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white volkswagen e-up front

Volkswagen e-Up review

The e-Up might sound like a traditional Yorkshire greeting. In fact, it’s VW’s fully electric version of their small city car the Up. With electric cars becoming more and more popular, this really is one to consider for the city driver.


We’ve got used to seeing the standard VW Up buzzing around town and getting into those tight parking spaces that other cars just can’t manage. The looks of the all-electric version won’t be a surprise - in fact, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference at all. 

It has the same boxy shape and slightly cheeky look to it – the main difference comes with the C-shaped running lights and the special aero-optimised 15-inch alloy wheels. 

Overall, the use of the black glass tailgate and the prominent VW badges also make it stand out as a top-spec small-town car and a cut above rivals like the Skoda Citigo.

silver volkswagen e-up

It has the same boxy shape and slightly cheeky look to it.

What’s it like to drive?

If you’ve ever been behind the wheel of a standard Up you may be very surprised to discover that the electric version is even better to drive. 

Naturally, the one-speed gearbox makes it a very smooth experience and the sharp handling means it really can zip around those city streets. The one thing you will have to get used to is just how quiet it is to drive. 

The small 15-inch wheels make a very good job of absorbing the jolts and bumps of urban driving and, with a claimed range of up to 159 miles for later models, you can even venture further afield.

white volkswagen e-up driving down a street

You may be very surprised to discover that the electric version is even better to drive. 


Volkswagen have resisted the temptation of reinventing the wheel by giving the e-Up virtually the same interior as the standard model. The materials used may not be the soft and squishy plastics of some more up-market cars, but everything seems solid and very well put together.

The seats are comfortable and adjustable. The one small quibble is that there is one fixed position for the steering wheel. The instrument panel looks surprisingly like a standard one. On closer inspection, you can see that the ‘petrol gauge’ now shows the charge left in the battery and the ‘rev counter’ the energy percentage use and recharge meter. 

volkswagen e-up white interior

There’s no infotainment system as such because the idea is that you use your smartphone and your preferred apps which are displayed on the small, integral screen, There’s even a cradle supplied for your phone, although some of the latest and biggest phones may not fit into it. 

In the back there is plenty of room for two with it starting to feel too cramped. The batteries under the seat do mean that there’s a little less headroom than in the standard up but this won’t be an issue except for the very tall. 


Unlike some electric cars where the boot size is limited by having to make room for the batteries, this isn’t the case with the e-Up. This means that there is plenty of room with the seats up for a weekly grocery shop or luggage for a week away. 

Fold the seats down and it’s really quite a sizeable area, made even more flexible by the 60/40 seat split. The boot’s false floor also means that there is storage space to keep the charging cables out of the way.

There’s not a huge amount of storage space in the cabin and the rear door bins are so narrow that they’re not much use at all – but then it is a small city car!

volkswagen e-up boot

Running costs and reliability

While the purchase price of a used e-Up will be higher than its fossil fuel equivalents, you’ll be able to recoup some of this in fuel savings. 

Depending on the weather conditions and driving mode, newer models will cover up to 159 miles on a full charge with 99 miles for older models. 

It can be fully charged in as little as four hours using a 7kWh point. It can even be charged from an ordinary three-pin socket – but that’s going to take up to 16 hours. Find a 50kWh charging point, though, and it can only take an hour.

What we love

You can rely on Volkswagen to think of almost everything when it comes to creating a small electric city car – and they have. It may be a little more expensive than its closest rivals but you’ll be getting a car that is probably the very best in its class. Modern, techy and easy to drive – perfect for the city or no-faff drivers.

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If you’re in the market for a small city car that also has the range to be taken on longer journeys, a high-quality level of interior and a very satisfying driving experience too, then the only way is e-Up!

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