Volkswagen up! hatchback

Price  £8,870 - £13,580

Volkswagen up! hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Affordable
  • Spacious interior
  • Comfortable suspension
  • No steering wheel reach adjustment
  • Automatic gearbox is jerky
  • Body lean in corners

At a glance

The greenest
1.0 60PS Move up! BlueMotion Technology 3dr £10,285
The cheapest
1.0 60PS Take up! 3dr £8,870
The fastest
1.0 75PS High up! 3dr £11,500
Top of the range
1.0 75PS Rock up! 3dr £13,580

"The VW up! is a small city car with a high-quality feel that takes the fight to the capable Hyundai i10."

The Volkswagen up! is a top contender in the fast-growing city car class. It's one of three such models produced by the VW Group, the others being the Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii. Naturally, the up! is the most expensive, by around £500 model for model.

Rivals are numerous and include the rear-engined Renault Twingo, the impressive Hyundai i10 and that trio of related cars the Peugeot 108, Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo. However, of them all, the up! has the strongest image and feels the best built.

The model is offered with a choice of two 1.0-litre petrol engines. We prefer the more powerful of the pair, because it makes the up! a more rounded car that can carry four people comfortably (five at a pinch), is nippy around town and can cruise at 70mph on the motorway, while remaining economical (60mpg).

On that last point, the more economical BlueMotion version of the engine can achieve a claimed 67.3mpg. It costs around £350 more to buy, but exemption from road tax helps you to gradually claw that back.

Regardless of engine, the up! is fun and pleasant to drive. It has light but reassuringly direct and communicative steering and tidy handling, making it easy to drive around town. Out on the open road, its ride is supple, comfortable and quiet.

It's small on the outside, but inside, the up! exploits every last bit of space. The five-door version certainly helps in this respect, allowing two adults to climb into the back easily with their dignity preserved. The boot is one of the biggest in the class and can easily swallow a week's groceries. With the exception of the basic Take up!, all versions have a split-folding rear seat, so you can eke out even more load space if necessary.

There are three core trim levels, called Take up!, Move up! and High up!, as well as a clutch of special editions. The Take up! is light on luxury (although it does have a height-adjustable steering wheel and DAB digital radio), but like all versions it goes large on safety, with anti-lock brakes, a tyre-pressure indicator, electronic stability control, traction control and hill-hold assist.

However, our favourite trim is Move up!, which boosts the model's appeal with features such as body-coloured door handles and mirrors, a more attractive interior, air-conditioning, front electric windows and driver's-seat height adjustment.

The up! is a reliable car, although Skoda drivers appear to be happier with their near-identical but cheaper Citigos. It's safe, too, as demonstrated by Euro NCAP's award of the full five stars.

MPG, running costs & CO2

5 / 5

Volkswagen up! BlueMotion offers rock-bottom running costs and free road tax

Engines, drive & performance

3.9 / 5

For such a small car, the Volkswagen up! is surprisingly good fun to drive

Interior & comfort

3.6 / 5

A classy and comfortable interior means the Volkswagen up! is a nice place to be

Practicality & boot space

3.2 / 5

The Volkswagen up! is very well packaged inside, offering plenty of space for a city car

Reliability & safety

4.2 / 5

The Volkswagen up! is a well made car and safety is a priority

What the others say

4.1 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
"Out of the VW Group trio, the Skoda Citigo is our favourite city car, but we think the VW up! looks the best and the VW badge is likely to appeal to many buyers."
4 / 5
"The Volkswagen up! is one of the best city cars around; it's great to drive, classy and cheap to run."
8 / 10
"Being a VW, it's all you would hope in terms of quality and an upmarket ambience, plus we also really like the optional Maps+More satnav system that clips into the dashboard."
9 / 10
"The VW up! might be more expensive than a SEAT Mii or Skoda Citigo, but it's classier inside and should hold its value better, so that extra expense is easy to justify."
What owners say 
4.1 /5 based on 21 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
23 Sep 2015
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