its double-floor feature removes about 39 litres, but at 341 litres, it’s still slightly more capacious than a regular Ford Focus.