We’ve already had the all-electric e-Golf pass through a full Autocar road test; now it’s the turn of the plug-in hybrid version, dubbed GTE.
Positioning your hybrid as a sporty option is certainly not new, but it does burden the GTE with additional buyer expectation. Not only does the first hybrid Golf have to be studiously parsimonious, but it also has to go about its business with a degree of hot hatch verve.
That’s a tall order when you consider that the model’s sister car, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, failed to set the world alight when we tested it, but the Passat GTE certainly received a warmer reception although it has never been perceived as a sporty variant of the saloon.
However, there are reasons to be cheerful – not least that this is a Volkswagen Golf we’re talking about here, and the world’s biggest car maker is renowned for getting things right when it comes to its prodigal son.
The rewards for doing so are potentially seismic. With the demonisation of diesel likely to hit a higher gear in years to come as European emissions legislation takes greater account of nitrogen oxides and particulates, Europe’s buying public is likely to take a wider interest in hybrid technology than ever before.
The prospect of finding a household name at every VW dealer, virtually indistinguishable from the real thing and apparently free from compromise, is feasibly the nudge many may need to finally embrace the idea of plugging a car into the mains electricity every night.
For others, specifically business users, the nudge is already unnecessary. They will not need this test to tell them that running a GTE will mean a substantial benefit-in-kind company car tax saving versus a diesel.
That this five-door-only car gets GT-strength status in the first place is conceivably a ploy to lure middle managers out of their beloved GTDs. Or it might just be the real thing. Let’s find out.