Volkswagen up! review - Engines, performance and drive
The limited choice of engines takes nothing away from the entertainment on offer
The small size of the up! means it lends itself perfectly to navigating the narrow streets and tight car parks, so it fits the brief of a city car very well. The tight turning circle makes it particularly good for nipping in and out of traffic and it’s a doddle to park.
The VW's chassis delivers a superior level of grip. The up! is a genuinely entertaining little car to drive, and allows you to carry more speed into corners than you might imagine or than its rivals can manage.
This precision is matched by a level of refinement and composure that just shades the recently launched Kia Picanto. At idle the engine isn’t quite as smooth as the Kia’s, and it’s a little noisier when revved, but drive sensibly in town and on the motorway at a cruise, and the VW is easy to get on with and more refined than the Picanto.
Harsh jolts do upset the VW’s chassis, but that’s no surprise. The up! deals with these intrusions adeptly and smooths out poorer surfaces more competently than the Picanto at lower speeds. At higher speeds the damping feels more plush, with well controlled reactions to bumps.
The 64bhp 1.0-litre up! manages 0-62mph in 15.6 seconds, with a top speed of 101mph, while the 113bhp GTI version achieves the same sprint in a more impressive 8.8 seconds and a 122mph maximum.
The electric e-up! model is zippy around town and almost as fun to drive as the petrol models, but is more at home at slower speeds. It starts to feel out of its depth on the motorway, and that runs down the already-limited electric range quickly. It’s worth noting that ordering is currently closed for this model due to long delivery lead times.
In this review
- 1Volkswagen up! reviewThe Volkswagen up! is a sensible city car that offers practicality, style and plenty of fun
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingThe limited choice of engines takes nothing away from the entertainment on offer
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Volkswagen Up is a small car with a small engine, which means low running costs
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Volkswagen Up is surprisingly sophisticated for a such a small car
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceIt may be compact, but the Volkswagen Up is spacious for a city car
- 6Reliability and SafetyVolkswagen has a solid reputation for reliability, although the Up could improve on its Euro NCAP safety score