A full set of new Volkswagen Golf models is coming to the U.S. next year, but only one will be a 2017 model. It's no accident that the all-electric 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf will be in the States this coming April or May, while the rest of the new Golf line will arrive in September as 2018 models. After what VW North America's CEO Hinrich J. Woebcken understatedly (but oh, so accurately) characterized as an "unhappy period" for VW in 2016 due to the company's Diesel-ocalypse, it was time for some good news, and the 4-door e-Golf unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show brought some.

A wonder under

Not so much a dramatic exterior update -- new front and rear bumpers, plus LED headlights and taillights, and the double-cool LED daytime running lights -- the best of the new e-Golf is found beneath the car's surface. The capacity of the electric Golf's lithium-ion batteries is increased from 24.2 kWh to 35.8 kWh, giving the car a significant anxiety-reducing range of 124 miles on a full charge.

Charge-speed innovations are hard to come by in any electric car, but you can upgrade the SE version of your e-Golf with DC Fast Charging (standard on the SEL Premium model) and achieve an 80-percent charge in about an hour through a DC Fast Charging station.

The e-Golf's electric motor has been upgraded to deliver 134 horsepower and 214 lb-ft of on-demand torque. Exceptionally enough, the new e-Golf sacrifices zero rear-cargo room, storing the batteries beneath the rear seat with no intrusion into the load floor.

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2017

But look and listen -- there's more

Other forward moves for the new e-Golf include the availability of VW's virtual cockpit, the Discover Pro infotainment system with a 9.2-inch color display, and the eventual availability of gesture control (if that feature ever catches on) which allows you to change screens, songs, etc. with a wave of your hand.

VW has also revised the set of safety features for the 2017 e-Golf. The available Forward Collision Warning/Autonomous Emergency Braking system now includes pedestrian detection, and the Driver Assistance Package now includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot/rear-traffic/lane-departure alerts, parking assist, and high-beam assist.

With all this to look forward to, Volkswagen still promises that the 2017 e-Golf pricing will barely move compared to the current model. That means it should start just under $30,000 for the SE model and reach about $36,500 for the SEL Premium. And the VW eGolf remains eligible for the federal $7,500 tax credit as well as various local incentives. All good news.

Related: See the other cars and concept vehicles unveiled at the 2016 LA Auto Show


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