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 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time
Vauxhall Astra teaser 1
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time

The new Vauxhall Astra will get electrified powertrains and a more premium image
8 Jun 2021
New Vauxhall Astra prototype review
Vauxhall Astra prototype - front
Vauxhall Astra

New Vauxhall Astra prototype review

A new Vauxhall Astra is on the way and we've driven a prototype ahead of its official arrival
14 Jun 2021
‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'
Gearknob
Opinion

‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'

Want to drive a manual car? You need to take your test in a manual car. So what happens once all driving-school cars are automatic EVs?
8 Jun 2021
'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'
Toyota Mirai opinion
Opinion

'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'

Mike Rutherford says hydrogen-powered cars could still be a frequent sight on UK roads
13 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
New Porsche Macan facelift prototype review
Porsche Macan prototype - front
Porsche Macan

New Porsche Macan facelift prototype review

We get behind the wheel of a prototype version of the facelifted Porsche Macan SUV
13 Jun 2021
Illegal car modification hotspots revealed
Volkswagen Polo exhaust
News

Illegal car modification hotspots revealed

Gloucestershire has the highest proportion of illegal car modifications, with altered number plates the most common breach
14 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021
'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'
Car manufacturing
Opinion

'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'

Steve Fowler points out the fresh issues facing global car manufacturing
9 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai production begins in Sunderland
Nissan Qashqai - front static
News

New Nissan Qashqai production begins in Sunderland

Nissan will offer every school child in the North East of England a place on the Nissan Skills Foundation course to mark 35 years of manufacturing in …
14 Jun 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Car group tests

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300

The capable Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport goes up against its new Cupra Leon 300 sibling in this hot hatch battle
12 Jun 2021
New hydrogen-powered Land Rover Defender prototype in development
Land Rover Defender
Land Rover Defender

New hydrogen-powered Land Rover Defender prototype in development

The Land Rover Defender FCEV prototype will be assessed for off-road and long-range zero-emission motoring
14 Jun 2021
SsangYong J100 to get tough in the electric SUV sector
SsangYong J100 electric SUV
SsangYong

SsangYong J100 to get tough in the electric SUV sector

The tough looking electric mid-size SUV is slated for production next year and will be joined by a pick-up model
15 Jun 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle
Volkswagen T7 Multivan - front
Volkswagen Caravelle

New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle

The Volkswagen T7 Multivan MPV switches to the MQB platform and adds plug-in hybrid technology
10 Jun 2021