The first thing to appreciate about the VW Golf GTE is that it's not a special edition GTI though it does offer great fun and low running costs since it is a petrol-electric hybrid car.
Indeed, approach this car with an open mind and the Golf GTE becomes something of an intriguing offering from Volkswagen; it's definitely got the fun factor with great handling and will sprint from 0 to 62 mph in just 7.6 seconds. In its blurb, Volkswagen says the Golf GTE combines the dynamics of GTI - which it doesn't - and the economy and sustainability of the e-Golf - which it does.
Essentially, it's a great handling car with excellent performance around town and it is a capable long distance cruiser with a range of 580 miles when the batteries are fully charged. The combined power output from the 1.4 litre petrol engine and the electric motor is 201 bhp and the acceleration is smooth and rapid. It should be appreciated that the extra weight of the batteries can be felt in the car's performance when cornering since the suspension has been tweaked to cater for the extra weight.
Despite this the VW Golf GTE will, says the car maker, have an electric only range of 32 miles and a potential economy of 166 mpg. It should be pointed out that owners in everyday conditions will struggle to reach those figures and should budget on getting 20 miles out of the batteries and a potential economy of 100 mpg - which is not to be sniffed at.
The other big issue is that of the price tag which does not compare that favourably with either the GTI or the GTD Golf creations but the GTE does offer an interesting alternative. It's also a pleasant place to be with its tartan interior and layout that's familiar with other Golf models. There is also plenty of space on board for everyone and lots of cubbyholes too. Standard equipment includes a 5.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, climate and cruise controls as well as alloy wheels and DAB radio while safety kit includes electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and an electronic differential that helps to boost grip when cornering.
There is a lot to recommend the VW Golf GTE particularly for those who are looking for cheap and stylish motoring though it doesn't have the handling of a GTI it does have the equivalent handling of a standard Golf with an impressive turn of pace and much lower running costs.