Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • Simple, functional interior layout
  • Well-built, but plastics are hard
  • May be too utilitarian for some tastes

If you've driven an older Volkswagen Up, you'll immediately recognise the latest e-Up's interior - very little has changed in terms of how he dashboard looks or operates over the years.

While pricier cars - particularly VWs - are known for their use of expensive-feeling squidgy plastics, there are no such luxuriously padded mouldings in here. Everything is firm, but well-finished and assembled with integrity - it's not a car that's going to be rattling the moment it faces broken and potholed road surfaces.

Unlike many rivals, such as the Renault Zoe, there's no tablet-sized infotainment screen, while there's also a refreshing absence of digital instrumentation - Active Info Display in VW-speak. For the former, the idea is that you use your smartphone and specific apps to supplement the smaller colour display built into the dashboard, but for many larger phones the integral cradle is simply too small.

Talking of small, the image from the reversing camera appears on the tiny screen making its usefulness rather questionable, particularly at nighttime when the resolution drops off further.

Immediately ahead of the driver is a trio of familiar-looking analogue instruments, but a closer inspection reveals that the rev counter has given way to an energy percentage use and recharge meter, while the fuel gauge shows the level of battery charge. 

All simple and straightforward as part of the notion to normalise electric driving.

How comfortable is it?

  • Seats are supportive and comfy
  • Ride is settled at slow and quicker speeds
  • Refinement is good, but dwindles when you go faster

We've long-rated the Up and its cousins for their impressive refinement - they don't feel or sound like cheap cars - and this is something VW's made even more of a feature of with the electric e-Up.

At urban speeds it's soothingly quiet, which, combined with the fine ride quality and overall composure, makes it a fine companion for city commutes. Go much quicker, though, such as on a motorway or dual-carriageway and the serenity ebbs away only slighty - this is a city-focused car that handles longer, faster runs with ease. Yes, there's a high-pitched drone from the electric motor under harder acceleration and the battery's reserves are sapped rapidly when it's driven a speed, but overall its competence impresses.

On an equally positive slant, the front seats are especially comfy, perhaps surprising given their integral, non-adjustable headrests, and while the rear seat is spacious, Ups can feel a tad feel a tad hot in the back on summer days. It's tricky to direct the ventilation from the dashboard effectively to the back and the rear door windows don't wind down - they pop-out a litle like on older three-door cars. Still, the e-Up compensates with standard-fit climate control to keep the whole interior as freshly chilled as possible.