Review

Volkswagen up! hatchback

Price  £8,870 - £13,580

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 £10,285
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 the most expensive of the VW Group's three city cars, the others being the SEAT Mii and the Skoda Citigo. The class they compete in is notable for its wealth of talent, with rivals including the Kia Picanto, Hyundai i10, Peugeot 108, Citroen C1, Toyota Aygo and Renault Twingo.

The up! trades on Volkswagen's strong image and build quality, so sits towards the upper end of the class price range. Model for model, it's certainly more expensive than its SEAT and Skoda relations, by around £500. A trio of high-spec special editions widens the gap still further.

The up! is available in three and five-door body styles and is powered by a choice of two 1.0-litre petrol engines – each having its own more economical ‘BlueMotion’ alternative. They’re both willing enough, but having only three cylinders makes them sound a little ‘thrummy’. They’re also lively around town, but on fast country roads, you’ll need to plan overtakes well in advance. The more powerful one can hold a reasonably relaxed 70mph cruise on the motorway, however.

You’d expect a car as small as the up! to be fun to drive and fortunately the little VW doesn’t disappoint. Its steering is light, yet direct and full of feel. It's quick enough to allow you to nip into gaps in the traffic or turn on a sixpence. The ride is surprisingly comfortable, as well as quiet.

Although it sits at the cheaper end of Volkswagen's model range, the up! still looks and feels classy inside. It's a small car, but it manages to be reasonably roomy, too, with enough of space for four adults; five at a push. The boot is one of the largest in the class and can easily take a week's shopping.

The three core trim levels – Take up!, Move up! and High up! – suggest the up! doesn’t take itself very seriously. In fact, it takes safety very seriously, with standard kit including anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and tyre-pressure monitoring. Euro NCAP was sufficiently impressed to award the up! five out of five stars in its crash tests. Options include City Braking, which automatically brakes the car if the system senses an imminent collision.

The basic Take up! is exactly that – basic – although it does have DAB digital radio plus iPod and USB sockets. Move up! raises the little car's game with smarter bodywork, nicer interior trim, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver's seat, electric front windows and – in three-door models – slide and fold front seats that improve access to the rear. It costs around £1,000 more than the Take up! but is still our favourite trim.

In addition to the three core versions, there are at least three strongly contrasting special editions that, as carmakers are fond of saying, allow you to express your personality. Whichever version you choose – core or special edition – there are loads of options, including a removable sat-nav system.

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 / 5
based on 3 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 Up will be one of the smallest city cars on the market. At 3.5 metres long, 1.6m wide and 1.5m high it closely mirrors the scale of the Fiat 500 yet promises superior interior space for four adults.
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.
What owners say 
4.075
4.1 /5 based on 20 reviews
60%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
16 Jun 2015
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