The Volkswagen Group’s trio of tried-and-tested city cars has been around since 2012. setting the standard that all others must meet these cheap and cheerful small cars bring big car build quality into a package that is compacted urban-friendly. now in the latter years of its life, the electric has been given a nip and tuck. so the slightly tweaked look and most importantly a bigger battery.
The prices start at about $24,000.
VW e-up! is powered with a 36.8 kWh battery which is pretty much the same as you’ll find the latest Mini electric and the Honda E.
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The 36.8 kWh battery has a limited usable capacity of 32.3 kWh to protect and preserve its longevity. unlike its Skoda sibling, which is available without the ups more expensive fast charge capability, the VW e-up! comes in just one trim choice and one charging option.
With its standard CCS and type 2 ports, the e-up! will be charged 80% of its capacity on a fast charger in around an hour. or via a 7 kWh charger wall box in four hours. if you plug it into a standard domestic socket, you can expect a full charge in around 16 hours.
Being based on a petrol car, the usual fuel filler cap doubles as a charge flap, and thanks to the car’s short rear overhang, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting up nice and close to any available charge point.
Every VW e-up! comes with two charging cables. an AC cable for wall box and public charge points and another for connecting to a 3-pin domestic plug. plus drivers can use we connect smartphone app to monitor charging progress remotely. as well as pre cool or preheat the interior ahead of a journey. which is a useful feature in the winter months when wielding an ice scraper can be quite it sure.
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Volkswagen e-up! has a 159-mile official range. enough? let’s find out more.
The 159-mile WLTP rated range is probably more like 140 miles in day-to-day driving, or perhaps 120 miles on cold days for sure. but obviously, it depends on your driving style and there are caveats to all range readouts. the predicted range will drop dramatically if you plan to use the motorway regularly. perhaps even as low as 85 miles on a single charge.
This e-up! has a top speed of 81 mph. and even when it’s there it feels pretty competent. there’s a bit of wind noise and you do tend to feel the wind pushing you from side to side. but in all honesty, it’s no big deal. but as you expect this car is much better suited to town driving. you get that characteristic zip off the line, and it’s perfect for nipping in hour traffic. it’s plenty quick enough up to 30 miles an hour.
This car can accelerate 0-60 mph in about 12 seconds. okay, it’s not as fast as a Honda e or a Mini electric. but you know what I don’t think that’s gonna matter to most buyers. and the VW is not going to challenge those two cars in the corners either.
Now, this is a city car first and foremost. but things like the Honda and the Mini have proven recently that you can have a small car a small package and still have a really enjoyable car to drive. the Volkswagen e-up! steering is light and these tires are skinny. so you don’t get all awful amount of grip and there’s quite a bit of body roll in quick changes of direction. but do you know what and as is the case with a lot of smaller electric cars that electric motor just transforms the fun factor? just gives you so much as if off the line and you just courage to push it.
You can fiddle with a gear lever to adjust the regenerative braking. there are four levels to choose from and while it doesn’t offer one-pedal driving. it’s enough to slow the car during faster-flowing traffic. and obviously, the electric motor has worked wonders for a fireman.
This car started life with a petrol engine a small three-cylinder petrol engine and while that did feel a little bit sporty. you always felt like you were wringing its neck. that just isn’t the case with the electric version. you’ve got power on tap. and it’s just so quiet okay it does bring you a little bit closer to things like wind and road noise. but it’s still a relaxing car to drive. and one that you could feasibly drive to and from work calm completely chilled without ever raising your blood pressure.
Further helping, the e-up! feel like a relaxing car to live with is the generous kit list. as we mentioned previously, there’s only one spec to choose from when selecting which to go for. so the Volkswagen e-up! comes with,
- 15-inch alloy wheels.
- VW’s electric specific C-shaped LED daytime running lights.
- Heated front seats
- Climate control.
- Cruise control
- Reversing camera.
And that’s an addition to the basic petrol cars electric from windows DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity.
The options list is pretty tiny too. limited to a range of colors, a pair of interior trim choices, a 65-pound variable-height boot floor, and a sharkskin pack that is your lot. but while it feels like a big expensive car on the road.
In the cabin, we’ve become used to big flashy touchscreens and digital dashboards. see that car’s 3D digital dials for a Lil bit of a taster. but while it feels built to a good-enough standard in here. there’s no central touch screen instead VW is issued every e-up! with this small color screen and a smartphone cradle on top of the dash. so unless you’ve got one of the very latest iPhones you’ll still find yourself squinting to execute even the most basic functions. you’ll use that small color screen to operate things like the radio and the Bluetooth connectivity.
But in all honesty, it’s not all that intuitive to use, and it’s not that much better than the old dot-matrix displays you might have found in superminis two decades ago. elsewhere VW continues to save money by leaving the paint exposed on the inside of the doors. we think it adds to the youthful appeal but some people might feel a little bit cheap. but elsewhere, there are still some nice materials in here. and the steering wheels are covered in leather. and it feels nicely built. visibility all around is pretty good thanks to the car’s large windows and dinky dimensions.
This is a small car. but as small cars go, it’s far from impractical. there are a few places for odds and ends in the cabin. and thanks to the tall roofline there’s enough space in the rear for adults to sit relatively comfortably on shorter journeys. the fact is five-door only. helps when getting in and out and should improve access for those wanting to fit child seats in the back. there are ISOFIX mountings on the outer seats. so in our experience babies tend to like the sound of white noise.
The all-important Volkswagen ID 3 hatchback will arrive in the UK later this year. but that platform isn’t due to a sported city car like this until at least 2023. which means until then, the VW e-up! has a very important and sizable gap to plug.
The e-up! has improved significantly since it first launched in 2014. the more energy-dense battery occupies the same physical space as the old one yet returns a usefully longer range. so more than 20 thousand pounds, the Volkswagen e-up! does look expensive. but in some ways, it’s a more convincing package than some cars costing five or ten grand more.
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