Volkswagen e-Up review
The VW e-Up is an all-electric version of the standard Up. It costs buttons to run and has decent performance in town. Alternatives have longer ranges, though.
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The VW e-Up is a small electric city car that shares lots of its mechanical bits and pieces with the slightly cheaper SEAT Mii Electric and the Skoda Citigo e. In this respect, It’s a bit like choosing between Heinz, Waitrose or Asda ketchup – they all use similar ingredients, but paying a bit more gets you a fancier looking bottle with a posher logo on the front.
Sadly, the VW e-Up doesn’t come with any particularly flashy features to let you know it’s an electric car. Sure, the front bumper gets a few subtle tweaks and many of the air vents originally fitted to cool the standard Up’s petrol engine have been filled in, but that’s about it.
Don’t go thinking that this means VW has gone wild designing the e-Up’s interior. In fact, were it not for the new dials and Eco mode buttons, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were sitting in a standard petrol-powered city car. The uber-simple layout of heating controls remains and the plastics on the dashboard and doors feel just as hard and scratchy.
The VW e-Up’s smartphone-based infotainment system is pretty basic, too, but it’s dead easy to use. Sure, you don’t get a large touchscreen like in the Renault Zoe electric car, but at least you can use your own navigation and music-streaming apps without the faff of plugging in a cable.
Getting comfortable in the front of the VW e-UP is very easy, too. There’s ample headroom in the front for seriously lofty drivers to stretch out and there’s space in the back seats for a couple of six-footers to get comfy on short trips.
As with the SEAT Mii Electric and Skoda Citigo e EVs, the VW e-Up comes with front and rear doors as standard, but it’s a shame that you can’t wind down the windows in the back. There isn’t as much space in the boot as you get in the Renault Zoe EV, either.
The VW e-Up is tiny electric car that’s cheap to run and very easy to drive with just enough space inside to occasionally carry a few adults in the back.
That said, you probably won’t be packing your VW e-Up to the brim with flat-pack furniture, but even with some heavy luggage and a few passengers on board you’ll find this electric car has enough punch to keep up with traffic in town.
The instant shove from the VW e-Up’s electric motor means it can sprint away from a set of traffic lights faster than most cars and it doesn’t feel too strained when you need to overtake slow-moving traffic. It does an admirable job on motorways, too – for a small city-focussed EV, at least.
If you do plan to use your VW e-Up for longer trips, you’ll have to factor in its slightly disappointing 160-mile range. Sure, this is no less than the Skoda Citigo e and SEAT Mii Electric can manage, but the Renault Zoe EV can manage a much more usable 250 miles between charges.
When you come to charge your VW e-Up, you’ll find it takes around an hour to charge it from empty to 80% full using a fast charger. The same charge will take four-and-a-half hours using a 7.2W wall-box home charger, however.
Don’t let the raw figures put you off the VW e-Up, though. Its dinky dimensions – even for a small electric car – mean it feels completely at home in the city and its nippy electric motor means it’s even more fun to drive in town than the standard petrol-powered VW Up. If you have somewhere you can plug it in to charge overnight, the VW e-UP could be the ideal electric car for your inner-city commute.
Many other small electric cars come with more equipment and posher cabins than the VW e-Up, but few can match its tiny size and affordable price-tag.
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