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2018 VW e-Golf pricing revealed, and it comes in close to the Nissan Leaf

Greg Rasa

Over in Frankfurt this week, it was all about the many forms electrification will take in the near future. But in the here-and-now real world, the EV arms race is getting interesting too. Volkswagen on Thursday revealed pricing of the new, longer-range 2018 e-Golf. And it's going to make for some interesting comparison shopping.

The new e-Golf gets a 125-mile range, as well as updated styling and an electric motor making 134 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque. Battery storage is now at 35.8 kWh, up from 24.2 in the old e-Golf. VW says the new car is faster than its predecessor, too, doing 0-to-60 in 9.6 seconds.

Pricing starts at $31,315, including destination fees. For a deeper read on what the e-Golf is like, check out our first-drive review from back in May.

Meanwhile, the new Nissan Leaf revealed just last week offers 150 miles of range. Likewise it has updated styling inside and out. And it makes 147 horsepower and 236 pound feet of torque. The battery is 40 kWh, and in a year it will get a more-robust "e+" variant with heftier battery and greater range. The new Leaf's pricing starts at $30,875.

And then there's the Hyundai Ionic EV: 124 miles of range, 104 hp, 215 pound-feet, 28 kWh battery, ringing in at $30,335.

All these prices, of course, are before the $7,500 federal tax credit.

Another point of triangulation: The Chevy Bolt boasts a 238-mile range, makes 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque on a 60 kWh battery, can kick the butt of the e-Golf's GTI big brother and is expected to outsell just about everything but a Tesla S. Ah, but the Bolt starts at $37,495 and heads up from there. And we won't get into the Tesla Model 3, which is in "production hell," may only have 30 working specimens so far and is $35,000 going on $46,000.

So the e-Golf is really head-to-head with the Leaf and perhaps the Ionic.

The base e-Golf is the SE, offering more standard equipment this year including an 8-inch touchscreen, LED taillights, cruise control and a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel. It has a 7.2 kW onboard charger. DC fast charging is a $995 option.

The e-Golf Limited Edition at $33,795 adds the fast charging, V-Tex leatherette seats, parking assist and later in the model year will get an accident-avoidance feature called Maneuver Braking.

The e-Golf SEL Premium at $36,995 offers an optional package of driver-assistance features for $1,395 including VW's Digital Cockpit instruments, adaptive cruise, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian monitoring, lane assist, blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert, and parking assist. Note that many of these driver-assist features will be available on even the cheapest Nissan Leaf.

A U.S. release date for the e-Golf hasn't been announced, whereas Leaf production begins next month, and the Ionic is already in showrooms.

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