In-depth reviews

Volkswagen up! review

The Volkswagen up! is a sensible city car that offers practicality, style and plenty of fun

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

Price
£9,320 to £15,675
  • Fun to drive
  • Stylish design
  • Impressive breadth of ability
  • Small boot
  • Basic entry-level model
  • Pricey next to SEAT and Skoda siblings

The Volkswagen up! is more sophisticated than its size and looks suggest. It’s comfortable, feels stable on the road and is enjoyable to drive. It’s designed to work in town, but it's not overwhelmed by or underpowered for the occasional motorway trip, although the long gearing does make it hard work. 

The changes VW made to the up! for 2016 created a classier and more customisable car, while the switch to a smartphone sat-nav system will appeal to younger buyers. It’s as refined and practical as ever, but the updates to the gearbox have resulted in slightly sluggish performance with no real gains in efficiency. 

However, its breadth of skills led us to name the up! the best city car in the 2017 New Car Awards – a title it held onto in the 2018 Car of the Year awards.

Power for most of the range comes from a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine producing 64bhp, while the up! GTI has a 113bhp version of the 1.0-litre TSI unit. Then there is the e-up! which provides a greener, all-electric drive. All cars get a five-speed manual gearbox as standard, except for the up! GTI, which has a six-speed box.

Equipment levels move from entry-level up! through to White Edition and Black Edition cars, offering further personalisation options. Above these in the price list sits the Beats trim, followed by R-Line and then the GTI.

The VW up! has a number of talented rivals in its sights such as the Kia Picanto and Hyundai i10. While there is also competition from the likes of the Citroen C1, Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo trio. The stylish Fiat 500 will also tempt customers. If space is needed, then the Dacia Sandero is a supermini that offers greater value, if not the quality, of the up!.

For an alternative review of the latest Volkswagen up! hatchback visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 Take Up 3dr [Start Stop]
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £9,320

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.0 Take Up 3dr [Start Stop]
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £9,320

Fastest

  • Name
    1.0 115PS Up GTI 3dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £15,275

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