With electrified vehicles having been on the road for more than a decade, there are plenty of used choices available for consumers looking for value. As an ongoing series, we’ll look back at various generations of battery electrics, PHEVs and hybrids to give you the information you need to make an educated choice. And check out The Charge’s Browse EVs for Sale page to find what you’re looking for.
At first glance, the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf’s arrival in Canada appears to have been timed to help the company clean up its reputation after the diesel emissions scandal of late 2015. But VW’s first all-electric car had been in the works for years before that and was already on sale in Germany in early 2014 before it reached the US market as a 2016 model.
The VW e-Golf swapped out the gas model’s turbo four-cylinder engine for an electric motor whose 214 lb-ft of torque made it feel quicker in city driving than its 134 hp would suggest.
There are few visual cues to set the e-Golf apart from its gas-powered counterpart: The electric version has different wheels and tweaked front-end styling, but the car’s shape is identical, and its interior layout very nearly so also.
By the time the e-Golf reached Canadian showrooms, it had a 35.8-kWh battery that, when new, promised 200 km of range on a full charge. The version introduced in the US in 2016 had a smaller battery that boasted just 134 km per charge.
At its 2017 Canadian launch, the e-Golf was one of the most energy-efficient BEVs in the compact hatchback class. Its 1.7/2.1 Le/100 km (city/highway) energy consumption estimates were good enough for a third-place ranking that year, behind the Hyundai Ioniq Electric and BMW i3 and matching the Chevrolet Bolt.
According to Carfax Canada in March, used VW e-Golf values range from $15,342 for a 2017 model to $32,097 for a 2020 version.
Trim levels and features
VW offered the e-Golf in a single Comfortline trim, which in 2017 came with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, passive keyless entry, an auto-dimming mirror, dual-zone A/C, heated front seats, a heated windshield, LED headlights, and rain-sensing wipers.
e-Golf options included a tech package that bundled a larger touchscreen with smartphone integration and gesture controls, and a driver assistance group that added blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation, lane keeping and parking assists, and a digital gauge cluster. Buyers could also add leather seats as a standalone option.
The e-Golf’s first – and only – Canadian update came in 2019, when it got a redesigned front bumper.
Check the charge port
The e-Golf’s charge port has a lock that prevents the charger connector from being removed until the driver unlocks it manually. Some owners wish it locked and unlocked with the keyless entry system. Others say theirs never locks at all, while this owner’s charge port refused to unlock to release the charge cord.
If an e-Golf’s charge port door won’t open, the latch’s release mechanism may simply be stuck, or it could be faulty and need to be replaced.
Make sure the car actually goes backwards when you engage reverse
In this thread, e-Golf owners discuss a surprisingly common issue: cars that move forward despite having been shifted into reverse. In many cases, this can be blamed on putting the car into gear before the powertrain’s computer controls have finished booting up after the driver has pressed the “start” button. However, a handful of drivers say they’ve experienced the forward-in-reverse phenomenon after the car had already been running for some time. It may be worth finding a quiet parking lot during your test drive to see if the e-Golf you’re looking at exhibits this unsettling behaviour.
Has the battery lost capacity?
Battery degradation is a fact of life as a BEV ages, but the rate at which the battery loses energy storage capacity depends on factors like how often you use DC fast charging and how far you run the battery down between charges. Generally, charging more frequently and avoiding the use of DC fast-charging stations are reliable ways to extend the life of an EV’s battery.
You can read more about VW e-Golf owners’ experiences with battery degradation here and here.
Recalls for the e-Golf also apply to gas-powered versions of the car. The largest campaign was this one from 2021, which instructed dealers to replace a piece of trim with which sharp edges could cut fingers and hands.
The e-Golf’s only other recall addressed faulty rear-seat headrests.
The e-Golf received ‘Good’ scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for front crash prevention, but a ‘Poor’ score for headlights. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the car a stellar five out of five stars overall for crash test results.