In-depth reviews

Volkswagen e-up! reliability & safety

The Volkswagen e-up! is based on a design that's nearly a decade old, which means it’s not as safe as more modern electric vehicles

Volkswagen e-up!
Rating
Reliability & safety Rating
Euro NCAPAdult protectionChild protectionSafety assist
3 stars (2019)81%83%55%

Volkswagen has a good reputation for safety and reliability, and while there’s no specific data for the e-up! or its petrol counterpart, we expect it to be a dependable family car. 

Don’t be put off by the headline safety score, either, as this is largely due to the fact that no up! model is available with autonomous emergency braking. It’s an expensive system to engineer, which is unlikely to make financial sense on a car with such narrow profit margins. There’s still a long list of safety features, including airbags and lane-keeping assistance.

Volkswagen e-up! reliability & problems

In general, electric cars are more reliable than their petrol or diesel counterparts – largely due to the fact they do without a complex combustion engine and have fewer moving parts. 

There’s no specific data on the up! or e-up! from our sister title Auto Express' most recent Driver Power owner satisfaction survey – probably due to the car’s relative rarity. But Volkswagen’s mid-table 19th-place finish in the manufacturer standings isn't terrible. Skoda and SEAT, which build rebadged versions of the up! (the Citigo and the Mii) finished even higher – claiming 5th and 14th respectively.

Safety

The Volkswagen up!’s relatively poor three-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating shouldn’t be ignored, but it should be taken with a pinch of salt. The standard car is now approaching 10 years old, which means much of the kit that was cutting-edge a decade ago has been surpassed by newer technology. The same goes for the tests themselves, which have become more stringent in recent times.

Still, an 81% rating for adult protection shouldn’t be sniffed at – nor should the 83% child safety rating. This most disappointing score is in the ‘safety assist’ category, for which the up! was awarded a rating of just 55%. This is largely due to the fact that the up! doesn’t come with autonomous emergency braking, which is now a prerequisite for the very highest Euro NCAP scores.

Still, every version gets a plethora of airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction control, as well as tyre-pressure monitoring and ISOFIX child-seat mounts in the rear.

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