Volkswagen High up! 2016 review

Updates keep the up! ahead of the pack and top spec High up! trim adds a useful touch of class

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

The Volkswagen up! is a great city car, and these updates do enough to keep it in contention with the class leaders. We can’t wait to try the new turbo in the UK, but this cheaper engine should hit the spot for most buyers. Stylish, cheap to own and now more widely customisable, the revised up! will appeal to buyers across the board. Only trouble is next year’s Skoda Citigo will offer all this for much less.

City car buyers are spoilt for choice these days. Models like the Fiat 500 and Hyundai i10 continue to sell well, while our favourite – the Skoda Citigo – is due for a mid-life refresh early next year.

A preview of those changes can be seen on the Skoda’s sister car, the Volkswagen up! – the first of the VW Group trio (which also includes the SEAT Mii) to go under the knife since being unveiled in 2011.

Best city cars to buy now

The introduction of a three-cylinder turbo engine is the biggest change, but for this first UK drive we try the existing naturally aspirated 1.0. Still, there are plenty of styling tweaks and new options inside and out.

The 2016 up! retains the classy edge of the original, with revised bumpers and headlights, plus fresh tail-lamps and new colour options for the exterior. Inside, the bold design continues, with the old car’s painted panels carried over and further trim options for the dash. Quality is among the best in class, but there are still some scratchy plastics on the centre console, doors and switches. The new infotainment system (standard on the Move up! and above) gives the cabin a lift. Replacing the old dot matrix set-up, the colour screen controls things like radio and Bluetooth functions. There’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but a

dash-top phone holder means this isn’t necessary. The big dials are easy to read, too. All cars get electric windows, remote locking and hill hold control, while our top-spec model had alloys and heated seats. VW will charge you £210 for the phone holder on basic cars, but it’s standard on the High up!

On the road, the revised up! remains fun, agile and comfortable. On paper, our 74bhp non-turbo model sounds sluggish (0-62mph takes 13.5 seconds), yet it feels anything but and keeps pace with bigger cars. Body control in corners is good thanks to the light body and taut chassis, but the up! never feels uncomfortable, dealing well with potholes.

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