Volkswagen’s lineage of alternatives to the petrol hot hatch is almost as long as that of the Golf GTI itself. The Mk1 got the first GTD, the Mk7 introduced the plug-in hybrid GTE, and the GTX badge will have its first outing on the ID.4 electric SUV later this year. But the rise of the all-electric hot hatch hasn’t left the hybrid middle ground untended.
Few could have predicted the shifting sands the first GTE would live through when it launched in 2014. Its blend of pseudo-GTI performance and tax-friendly CO2 turned out to be well timed, even before declining appetites for diesel took the shine off the previously fleet-favoured GTD. With no signs of that trend reversing, there are two plug-in hybrid Golfs this time; the 204hp e-Hybrid (essentially the old GTE without the styling upgrades) and a second-generation GTE which produces the same 245hp as the current GTI.
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