Volkswagen e-up! vs Renault ZOE

3 Mar, 2014 12:40pm

New e-up! is VW’s first full production electric car. We test it against Renault’s ZOE to see which EV cleans up

Small electric cars aren’t charging out of dealers yet. But the first all-electric VW – the new e-up! – is now on sale in the UK, and a zero-emission version of one of the world’s best city cars could be what finally takes small EVs into the mainstream.

The battery-powered up! costs £19,250 after the Government’s £5,000 plug-in grant and gets luxuries like heated seats, cruise control, DAB radio and sat-nav. Its electric motor produces 81bhp and 210Nm of torque while, depending on the conditions, VW promises a range between 50 miles and 90 miles. But the Renault ZOE is cheaper than the e-up! and offers similar power, range and charge times. We’ve put them head-to-head to see which is better.

Volkswagen e-up review

Renault ZOE review



Volkswagen e-up! vs Renault ZOE 4

The e-up! and BMW i3 are the first cars to come with a CCS combi charger set-up, which provides both a seven-point CCS-style charge plug and a conventional UK three-pin socket.

The ZOE gets only the seven-pin version, so can’t be charged using a normal domestic plug. However, its Chameleon charger system works with single or three-phase power, and Renault will fit a charging station at your home for free.

Buy or rent?

You get the battery included in the e-up!’s purchase price, but the ZOE’s cells are on a monthly lease. Depending on contract length and mileage, it’ll set you back £70 to £103 a month – or £3,348 over 36 months for drivers doing 12,000 miles a year. This reduces the VW’s price premium to £707.


Buyers can order their e-up! from one of 24 specialist dealers across the UK, while Renault will sell you a ZOE from all of its 248 retailers. Since the ZOE went on sale last year, the company has sold just 390 examples here.


1st place: Volkswagen e-up!

Volkswagen e-up! static

As with all electric cars, the e-up! will be held back by its limited range and high price. But if you’re in the market for an EV, this new VW is one of the best. It’s as good to drive as the petrol up!, plus is faster, more desirable and has a higher-quality feel than the ZOE.

2nd place: Renault ZOE

Renault ZOE static

The ZOE is cheaper to buy than the up!, but battery rental charges reduce the price advantage. And while it offers a similar range, and has more cabin space, quality isn’t up to the VW’s standard, plus the ZOE doesn’t handle with the same verve. It’s slower, too.


Volkswagen e-up! Renault ZOE Dynamique Intens
On the road price/total as tested £19,250/£19,250 £15,195/£16,140
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000) £6,102/31.7% £5,546/36.5%
Depreciation £13,148 £9,649
Annual tax liability std/higher rate £0/£0 £0/£0
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles) N/A N/A
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost 10/£294/A/£0 16/£364/A/£0
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service £249 (3yrs/30k) £299 (4yrs/40k)
Length/wheelbase 3,540/2,421mm 4,084/2,588mm
Height/width 1,489/1,645mm 1,562/1,730mm
Engine Electric motor Electric motor
Peak power/revs 81/2,800 bhp/rpm 87/3,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs 210/2,800 Nm/rpm 220/250 Nm/rpm
Transmission Single-speed/fwd Single-speed/fwd
Battery charge time/range 9 hours/93 miles Nine hours/130 miles
Boot capacity (seats up/down) 251/959 litres 388/1,225 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight 1,214/361kg 1,468/475kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient 9.8 metres/0.32Cd 10.6 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery 3yrs (60,000)/1yrs 4yrs (100,000)/4yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers 10,000 miles (1yr)/223 18,000 miles (1yr)/153
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos. 16th/25th 21st/9th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars 89/80/46/5 89/80/66/5
0-60/30-70mph 10.3/10.8 secs 12.7/15.0 secs
30-50mph 4.0 secs 5.0 secs
50-70mph 6.8 secs 10.0 secs
Top speed 80mph 84mph
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 49.4/35.9/9.1m 50.8/37.5/9.9m
Battery hire N/A From £70pcm*
Auto Express economy/range N/A N/A
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined N/A N/A
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket N/A/0g/km/0% N/A/0g/km/0%
Airbags/Isofix/rear parking sensors Four/yes/yes Six/yes/yes
Automatic box/stability/cruise ctrl Yes/yes/yes Yes/yes/yes
Climate ctrl/leather/heated seats Yes/no/yes Yes/no/no
Metallic paint/DAB radio £500/yes £495/£240
Sat-nav/USB connection/Bluetooth Yes/no/yes Yes/yes/yes

Disqus - noscript

When I saw the headline to this thread my thoughts went along the lines of "AE's verdict will be as predictable as lighting up time" and so it came to pass! Of course they might be right for all I know but they are unlikely to be believed as a matter of course, except by the "stormtroopers" naturally.

If were down to a choice of the two I'd take the Renault.

if it was down to your mother she'd take the pill.

Who in their right mind would buy the Renault and then have to pay an extortionate lease for the batteries? Even the dreadful Prius would be a better option.

Oh and another thing,where did AE get the residual values from? 31.7% for the vw vs 36.5 for the Renault? Look at resale vales for the two brands and and tell me thats not a lot of BS. The figure of 31.7 is mental. It would be the equivalent of buying an 11 reg golf 1.4s for £4718. Never gonna happen.

If I was in the market, I think I would wait for the Seat or Skoda versions if VW allow them to make one, which will be better looking, better equipped and cheaper. However I still don't see why the taxpayer should be subsidising them.

I could never sink low enough to say something like that.

You end up paying for the batteries anyway. Its in the price differential between the two. With the Renault, when the batteries inevitably become useless then you get a fresh set under the terms of the continued lease.

I doubt you'd expect Renault to replace your batteries after 3 years. Maybe after 6 or 7 years, by which time it would not be worth paying £100 per month. for such a low value car.

The "dreadful Prius" is a hybrid not a pure EV. It doesn't make sense in Europe because its emission figures are no better than a good diesel, but it's much more expensive than an equivalent diesel. It works well for the US market however, as diesel is not widespread over there. There's no London Congestion charge for an EV, which is the only reason you would buy one.

Does depend on how they have been used.

Unfortunately the case for any kind of battery powered car is incredibly weak.

Renault have chosen an alternative approach that will appeal to some (they hope).

Classy. But you say more about yourself than anyone else when you make crass remarks like that.

You say the range is similar but everything I've seen suggests the Zoe has a much better range. And at the moment, the uncertainty over residual values means buying a car with the batteries included is a very risky proposition. Who's going to buy the thing from you in five years when the batteries are almost dead and replacing them costs many thousands? The Renault is also bigger and potentially safer. I don't see how the up! can win this test.

Warning Fraud! AutoExpress is a propaganda sister, of the neo-fascist Springer AG Germany.wich is sponsored from VW (VW, Porsche, Audi, Skoda, Seat) do not be foolish and belief what they say;

The test says the e-up stands out even more than the regular model - I like the up, but its quite a 'blend-in' design and I'd never say it stood out in any way. The Zoe does, though, and I'm starting to see quite a few on the roads now.

Utter rubbish! Only an ejit would buy an EV and its batteries up front.