Volkswagen Up (2012–)

What's good

Funky little city car.

Cheap to run with low CO2.

Lively and fun to drive. 

Voted 'World Car of the Year 2012. 

What to watch out for

Poor ride on 17-inch wheels.

Some interior trim looks cheap.

Cannot tow 750kg.

19-5-2012: Up owners club forum postings mention a noisy gearbox, possibly due to clutch bearing or gear cluster rattle.

13-8-2012: Report of clutch failure on September 2012 Up at 1,604 miles. Reader quoted £1,000 to replace. No goodwill.

8-12-2012: Specific complaint of gearbox whine on High Up. (Nothing to worry about; just noisy.)

5-9-2013: Paint runs into blisters on edges of doors, boot and bonnet on new High Up taken delivery of on 1-9-2013.

17-10-2013: Report of bulkhead leaks. May be blocked drains to the bulkhead vent well, or a failed seal or cover to the pollen filter.

5-1-2014: 'Clucking / clicking' noise from clutch pedal of 10k mile 18 month old Up. Apparently common. Hope not a portent of a pedal assembly weakness.

16-1-2014: Complaint of dreadful performance of the radio. Similar complaint received 25-11-2013 of a Skoda Citigo.

21-2-2014: New Up ASG automated manual gearbox has given trouble from delivery. Sometimes the car will not move because the gear lever will not select a gear. Moving away from traffic lights on a hill the car sometimes stalls. It has been back to the dealer for a software update and there was some improvement.

25-3-2014: Severe owner driver criticism received of Up ASG automated manual. Unavailable to test drive prior to purchase. " When the car did come in (mine!) I found the performance very unsatisfactory. Gear change was very erratic, frequently taking one to two seconds to change. Also, starting from stationary was sometimes impossible, without first going into reverse - a potential hazard in a queue of cars! The salesman did admit that this model was underpowered for the automatic and the electronics had been added on (as an afterthought?). Bath Volkswagen did check out the car again for me and found nothing wrong, but said they could not test the electronic side."

26-4-2014: Rattly sounding engine on Up ( Sounds like timing chain tensioner, but Up engines are belt cam. Assured by dealer that it is normal.

30-5-2014: Complaint from 80 year old of "simply dreadful" Up ASG automated manual. We explained that the system cushions upchanges and he must not press the accelerator harder when it does this.

12-11-2014: 79 year old bought Up ASG without trying one first, hates it and wants to return it. May change her mind once she learns how to drive it smoothly.

1-1-2015: Another attempted rejection of a High Up ASG because the buyer simply could not get on with it.

9-1-2015: Reader finds difficulty getting new Up into reverse gear without double de-clutching. Told by the dealer "it is a characteristic."

14-3-2015: Another complaint about an Up radio, and this time the integrated shoe mounted satnav as well. "Crackling on normal roads round my home is dreadful, sometimes worse than others. The Satnav linked with it is also variable in its performance. I have had a new ariel, and they have taken off the entire roof padding on the interior to no noticeable benefit. This time the garage was told by the VW technical department that there was nothing to be done."

3-6-2015: 38 month old Volkswagen Up suffered clutch/transmission failure at 28k miles. May be clutch. May be transmission itself.

17-6-2015: Clutch failure of 2013 Volkswagen Up reported at 9,500 miles.

7-9-2015: ABS and Traction Control lights showing on 2012 Up, just over 3 years old. Fixed before by dealer, but refuses to fix now car is out of warranty. DRLs "blow on a regular basis".

28-12-2015: Gearbox of 6,600 mile 2013/63 Up ASG (that had a software update) developed a problem where reverse won't engage when cold. It takes a number of attempts moving from drive to reverse and back before it will engage. Supplying VW dealer denied any knowledge of the problem.

11-2-2016: Volkswagen Up, Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii 1.0 litre engines are timing belt, not chain, and some dealers are quoting the necessity to change the belt at 3 years or 30,000 miles whichever comes first.

21-2-2016: 2012 Volkswagen Up failed to start. Diagnostics said “fuel pump control circuit”, the garage changed the relay and car ran again. Same thing happened 3 weeks later, indicating a fault with the earth to the relay, the fuel tank sender pump or the earth to the fuel tank sender pump. Diagnostics can never tell more than “fuel pump control circuit”. They can't pinpoint this fault.

12-5-2016: Report of EPAS of 2014 Up suddenly failing. AA diagnosed some faults, cleard them, disconnected the battery, re-connected and all working again.

6-6-2016: Parking brake of 10k mile Up mysteriously stuck on after standing for 2 days. Rocking side to side freed it off.

20-7-2016: Noisy manual transmission and "clicking" on upchanges reported on 20,000 mile 2013 Volkswagen Up bought frm an independent car dealer. The dealer replaced the clutch but noise still apparent.

1-8-2016: Numerous unspecified intermittent faults reportred on Up (age not specified), which neither the dealer nor Volkswagen have been prepared to rectify.

4-8-2016: £980 quoted for major service of 2012 Up, including a timing belt change.

6-2-2017: Report of engine coolant sensor (radiator fan thermo-switch) failing on a 2013 Up.

22-2-2017: Report of "sudden" clutch failure in a 3-year old Up.

17-3-2017: Report of rear drum brake cylinders of 2013 Up starting to leak at 32,000 miles. Estimated cost of repair £307.

2-2-2018: Report of corrosion of both front wings of 2012 Volkswagen Up (Bubbling paint at the top of the wheelarches.) Inspected by Volkswagen's independent repairer who confirmed that the vehicle hadn't suffered any previous accident damage and recommended two new wings. Volkswagen queried this and replaced one but repaired the other. Not covered by Volkswagen anti-corrosion warranty because they claimed defective paint, which is only warranted for three years. Owner asked to pay 25% of the cost which was £125. The fact that that it was in exactly the same place on both wings would signify that this might be a regular problem.

5-2-2018: Report of clutch failure on a September 2016 Up at 12,500 miles. Dealer quoted a huge £1100 to replace it.

8-2-2018: Volkswagen dealer quoted 5 years or 120k miles whichever comes first for timing belt change on a 62k mile 2013 Up (not 3 years /30k miles quoted by others). The belt on this engine does not drive the waterpump.

30-4-2018: Owners of 2013 Up models are now being told that their engines need a timing belt change at 5 years old.

15-7-2018: Report of gearbox problems with 2012 Take Up at 24,000 miles. At first a difficulty in engaging 1st or reverse. Now slipping out of 5th. Quoted £2000 for a new gearbox and £500 for fitting.

4-8-2018: Report of owner of 2013/63 Up being advised by dealer to have a timing belt change at 27,000 miles at a cost of £450. Dealer said 5 years or 160k miles whichever come first.

21-8-2018: Penetrative corrosion reported on 2012 Move Up near the filler cap. Uncertain if caused by paint chipped with a filler nozzle.

23-9-2018: Report of body corrosion on a 2012 Up. Dealer told owner that it’s covered in the warranty, and will probably replace part of a panel. "However, a month has gone by and as the man who needs to sanction the work is off sick nothing has happened and will not happen until his return. Of which there is no idea of his return. Firstly, I’m annoyed I have rust on a 12 plate car and secondly the dealer is totally unconcerned about sorting the problem until this man return(bought new) at 9,000 s to work sometime in the future."

11-11-2018: Report of power steering failing on 2015 Up at 20k miles, 4 months after bought used privately. Red warning light is permanently on and there is no power steering. Volkswagen is now saying it needs a new steering column and control panel at a cost of almost £2000. Independent Power Steering Specialists recommended.

10-1-2019: Report of 12,000 mile 2016 High Up run on Shell V-Power failing its first MoT on emissions. Later transpired that cat converter lambda sensor had failed. Replaced and running fine again.

10-1-2019: Report of two clutch faulures on 2017 Beats Up 75PS in under 4000 miles. 1st one just over 2k by backing it up hill into owner's garage. 2nd clutch after 1,800 miles only backing into the garage twice. Owner been driving for 65 years never burned a clutch before.

9-6-2019: Report of both DRLs failing on 2016 High Up at 13,000 miles.

10-6-2019: Report of owner of 2016 SEAT Mii manual (same car as Up) being recommended by the dealer to have a transmission oil change at its 3rd annual service.

2-7-2019: Clutch failure after "burning smell" reported on 2016 Up at 9,000 miles. Clutch was replaced under warranty as a manufacturing fault (despite VWG clutch warranty of only 6 months). Now at just under 3 years and 30,000 mies clutch is starting to smell again.

31-8-2019: Report of transmission whine in 30,000 mile 2013 Move Up, originally bought new and serviced regularly, firstly with the Main Dealer and when out of warranty with a reputable independent specialist. Whine thought to be a bearing failure and advised not to drive it unyil the transmission is removed and inspected in case more metal comes away and causes catastrophic failure of the box and/or its casing. Facing a £1500 bill.

22-9-2019: Report of burning smell from clutch of June 2018 Up Beats at 4800 miles when ascending gradients on the motorway. Car services on time. Owner lives in flat area with no steep hills.

26-10-2019: Report of significant rainwater leak into driver's footwell of 2015 VW Up after being left standing for 10 days. Supplying VW dealer traced leak to a faulty seal where wiring passes through the bulkhead separating engine and passenger compartments. Owner being charged £1k to rectify.

5-11-2019: VW dealers offering a timing belt change on Up 1.0 engines for just £150 if carried out before 31-12-2019.

13-11-2019: Report of 20,000 mile 2013 VW Up intermittently reverting to two cylinders with both the engine management light and catalytic converter lights coming on. VW dealer can’t find anything wrong. The car is run on V-power superunleaded. Might be a blocked EGR. Might need a timing belt change.

18-12-2019: Three Star Euro NCAP rating for 2020 Volkswagen Up, comprising 81% Adult Occupant protection; 83% Child Occupant protection; 46% Vulnerable Road User protection (pedestrians, cyclists, etc.); and 55% Safety Assist.

8-2-2020: Report by owner of 5 year old VW Up with 26,989 miles being recommended by VW dealer to have the timing belt changed at a cost of £599, minus a £135 discount.


3-5-2013: SEAT Mii, Skoda Citigo and Up recalled because some may be fitted with airbag control units with incorrect parameters programmed. On these vehicles the diagnostic function for the side crash sensors is deactivated resulting in potential faults not being recognised and the airbag warning not illuminating. The recall was to reprogramme the airbag cvontrol unit. Build dates 14-1-2013 to 19-3-2013. VINs: VSSZZZAAZDD320365 to VSSZZZAAZDD324562.

22-03-2017: R/2017/079: Airbag/belt tensioners may not trigger in event of an accident: Due to an error in the manufacturing process the air bag and/or seat belt pretensioner may not trigger in the event of a collision. Fix: On affected vehicles replace air bag assembly and seatbelt pretensioner where necessary. VIN: WVGZZZ1TZHW015832 to WVGZZZ1TZHW029384; WVWZZZAUZHP016078 to WVWZZZAUZHP552907; WV2ZZZ7HZHH020247 to WV2ZZZ7HZHH084411; WVWZZZ3CZHE029991 to WVWZZZ3CZHP013537; WVWZZZ13ZHV002320 to WVWZZZ13ZHV005588; WVGZZZ5NZHW320847 to WVGZZZ5NZHW847521; WVWZZZAAZHD005939 to WVWZZZAAZHD037356; WV1ZZZ2HZHH002360 to WV1ZZZ2HZHH002373; WVWZZZAUZHW037011 to WVWZZZAUZHW804016; WV1ZZZ7HZHX013663 to WV1ZZZ7HZHX014052; WV3ZZZ7JZHX014827 to WV3ZZZ7JZHX014827: Build dates: 01-05-2016 to 31-10-2016.

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