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?
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.
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.
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.