- Fantastic to drive
- Excellent interior
- Efficient engines
- Automatic gearbox isn’t the best
- Low-powered petrol struggles at high speeds
- Entry-level model comes with very little kit
VW’s classy Up! Is one of the best city cars on sale today
Since its first introduction to the UK market in 2011, the funky Volkswagen Up! has become a common sight on the streets of our cities. Designed to rival city cars such as the successful Hyundai i10, the Up! adds a level of quality that’s not often seen in this class. Based on the same platform, and built in the same factory as the Skoda Citigo, and the Seat Mii, the Up! has a better designed interior, with higher quality materials, and a more comprehensive range of engines. With an exceptional chassis tied in as well, the Up! is by far the best city car to drive around town. The 2012 'World Car of the Year' really is a class-leading package.
One area where the Up! really excels over any of its city car rivals is when it comes to its interior. There’s high quality materials used throughout, and there’s enough boot space for nipping to the shops.
Compared to its rivals, the cabin of the Up! is on another level completely. Soft-touch plastics are a rarity in the city car class, but here they feel positively prestige, making the Up! feel like a much more expensive car. The High Up! model adds even more class, with glossy dashboard panels and chrome switchgear. For a car in this price range, it really is a pleasure to be inside the Up!.
One surprising element of the Up! is the amount of boot space that you get from such a small car. With 251 litres of boot space on board, there’s enough room for a small family shop, or even a small buggy. Compared with rivals such as the Toyota Aygo, which only offers 168 litres of space, it’s positively ginormous and even stacks up well to the much bigger Hyundai i10 (252 litres).
Volkswagen are really on the money in the Up!’s interior and this is true also when it comes to considering the standard equipement. Not only is there a significantly higher-quality feel than any other car in the class, you're also getting a DAB digital radio, MP3 connectivity, clever space-saving storage, a 12v plug socket and a handy toolkit even with the basic model.
Exceptional to drive
When you think of what a city car should be, one of the first things that springs to mind is to be fun to drive around town. The Up! doesn’t disappoint. It also adds in a ride refinement that you might not expect from such a small, low-powered car.
Suspension and Chassis
City cars have always aimed to be, and will always aim to be, both fun and easy to drive around town. The Up! succeeds at being both of these - with ease. There’s lots of grip, steering is light around town, and reassuringly solid even on motorways, whilst still retaining accuracy in either situation. It really is a car that will leave you feeling confident, so you can truly enjoy the fantastic handling.
One area that city cars sometimes fail in, is in ride refinement. The Up! however is arguably the most refined car in its class. Ride quality is supple, and irons out town centre potholes with aplomb, as well as coping well with broken up B roads. Even at high speeds, the Up! performs well, with road noise kept to a minimum. There’s also very little in the way of body roll. All of this together makes for an exceptional car to drive.
Gearbox options in the Up! come in two guises, a 5-speed manual, and a 5-speed automatic. The manual transmission is decent around town, and has short sharp shifts. The automatic however is a little on the jumpy side, jolting through gears. It’s not recommended, but thankfully it’s only an optional extra so very few cars feature with this gearbox.
Two three cylinder petrols, one electric
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Up! You’ve got the choice of two petrol-powered three-cylinder engines, or a full electric motor. The latter should prove popular with eco-friendly buyers, whilst petrol powered cars are much more efficient than you'd probably expect.
As with most city cars, there isn’t a particularly hot version of the Up!. The most powerful engine in the range is the 75bhp 1.0 litre petrol powered motor. It’s hardly going to break records, but it’s nippy around town, and can cope with motorway journeys pretty solidly. It’s also a better option for most people over the lesser powered 60bhp option that’s still decent around town, but struggles at high speeds.
As noted above, eco-friendly buyers will be pleased to know that there is a full-electric version of the Up! that’s perfect for city driving, the E Up!. With 0g/km of emissions, there’s also no road tax to pay, a free government grant, and zero congestion charge if you live in London. With a range of up to 89 miles, it’s also pretty handy for a short trip to the seaside. It’s hardly underpowered either, in fact, it’s quicker from 0-62mph than both petrol options.
All of the engine options in the Up! range are good for money-savers as well. Bluemotion models feature free tax, and even other models in the range sit in the first band of emissions tax. You can get well over 60mpg out of petrol powered models, no matter the power output. The Up! really is a cheap car to run.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, decent standard equipment
Unlike most cars in its class, the Volkswagen Up! easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating, with scores of 89% in adult safety, 80% in child safety, and 86% in safety assist. Compared to its rivals, the Up! wins hands down. In addition there’s driver's and front passenger’s airbags, and stability control as standard. A city emergency braking option is available as an optional extra on most models, but features as standard on the E Up!. The Up! Is one of the safest city cars on sale today.
Exceptional value for money
The Volkswagen Up! represents excellent value for money. All models in the range have low C02 emissions, with the majority of models featuring emissions low enough to avoid paying any road tax at all. Fuel efficiency is likewise impressive, with all models easily achieving over 60mpg in the city. E Up! models also come with a government grant, and avoid congestion charges.
When it comes to insuring the Up!, it’s also relatively cheap. The cheapest model in the range is the 1.0 Move Up!, which has the lowest possible group 1 insurance. The most expensive model to insure is the pricier E Up!, which finds itself in group 10. Whichever Up! you go for, you’re not going to be paying very much money to the insurance companies.
Depreciation after the first couple of years, is actually very positive for the Volkswagen Up!. Buyers understand the importance in purchasing a good solid car that will last, therefore the Up! seems to hold its value. Like most cars though, the first couple of years can see rapid depreciation from list price, and what with the Up! being so well built, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Volkswagen Up! Is the market leader when it comes to city cars. It has a high class interior, a decent amount of space, an excellent driving experience, and there’s even impressive eco-friendly engines, that’ll please both the planet, and the pocket. If you’re on the lookout for a city car, the Up! should sit right at the top of your list.
Buying a used Volkswagen Up! online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Volkswagen Up! for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Up!. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Volkswagen Up! online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Up!? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Volkswagen Up!, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Up!, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Volkswagen to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st year depreciation cost of 40%.