Part of the problem with the GTE’s performance is the extra weight that continually hinders it.

In electric mode, there’s the mass of a temporarily redundant petrol engine to hobble your urban efficiency. Push on in petrol-only or petrol-electric mode and there’s that considerable lithium ion battery pack to hold you back.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
Where the Audi A3 e-tron's absorbent suspension made it suffer, the Golf's lowered, firmer set-up allows you to carry more speed through the front-end - and the superior steering makes you better aware of it

Dynamically, there’s the lot, pushing down unmistakably harder on the springs than a standard Golf ever would and asking more of the tyres, dampers and anti-roll bars at every corner and crest.

For the most part, the GTE’s firm-by-nature sports suspension bears up well under the extra burden, feeling consistent and quiet-riding enough to suit the often hushed backdrop.

But the hybrid is plainly less effective at isolating you from sharp-edged obstacles than its stablemates (including the Golf R) are, and the resulting disruptions gently nibble away at the class-leading comfort levels usually delivered by other incarnations of the Mk7 Golf.

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Nevertheless, a Golf it steadfastly remains, and the model retains more of its core identity than the A3 managed in plug-in hybrid format. It steers well. Fettled to be very light at manoeuvring speeds (further assistance for parking is redundant), the rack weights up credibly at speed, yielding the moderately quick and very precise steering that underpins the nameplate’s famed driveability.

That familiar ease of use – enhanced further by the glossiness of the GTE’s all-electric mode – doesn’t dip with more effort, as the lowered chassis upshifts into quicker progress without evident protest.

Here, too, the GTE exudes the usual Golf qualities, being grippy, direct and accomplished to the point of nonchalance. Because its sweeter steering makes for a more agreeable front end, the car is better able to make a virtue of the redressed cornering balance caused by the battery located between its axles.

However, the extra mass is a burden still, the GTE having none of the light-footedness we associate with heated-up hatchbacks.

So while its competence and naturally high levels of adhesion and control allow you to thrum along quite contentedly, there’s precious little effervescence or gusto in anything this hybrid does.

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