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“The Fortwo is like a hypercar. And not just ‘cos it’s a two-seater. We mean that it’s great in its chosen environment, and pretty rubbish elsewhere. In crowded streets it’s agile like a little kitten, as parkable as your shoes, fresh-breeze clean and as cheap as the coffee you drink on the way to work. But stray far beyond the ring road and it’s slow, wobbly and short on range. Use it as intended and you won’t find much wrong with the execution.”

Volkswagen e-Up charging outside the Experience Centre (Image: T. Larkum)

“The 500 is small, but if you don’t need space it could be your only car. That’s because it’ll go far enough on a charge to make motorway trips tenable. Whereas the Honda e or Mini Electric would have to be second cars to anyone who ever drives beyond conurbations rather than just within them. It’s not as fun to drive as those are, mind. It’s trying harder to feel normal. With a stylish, recognisable design and a quality feel. So the recipe’s been re-cast for health and welfare, but it still looks and tastes like la cucina della nonna.”

“The e-Up is certainly a frumpier, subtler EV than a Honda e or Mini Electric or even a Renault Zoe, but there’s a huge amount to be said for VW’s ‘just a good car, but electric’ approach – it’s what made the e-Golf such a sleeper hit. It’s also kept the e-Up relevant, recommendable, and ready for a new dawn in the small car world.”

Read more: Top Gear

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