Volkswagen e-Up review

Category: Electric car

Section: Costs & verdict

Available fuel types:electric
Available colours:
Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD infotainment
Add to shortlist
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD front right tracking
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD rear tracking
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD dashboard
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD front seats
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD infotainment
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD wide front right tracking
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD right panning
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD wide rear tracking
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD wide front right static
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD wide rear static
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD dashboard detail
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD boot open
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD front right tracking
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD rear tracking
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD dashboard
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD front seats
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD infotainment
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD wide front right tracking
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD right panning
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD wide rear tracking
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD wide front right static
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD wide rear static
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD dashboard detail
  • Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD boot open
RRP £23,555What Car? Target Price from£22,698

Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

By opting for a Volkswagen e-Up and plugging in rather than filling up, you’ll be spending less on fuel bills than you would if you bought a petrol Up 1.0 TSI. However, even after the government’s £3500 electric car grant is deducted from the purchase price, the e-Up costs many thousands of pounds more to buy. That means you’ll have to cover an awful lot of miles to recuperate the difference. 

What’s more, while you might imagine the e-Up would be a tax haven for company car drivers, that isn’t the case, either. Yes, it’s in a much lower benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax band than any petrol Up, but you’ll still sacrifice more of your salary each month to run one, because it’s so much more expensive to buy. It’s also in a higher insurance group.

One way to see a genuine saving over a petrol Up is if you regularly travel into London’s Congestion Charge zone, because the e-Up, along with all other electric cars, are exempt from the fee.

The e-Up does come with more kit than the range-topping petrol R-Line, too; climate control, rear parking sensors, heated seats and cruise control are all thrown in. You get a long warranty of eight years (or 99,360 miles) for the battery as well.

As for charging times, a full charge takes around 16 hours from a standard three-pin socket, five hours and thirty minutes from a 7kw home charger and you can top up to 80% in just an hour if you have access to a CCS fast charger. That does result in that impressive official 161 miles of range – the more expensive Mini Electric only manages 145 miles but the Renault Zoe can, on paper, cover 245 miles. 

A major letdown with the e-Up, though, is the absence of automatic emergency braking (AEB), a safety system that we consider vital. It’s not available anywhere across the Up range, which results in the range only achieving a three-star Euro NCAP rating. That said, while that’s disappointing, the Renault Zoe also suffers a similar drawback. Such a system is, however, available on the Mini Electric and MG ZS EV.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD infotainment
Volkswagen e-Up 2020 RHD front right tracking
Open Gallery12 Images

Overview

The Volkswagen e-Up is great to drive, easy to park and comes with a decent, if not class-leading, electric range. It’s a good choice if you’re after an electric city runabout but, for a little bit more money, you can have a Renault Zoe with a plusher interior, more passenger space and a longer range.

  • Great to drive
  • Well equipped
  • Exempt from London Congestion Charge
  • Expensive
  • Average range
  • Not exactly spacious

Also consider

Smart ForFour EQ

2015 - present

Poor range, poor to drive, poor on practicality. There are bet...

Smart ForTwo EQ

2018 - present

Small proportions are perfect for the city, but poor range is...

Seat Mii Electric

2019 - present

Electric motoring in comparatively affordable, bites...

DS 3 Crossback E-Tense

2019 - present

Best version of the 3 Crossback, but the Kia e-Niro and K...