Volkswagen e-up! vs Renault ZOE

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

Head-to-head

Charging

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.

Dealers

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.

Verdict

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.

Figures

 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/AN/A
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost10/£294/A/£016/£364/A/£0
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£249 (3yrs/30k)£299 (4yrs/40k)
   
Length/wheelbase3,540/2,421mm4,084/2,588mm
Height/width1,489/1,645mm1,562/1,730mm
EngineElectric motorElectric motor
Peak power/revs81/2,800 bhp/rpm87/3,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs210/2,800 Nm/rpm220/250 Nm/rpm
TransmissionSingle-speed/fwdSingle-speed/fwd
Battery charge time/range9 hours/93 milesNine hours/130 miles
   
Boot capacity (seats up/down)251/959 litres388/1,225 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,214/361kg1,468/475kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient9.8 metres/0.32Cd10.6 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/1yrs4yrs (100,000)/4yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers10,000 miles (1yr)/22318,000 miles (1yr)/153
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.16th/25th21st/9th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars89/80/46/589/80/66/5
   
0-60/30-70mph10.3/10.8 secs12.7/15.0 secs
30-50mph4.0 secs5.0 secs
50-70mph6.8 secs10.0 secs
Top speed80mph84mph
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph49.4/35.9/9.1m50.8/37.5/9.9m
Battery hireN/AFrom £70pcm*
Auto Express economy/rangeN/AN/A
Govt urban/extra-urban/combinedN/AN/A
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracketN/A/0g/km/0%N/A/0g/km/0%
   
Airbags/Isofix/rear parking sensorsFour/yes/yesSix/yes/yes
Automatic box/stability/cruise ctrlYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Climate ctrl/leather/heated seatsYes/no/yesYes/no/no
Metallic paint/DAB radio£500/yes£495/£240
Sat-nav/USB connection/BluetoothYes/no/yesYes/yes/yes

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