New Volkswagen e-up! 2017 review

This is the all-new electric VW e-up! city car. But is this latest model a positive or negative update?

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

VW’s electric e-up! only works well if you are able to charge it often. That means the petrol powered up! models will make the most sense for the most people. If you’re set on a small electric car, it’s still a top choice but it’s quite expensive, so a Renault ZOE is a more cost effective buy. In it’s favour, the up! remains more fun to drive than the Renault and the subtle styling appeals more to our eyes, too.

Volkswagen’s updated up! range is now available in the UK, including this: the all-electric e-up!. The changes are fairly minor over the previous e-up! version, with the main revisions you’ll notice being a new set of lights, bumpers and door mirrors.

On the inside there’s some new seats, a different steering wheel and a new infotainment system with a superb display screen on the dashboard. The small screen that used to sit on top of the dash is gone, replaced by a smartphone holder and a downloadable app for your smartphone with the same features.

• Volkswagen up! review

The e-up looks pretty much the same as the normal city car from the outside, as you’d have to look closely to notice either the lack of an exhaust pipe or the C-shaped LED lights on the front. Even sitting inside, the only clue to the electric powertrain is the display in front of you showing the range and battery capacity.

With 99 miles of range, the VW e-up! is about on par with the 22kWh Renault ZOE, although its competitor now also offers a 180-mile 41kWh version. For those who can charge at work and home a theoretical 99 miles should be plenty, but we found that driving in the cold was unpleasant. With around 17 miles of range remaining, the heater as well as performance is limited to conserve electricity, making for a freezing commute.

The best electric cars you can buy

Still, use it as intended and the e-up! is punchy, extremely quiet at low speed and even good fun to drive thanks to the instant torque from the electric motor. It’s not as enjoyable and flexible as the brilliant up! petrol versions, but it does feel quite a lot perkier around town. On the motorway it’s much further out of its comfort zone, however, thanks to its limited top speed.

The e-up! is great fun on a tighter road, as even the extra weight from the batteries hasn’t changed how agile the car is in the bends.

Most Popular

New Range Rover Sport ride review
New Range Rover Sport - front tracking
Road tests

New Range Rover Sport ride review

We get taken for a blast around Goodwood motor circuit in the new Range Rover Sport
27 Jun 2022
New MG 4 electric hatch arrives with 280 miles of range
New MG 4 2023
News

New MG 4 electric hatch arrives with 280 miles of range

The all-electric MG 4 hatchback rivals the Volkswagen ID.3 and introduces MG’s new MSP electric platform
28 Jun 2022
New Honda Civic 2022 review
Honda Civic - front
Road tests

New Honda Civic 2022 review

The all-new hybrid Honda Civic has finally arrived, but what’s like from behind the wheel? We find out…
28 Jun 2022