Zapmap verdict: “A good range and price mean the VW e-up! will make plenty of sense for anyone looking at buying a city car, electric or otherwise.”
- ● OTR: £20,905
- ● Category: City car
- ● Tax: £0 VED – 0% BIK
- ● Cost to charge: £5.20
- ● Emissions: 0 g/km CO2
- ● Cost per mile of range: £131
VW e-up! range & charging
The VW e-up! has been on sale for a number of years, but has recently received a significant upgrade with a larger capacity battery. It sees driving range almost double that of the previous version, yet pricing kept at similar levels. As such, EV buyers have a far more attractive proposition in the city car class.
There is one configuration available:
- ● VW e-up! – 60 kW – 32.3 kWh – 159 miles
Whilst the 159-mile range might seem too short for some buyers, it’s worth considering in context. Firstly, the WLTP range is almost double the 83-mile figure from the old battery pack. Secondly, it’s a WLTP figure, and so pretty accurate/achievable. And thirdly, the e-up! is a city car. As such, long distances are rarely covered, with only the occasional trip to see friends or family, or to go on holiday testing the outright range on a single charge. The e-up! is not aimed at regular motorway drivers, and should be judged accordingly.
In real-world driving, the e-up! performed extremely well in terms of driving range. It was easy to hit 145 miles on a charge, and that’s sticking largely to country roads with odd trips into a small town. This is not the ‘normal’ mileage for the e-up!, which would normally spend most of its time on urban routes and occasional runs on country roads or motorways. Sticking to town work, the e-up!’s range was closer to 200 miles on a charge.
Aiding range is the flexible brake energy recuperation system, with D/B modes as usual, plus four intermediate settings ranging from practically coasting to near one-pedal driving. It’s really useful, and although takes greater ‘work’ to make the most of, it can prove far more effective than a single B setting.
Charging will take around 40 minutes from a rapid DC point to 80%, and four and a half hours from a 7.2 kW AC unit, if you’re charging at home, for instance. The e-up! can charge at up to 7.2 kW AC and 40 kW DC, with a Type 2 CCS inlet on the rear off-side flank.
The VW e-up! on the road
Volkswagen’s e-up! is well designed for urban driving. Short overhangs, wheels pushed into the far corners of the car, and a low centre of gravity thanks in part to the battery being fitted in the floor means the e-up! has a surprising agility to its handling. The suspension is relatively pliant, but the VW can be thrown around tight corners and threaded along a narrow line as well as the best of them. It’s fun to drive when the mood takes and situation allows, but equally comfortable enough to deal with the rough surfaces frequently found in towns and cities.
What’s the VW e-up! like to drive?
The performance follows a very similar line to the handling set-up. Thanks to a light (for an EV) weight and compact dimensions, the e-up! offers punchy acceleration until around 50mph. The 0-62mph time of 11.9 seconds is sluggish, but the instant response and eagerness shown by the electric motor means that shorter dashes and ‘in-gear’ acceleration feels far quicker than the time suggests. It’s excellent around town, brilliant in car parks, enjoyable on country roads, and relatively refined on the motorway.
VW e-up! comfort & practicality
It’s a good job a large swathe of coloured plastic can be found on the e-up!’s dashboard, otherwise the interior would seem rather drab. Instead, the little VW manages to be youthful but sensible. There is a small entertainment screen/system, but the driver is expected to download the ‘Maps + More’ app to their smartphone for full navigation, music and trip computer information. This does at least mean that it will stay up to date far more than many an in-built sat-nav system. The trailing cable when keeping the phone charged up is a little sloppy aesthetically, however. Otherwise, switchgear and interior materials are typically VW – excellent. For its class, the build quality feels very good, and the e-up! can feel a larger car than it really is.
The rest of the interior is relatively practical. The boxy shape means that there is a useful boot, and the rear seats can cope with a couple of adults or child seats. You could seat four for a trip to the supermarket for example, though packing the boot might take a bit of care.
Overall, for a city car, the e-up! is a useable daily driver even for those trips that have more than two people, which can’t be said of all its rivals.
VW e-up! tech & specifications
There’s one trim level for the e-up! so kit lists are simple. Fitted as standard are:
- ● 15-inch alloys
- ● Leather multi-function steering wheel
- ● Infotainment system with DAB, Bluetooth, USB and AUX connectivity
- ● Parking sensors front and rear
- ● Rear camera
- ● Climate control
- ● Cruise control
- ● Heated front seats
- ● Heated windscreen
- ● Automatic wipers & lights
Is the Volkswagen e-up! a good car?
The Volkswagen e-up! helps prove that electric power is not just a possibility in city cars, but often the best option. The e-up! has a range that will rarely be tested by urban drivers and those that are looking at city cars; and even if the trip is further than 150 miles or so, charging times are kept to a good level. It’s a practical, stylish and well equipped small car that has an excellent powertrain – it just happens to be electric.
All information above correct at time of publication. Official economy figures, pricing, and tax rates supplied by the manufacturer. Cost to charge based on 0-100% charge at home on a tariff of 16 p/kWh.