Review

Volkswagen up! hatchback

Price  £8,945 - £13,695

Volkswagen up! hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Spacious interior
  • Comfortable suspension
Cons
  • 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 £10,360
The cheapest
1.0 60PS Take up! 3dr £8,945
The fastest
1.0 75PS High up! 3dr £11,600
Top of the range
1.0 75PS Rock up! 3dr £13,695

"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 one of the best cars in the city car segment and is closely related to two of its main rivals, the Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii. Out of these three cars, all produced by brands owned by the Volkswagen Group, the up! is pitched as the most upmarket and commands a premium of around £500 over the Citigo and Mii on a like-for-like basis.

There are of course other manufacturers producing city cars to rival the up!. The Peugeot 108, Citroen C1, Toyota Aygo, rear-engined Renault Twingo, and excellent Hyundai i10 are all viable alternatives but none of them have the same image or build quality as the up!.

The up! is available with either a 59bhp or 74bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine, both of which can be fitted with BlueMotion technology for improved economy. The more 74bhp engine is our recommendation as it gives the car sufficient power to deal competently with anything you might ask of it, be that getting up hills fully loaded, nipping out at junctions and roundabouts in town, or cruising comfortably on the motorway. It still claims fuel economy of 60.1mpg too.

For £350 extra you can buy the BlueMotion version, which raises economy up to 67.3mpg and moves the car's CO2 emissions into the sub-100g/km bracket, making it tax exempt.

Thanks to its size and weight, the up! is a fun car to zip around in most of the time, no matter which engine you choose. As you’d expect of a city car, the steering is light for maneuvering in tight spaces but it still retains some feel and the car handles very tidily. Out of town, the up! is surpisingly refined and comfortable.

Volkswagen has packaged the up! cleverly so that the space inside the car is used to maximum effect. The five-door version is naturally the most practical if you regularly use the rear seats but the boot is one of the biggest in this class whichever model you buy, meaning the up! can carry more shopping or luggage than you might expect. All up! models apart from the entry-level car come with a split-folding rear bench, so you can extend boot space if you really need to.

Volkswagen up! buyers have a choice between seven trims but there are three core levels that were launched initially. The basic version is called Take up!, the mid-range spec is Move up!, while the high-spec model is the High up!. A three-door only Look up! model has since been slotted in between the Move up! and the High up!, while three well-equipped (but more expensive) trims have also been introduced at the top-end of the range. They are the Club up, Street up! and the range-topping Rock-up!.

The basic Take up! trim doesn’t include much in the way of luxuries other than a digital radio but it does come with plenty of safety kit including ABS, a tyre-pressure monitor, electronic stability control, traction control and hill-hold assist.

The mid-range Move up! car is the one we’d advise looking at first. It features nice touches like body-coloured door handles and mirrors, plus an upgraded interior, air-conditioning, front electric windows and a height-adjustable driver's seat.

The Volkswagen up! achieved the full five stars when it was tested by Euro NCAP (though you should bear in mind that some of the car's rivals have been tested more recently under more stringent regulations) and there haven’t been any major reliability issues since its launch.

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 
3.8913043478261
3.9 /5 based on 23 reviews
57%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
28 Jan 2016
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