Read Caroline’s Volkswagen e-Up review for everything you need to know about buying Volkswagen’s electric city car in Ireland.

Volkswagen’s ID range of electric cars has been grabbing all the headlines with the success of the Volkswagen ID.4 in Ireland and the high profile launch of the ID.Buzz, Irish Car of the Year 2023.

With strong momentum in the market and increased consumer appetite for EVs, the brand has finally brought the e-Up to Ireland, which is definitely cause for celebration!

The Volkswagen Up was on sale in Ireland for many years as a small petrol city car. Now Volkswagen has made the decision to replace it with the electric version – the cutely named ‘e-Up’ – which has been on sale in Europe for a few years now.

Priced at €29,313 on the road including delivery charges, the e-Up is now one of the cheapest electric cars on sale.

The new Volkswagen e-Up on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Volkswagen e-Up on test for Changing Lanes!

What’s so special about the Volkswagen e-Up?

Launched back in 2013, the e-Up was Volkswagen’s first mass-produced electric vehicle. Since then, over 80,000 e-Ups have been sold around the world. At the end of 2020, such was demand for the e-Up that Volkswagen had to halt taking orders for a while to catch up with production and deliver cars to customers.

Hidden beneath those compact dimensions is a 32 kWh battery, which gives the e-Up a range of up to 253 kilometres (WLTP). That’s plenty for a small car that is designed primarily for town and city driving. Being light (1,160 kg) means it’s an efficient way to travel too.

In Ireland the e-Up is available in just one trim level called Style. It’s a smart looking car, despite the Up being an ageing design now. It also comes with the practicality of five doors, which gives it an advantage over its closest rival, the Fiat 500e.

There’s some elegant blue trim as well to highlight its EV status and Volkswagen’s C-shaped LED daytime running lights, used to highlight the brands electrified models like the Golf GTE.

15-inch alloy wheels come as standard, with the option to upgrade to a sportier 16-inch design for €375. There are six colours to choose from and a black roof comes as standard on the Style trim.

There’s also a quality and solid feel to the e-Up that can be hard to find in small cars.

The cabin of the Volkswagen e-Up
The cabin of the Volkswagen e-Up

Inside the e-Up

The e-Up has an older generation Volkswagen cabin with a clear and logical layout. You use a key to start the car and there’s also a mechanical handbrake.

Compared to the cabin of the Fiat 500e, it is quite old-fashioned, lacking glossy touchscreens and digital tech. But the e-Up makes up for it in quality. This car feels solidly built with no squeaks or rattles.

There’s a leather wrapped steering wheel as standard and a lovely gearshift lever in leather too. The grey cloth seats with integrated headrests look and feel good too. Both front seats get height adjustment. The steering wheel only adjusts for rake (up and down).

There’s no touchscreen but there is a Bluetooth connection as standard and a smartphone cradle. You can download a ‘Maps + More’ app to use your phone as a sort of entertainment and navigation screen. Other standard equipment features include automatic lights and wipers, heated front seats, laminated heated windscreen, automatic climate control, small parking camera and cruise control.

There’s more room in the back than in a 500e and the five doors make access easier too. Still, it’s a city car so a Polo is far roomier in the back.

The boot is also small at 251 litres, though it has some depth so there’s enough room for a few bags and a hidden place to store the charging cables. Quite clever really.

Rear passenger space in the e-Up
Rear passenger space in the e-Up

Driving the e-Up

On the road, the e-Up’s solid feel pervades.

Moving to electric certainly benefits the driving experience. The e-Up feels more mature and powerful on the road than how I remember the Up petrol. Joining motorways is less frantic, with smooth delivery of power to the front wheels from an 82hp motor and 210Nm of torque. 0 to 100km/h is still a leisurely – 11.9 seconds – but the e-Up feels faster than what numbers might suggest on paper.

A single gear automatic transmission is great for town use. There is a B mode to enhance regenerative braking and a few different driving modes like Eco and Eco+. Eco mode limits the motor’s power and torque, reduces the top speed and switches off the air conditioning. The stricter Eco+ mode reduces these figures even more to maximise the battery range.

The electric Up is nimble and agile to drive, though not quite as fun to drive as the old petrol Up. It feels heavier for a start and the acceleration a little less fizzy. But the extra weight does make it feel more stable in cornering so there are benefits after all. There are no modifications to the suspension but it does feel comfortable for a small electric car.

The range may seem quite mediocre at 253 kilometres but with consumption as low as 14.7kWh per 100 kilometres, you might be surprised how far this Up can go per battery charge. Particularly when you stick to its natural habitat of town and city.

When it comes to charging, it takes 5.5 hours to charge the battery to full from a 7kW wallbox at home. There is a CCS port for fast charging, but DC charging is only possible up to 40 kW. So it will take roughly one hour to charge an empty battery to 80%.

The new e-Up has a range of up to 253 km from a 32 kWh battery
The new e-Up has a range of up to 253 km from a 32 kWh battery

Did you like it?

The Up was always a great city car. The electric version is no different. It feels more mature than ever, with a nice solid feel from behind the wheel.

Like its rivals, it’s expensive for a small car, especially compared to the petrol Up that used to be on sale. The cabin is not the most modern in terms of the in-car tech, but it really does make up for it in quality and comfort.

The e-Up is also very practical for its size, with the boon of five doors and decent enough space for two rear passengers from time to time.

It’s a car that is at home in town and city driving. So if you’re willing to pay for something small, stylish and electric for mostly that sort of driving, the e-Up is a great buy!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Volkswagen e-Up
€29,313 OTR
Battery: 32kWh
11.9 seconds
Top speed: 130 km/h
Motor tax: 
€120 per year

The Volkswagen e-Up is a great buy for a small electric car
The Volkswagen e-Up is a great buy for a small electric car


Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year