Volkswagen e-Up (2014 – 2023) Review

Volkswagen e-Up (2014 – 2023) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
It's easy to see why the Up works so well as an electric car. This is after all a car designed for city and urban use.

+Electric version of the Up with range of up to 100 miles, surprisingly quick and enjoyable to drive, no compromise on boot space, standard full charge in nine hours.

-A lot of money for a small car, best suited to the city, limited range of older e-Ups.

Insurance Group 10

The Volkswagen e-Up is a pure EV version of its city car, sitting alongside Volkswagen Group alternatives like the Skoda Citigo-e iV and SEAT Mii Electric, as well as alternatives like the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf. First introduced in 2014 with an updated version arriving in early 2020, the e-Up remains a city car first and foremost, not capable of the same generous range as conventional cars or more sophisticated EVs. Even so, the combination of sprightly performance, low noise and easy driving style arguably gives it the edge over the petrol Up in the city.

While some manufacturers have decided to build dedicated electric cars - the Nissan Leaf being a case in point - Volkswagen has taken the route of developing models that can be powered by different types of motor. So from its initial design, the Up was always designed to be fitted with an electric powertrain, creating the e-Up. The compact motor provides 82PS and with a single-speed gearbox it's actually the quickest Up in the range.

Original versions of the e-Up from 2014 on were fitted with a 18.7kWh battery, giving a range of approximately 100 miles on a single charge at best. More recently the e-Up was revised and fitted with a 32.3kWh battery, almost twice the capacity of the original.

These later versions have an official range of 159 miles under the tougher WLTP measurement, so the real-world range is much improved. Of course the faster you accelerate the quicker you drain the battery, but there are regenerative braking modes. As all the electric motor's torque is available from zero revs, the e-Up is impressively nippy from a standstill and is similarly strong from around 30mph.

A standard charge takes nine hours from a conventional three-pin socket, but owners are better off getting a wallbox which offers a significantly faster charge of around six hours. All the various cables required come with the car and live in a neat slot in the boot. Unlike rivals like the Renault Zoe, there's no leasing of the battery - it's all part of the final price. The battery itself is modular and has an eight year or 100,000 mile warranty.

The e-Up is considerably more expensive compared to the rest of the Up range but it does come very well equipped as standard with a heated windscreen, DAB radio, climate control, navigation, rear parking sensors and 15-inch alloys. Despite the price hike over the petrol version, it's still one of the cheapest electric cars on sale. 

It will certainly appeal to those who have to travel into the central London congestion charge zone and also makes a lot of sense as a second car. It’s also arguably better to drive in urban environments compared to the petrol Up, even without the congestion charge advantage.

Looking for a second opinon? Why not read heycar's Volkswagen e-Up review.

Ask Honest John

What's the best small secondhand electric car?

"What's the best small second hand electric car for a low mileage runaround? "
We'd recommend a Volkswagen e-Up, SEAT Mii Electric or Skoda Citigo-e iV. They're all essentially the same car with different badges. All make ideal runaround cars, with low running costs while representing excellent value for money. A Renault Zoe is a good alternative - with a huge number to choose from on the used market - or a Vauxhall Corsa-e.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What do you suggest as a narrow car for a tight driveway?

"My mum is looking to replace her BMW X1. It is too wide for her driveway and she has scraped it a few times. She needs a four door or hatch that's automatic. She loves driving and will wants a car that she can enjoy. Her budget is £15k to £20k and anything 2-4 years old is fine. We have been looking at a VW Polo but it is only 3-inches less wide that the X1. "
Would your mother consider an electric car? If so, a Volkswagen e-Up could be a great choice - it's narrow, yet its electric powertrain means it's surprisingly fun to drive (especially around town). A Smart EQ ForTwo would be worth a look, too. If she'd prefer to stick to a petrol car, we'd recommend a Kia Picanto, although the automated manual gearbox is a little clumsy.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Cam or Chain

"Does the 1.0-lire petrol engine in the new Up!, Citigo and Mii chain driven or does it have a cambelt? Seems to be conflicting information out there!"
Answered by Honest John

Volks will torque

"I have an 2007 2.0 TDI DSG and have just read the following in your ‘car by car breakdown’: “Early 2.0TDI DSGs suffer from ECU programming that reduces torque from standstill so acceleration is very poor initially until it hits peak torque and suddenly accelerates. Very dangerous at T-junctions and roundabouts.” I agree it is really scary at times (you have to put your foot down nearly a second before you actually want to move). Is this something that VW is willing to modify (preferably under warranty) or is it just a user-perception thing that I would have to see some after-market tuning chappie to modify? (My warranty ended in January.)"
The real reason is because the engine produces too much torque for the transmission and, unless it is electronically reigned in, it will destroy the dual mass flywheel, itself there to reduce torque reactions on the gearbox during the change-ups from 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Volkswagen e-Up (2014 – 2023) cost?