The Volkswagen e-Up is a compact electric city car that shares many components with the SEAT Mii Electric and Skoda Citigo e, which are slightly more affordable alternatives. In this comprehensive review, we will delve into the key features and considerations of the Volkswagen e-Up to help you make an informed decision.
1. Performance and Drive
The performance and drive of the Volkswagen e-Up are noteworthy. While converting a conventional car into an electric vehicle can sometimes compromise weight balance and handling, this is not the case with the e-Up. Despite being around 250kg heavier than its petrol counterpart, the instant power delivery when you press the accelerator makes it feel surprisingly quick. In fact, it can feel faster than the petrol model, which only offers a meager 59bhp. The e-Up is particularly agile in urban settings, allowing you to easily maneuver through traffic and quickly join roundabouts. However, its top speed is limited to 82mph to preserve battery life, and acceleration at motorway speeds is more gradual. It’s worth noting that the e-Up features a regenerative braking system, which can be maximized by shifting the gear shifter into “B” mode. This system harnesses energy that would otherwise be wasted when you lift off the accelerator and uses it to recharge the battery.
2. Driving Modes and Riding Quality
The e-Up offers three driving modes to optimize battery range: Normal, Eco, and Eco Plus. In terms of riding quality, the e-Up excels, surpassing many higher-priced cars in its ability to handle bumps and potholes without unsettling the ride. Its comfortable suspension makes it a pleasure to navigate city streets, providing a more enjoyable driving experience than the firmer Mini Electric.
The interior of the VW e-Up remains largely unchanged from the standard VW Up, with only minor modifications to indicate its electric nature. The dashboard features a simple and practical layout, with heating and ventilation controls conveniently grouped in the center and clear, easy-to-read dials in front of the steering wheel. However, despite its higher price tag compared to the petrol version, the e-Up does not offer any luxurious materials. The dashboard, doors, and center console have a similar hard and brittle feel, with exposed painted metal areas on the doors. Fortunately, the buttons and switches are solidly built, and there are options to add colorful trims to enhance the cabin’s ambiance, although some color choices may clash with the body-colored areas on the doors.
Unlike most small cars, the e-Up does not come with a traditional touchscreen infotainment system. Instead, it features a dedicated cradle on the dashboard where you can dock your smartphone. While this may seem old-fashioned, modern smartphones often have better touchscreens and responsiveness compared to built-in infotainment systems. This setup allows you to use your preferred music streaming and navigation apps directly through your phone, eliminating the need for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The e-Up does provide a hidden USB plug behind the cradle for charging your phone during long drives, but there are no additional USB sockets in the cabin.
Passenger and Boot Space
In terms of practicality, the e-Up is only available as a five-door model, similar to the petrol version. The electric motor is positioned under the bonnet, while the battery pack is neatly integrated under the floor and rear seats, ensuring that no boot space is sacrificed. The rear seats provide good space for passengers, thanks to the e-Up’s boxy dimensions, which allow for ample headroom. However, it’s important to note that there are only two seatbelts in the back, limiting the capacity to carry two passengers. If you frequently transport more than one passenger, the Renault Zoe may be a more practical choice. The e-Up’s boot is smaller than its main competitor, the Renault Zoe, so it’s best suited for carrying a few small shopping bags. However, the rear seats can be split and folded down when you need to transport larger items.
From this Volkswagen e-Up review, it is evident that the car offers impressive performance, comfortable driving dynamics, and a practical interior with a few minor compromises. If you’re considering an electric city car, the Volkswagen e-Up is certainly worth considering.