FIRST DRIVE Electric baby tweaked to match rest of range
We plug into fresh-faced electric city car. Is it a winner?
VOLKSWAGEN’S revised up! range is now available in the UK. While we’ve already tried the facelifted car – including the excellent 1.0-litre TSI turbo – here we drive the all-electric e-up! for the first time.
The changes are fairly minor over the previous version. The main visual tweaks comprise updated lights, new bumpers and fresh door mirrors. Aside from the sharp C-shaped LED daytime running lights and e-up! badging, it looks a lot like any other up!. In fact, it’s the same story inside; the only clue is a display showing range and battery capacity.
There are new seats, a different steering wheel and a refreshed infotainment system with a neat display screen on the dashboard. The small screen that used to sit on top of the dash is gone, replaced by a universal smartphone holder, which works in conjunction with an app for your phone.
With a 99-mile range, the e-up! is about on par with the older 22kwh Renault ZOE – although its competitor now offers a 180mile 41kwh version for a little more cash per month. For those who charge at work and home the VW should suffice, but we found longer drives unpleasant, because the heater stops working with around 20 miles remaining. Performance is limited when you run the batteries low, too, conserving power until you recharge.
Still, use it as intended and the e-up! is punchy, quiet and pleasing to drive, thanks to the instant torque from the electric motor. The extra weight hasn’t affected agility, although it’s much more out of its comfort zone on the motorway, where the car is hampered by its limited top-end grunt.
Practicality is unchanged, with decent space in the rear and boot. Being an EV, it’s only available in automatic guise, of course.
Electric up! gets same tweaks as petrol cars; instant torque makes it feel nippy