November 16th, 2015
A DAY AT WORK WITH THE GTE
Had the opportunity to have, for a working day, the new Golf GTE.
Collected the car from dealer with 12 mile e-range and 45 miles of fuel. Most of the driving needed to be done that day, was purely around town, so was not concerned.
Nice thing about this car is that you can tailor it for the drive you’re going to do and then get the most out of it. But you do have instruct it. This car can just do it on its own but it won’t be as efficient. Bit like a washing machine that has lots of different modes that are all really good at specifically washing certain things or you can just put it on daily load and yes it will wash just not quite as well as if you put each item on a specific wash.
So round town with charge in the battery then E-Mode at one touch of a button then put the gearstick into B mode (re-generative braking) and off you go and coast to recharge the battery as much as possible. It’s no slouch either in this mode and can do 70mph if you need to just on battery.
Got to my first appointment in e-mode only and after seeing my customer, who then wanted to drive it, I was left with only 3 miles of electric.
So now put it in Battery charge mode this then fires the engine (tried and tested 1.4TSI) which then takes over to drive the wheels and recharge the battery in much the same way a regular hybrid does. The surprise is how fast it does it. Within 10 minutes of driving I was back up to 10 miles. Once I got back to 12 I went into the next mode. Auto-Hybrid.
Auto hybrid is the equivalent of “Daily Wash” on your washing machine. It will do everything OK so little bit of engine, little bit of electricity, easiest mode to be in but not the most efficient. I suspect that this is how most people drive these without getting involved with the other modes and this will be part of the reason why they won’t get the fuel out of it that they expect.
This is the other big reason you won’t get the efficiency. B mode is when the car is coasting it regenerates electricity through the wheels and this causes a slow braking effect. On this car you have to activate it every time you start a journey. Without it engaged every time you lift and coast you regenerate any electricity and again this hits your efficiency.
As I said at the start my day was around town driving which this car excels at when you start the day with a full charge from a socket, if you travel over 20000 miles per year it might not be for you, if you do over 30000 miles per year then if definitely won’t be for you and the the only reason you will be going for it is the stunning Benefit In Kind rate for company car drivers or if you want eco and performance on the same package because in GTE mode this is a performance car.
Or what I like to call the FUN button.
This at the tpuch of a button combines the two power plant to give you maximum power. No its not efficient or eco but if you need to get away from lights quick because you’re in the wrong lane, overtake as quickly as possible or get your wife to hospital because she’s having a baby (please drive responsibly) this is the button to use. To say its electrifying is technically correct. You use all the electric power as a boost on take-off then the 1.4 TSi engine comes in at the same time and voila you have a healthy bouncing baby or you’re now in the right lane or you past the caravan following the learner tractor. Then you can push it again to carry being an eco-warrior and saving the planet.
Is it the future…..?
For the next 4 or 5 years it probably is for middle to lower mileage users with lots more of similar product due to come out over the 12 months there will be choice as well.
Will it be as efficient as they say it is?
Haven’t had one long enough yet but judging on the day I had you can help it by being clever with the modes and choosing which power unit to use depending on conditions and how you use it.
As far as the car itself goes it’s a great handling, driving, comfortable and as well built as a Golf GTI or GTD. It’s a lot more than these to buy but with the current grant money still available at a max level of £5000 of the price (for now and this will change so get in sooner rather than later) it comes into line with the price of a GTD.
If the size fits and you do less than 20000 miles per year and 70% of it is urban driving then this is for you. If you don’t though you may still want it but get it for the performance and tax advantage and not as much the eco-credentials.