Review: Volkswagen e-Up

Review: Volkswagen e-Up
Review: Volkswagen e-Up

The electric city car gets minor changes that come at a price

VW’s Up has been a long-time favourite and the electric version clearly has its place in the city traffic. If you need to do serious mileage at weekends, or the charging cycles don’t work for you then obviously this shouldn’t be on your shortlist. But for those who want a stylish car that runs on zero emissions from the car itself, the e-Up has to be worth a look.

In this case, the mildly revised version is all about looks. There is a new front bumper and the lights at the rear are different and then there are, ah, no, nothing else different.

Volkswagen e-Up

Price: £20,780 (inc. govt grant)
Engine: Electric motor
Power: 81bhp
Torque: 155lb/ft
Gearbox: Direct drive
Kerb weight: 1214kg
0-62mph: 12.4sec
Top speed: 80mph
Range: 99miles
CO2/tax band: 0g/km, 0%

Which isn’t a bad thing as the little Volkswagen is based on the standard version, and that makes a great city car. Making the motive power electric simply offers some alternatives to those who like the idea of a car that we know works as a car, before it gets electricity, rather than a car designed purely as an electric car.

The normally-powered Up isn’t exactly a slowcoach, but it’s no dragster either. Adding electric power gives much more instant drive off the line. With all the torque there from the get-go, the e-Up makes a more dramatic getaway than the normal Up.

Quicker and quieter – what’s not to like? Well, fairly quiet. If you get out on faster roads you will notice wind and road noise, but generally this is a very pleasant environment to be in.

That electric reservoir can be controlled by one of three driving modes, from Normal to Eco Plus, with the regenerative braking helping keep things topped up, even if it makes the braking itself feel a bit remote and uneven.

There’s plenty of room, with the battery pack in the floor, and that space feels well-made and well filled with goodies. We like the leather-trimmed steering wheel – oh that’s new, we forgot about that – and the heated front seats. It may be small but it has the usual VW quality of feeling like a bigger car inside built to a higher spec.

But all that comes at a price. Actually, a price which is a whopping £8000 more than for the 1.0-litre TSI petrol version of the Up, which is a great little motor and won’t cost you much to run either. That price differential makes this e-Up rather difficult to recommend, even if it is a good city car in itself. We like the eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty, and finance deals might help that purchase price but, really, it’s just too much money for most people to justify.


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