Volkswagen Up Review 2022

Volkswagen Up At A Glance

5/5
Honest John Overall Rating
There’s a great deal to like about the Up, not least the fact that it feels quite mature for a city car and doesn’t make you feel like it is a compromise over a bigger car.

+Funky little city car. Cheap to run with low CO2. Lively and fun to drive. Large enough for four adults.

-Automated manual is poor. Reports of clutch failure on manuals.

New prices start from £12,705, brokers can source from £16,355
Insurance Groups are between 1–17
On average it achieves 82% of the official MPG figure

The Volkswagen Up is one of the most popular city cars in the segment, and competes directly with cars like the Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1, Peugeot 108, Hyundai i10 and its sister cars in the shape of the SEAT Mii and the Skoda Citigo. Conceived as a joint project to create a new city car for VW as well as SEAT and Skoda, the Up mixes traditional Volkswagen build quality and smart design with urban ability and impressive space efficiency given its size. Capable, fun to drive and available as an EV, the Up has a great deal going for it.

Looking for a second opinion? Check out heycar's Volkswagen Up review.

The Up was one of the most important cars Volkswagen has launched in the last few years, replacing the unloved Fox city car and instead offering a well thought out and compact package that’s economical, easy to drive and appealing to those downsizing from larger cars.

It’s nimble, distinctive, well built and represents good value for money. SEAT and Skoda both have their own versions, called the Mii and the Citigo, respectively, and while they are cheaper to buy and arguably more sensible choices, the appeal of the badge and the slightly more attractive design make it the most appealing of the three versions.

At launch, two versions of the same 1.0-litre petrol engine were offered, one with 60PS and one with 75PS. Both produce the same amount of torque and provide enough go to make town driving enjoyable, while a tall fifth gear makes motorway cruising subdued.

Latterly a turbocharged 1.0-litre version was introduced with 90PS, making the Up much more appealing to drive out of town. This same engine became the basis for the Up GTi, although this is considerably more expensive than the other versions.

The SEAT and Skoda versions went all-electric in 2019, and although the e-Up is available with the latest generation battery and motor tech, Volkswagen is the only one of the three to still offer a petrol version, in 60PS guise only.

There’s plenty of space in the cabin despite an overall length of just 3540mm. Space in the rear is good, with room for six-foot passengers, although it’s worth bearing in mind that it’ll drive much more slowly with four adults inside.

The boot is 251 litres, but can be expanded to 951 litres by folding the seats. Both the three-door model and five-door model have the same exterior dimensions and boot space, and while the Up is still ultimately a small car, it does offer an impressive amount of space given the compact exterior dimensions.

Sit behind the wheel and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a larger car. The Volkswagen ‘feel’ permeates the cabin.

Everything is solid and well put together, and although there is a lack of soft touch materials the Up doesn’t feel any worse off for it. You’re still aware that this is a city car that is built down to a price, and some younger rivals have moved the game on a little, but this is still a pleasing cabin to spend time in.

It’s easy to drive too, with a characterful engine sound, smooth gear change and light steering. Visibility is good and because of the ‘wheel on each corner’ design you’re always very aware of the car’s small size, making it simple and enjoyable to thread through tight traffic. It’s handling is safe and secure rather than thrilling, but its sheer size makes it fun to punt along a quiet road.

Arguably there are more sensible options in the sector, but none of them can match the Up’s feel-good factor.

Ask Honest John

Can you recommend a first car?
"I am wondering what first cars are good for a student, which are enjoyable to drive, look reasonably stylish and wouldn't cause my insurance to be above £1,200 per year."
A Ford Fiesta could be a good option. They're great to drive, cheap to run and there are loads about (so you can be picky when searching for a used example). Alternatively, consider a small city car like the Kia Picanto or Volkswagen Up. This guide might be useful: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/guides/best-first-car/
Answered by Andrew Brady
What do you recommend as a first car?
"What is the best first car?"
The Volkswagen Up, SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo are mechanically identical, and all brilliant. They're safe and practical for their size, easy to drive and excellent on fuel. Insurance will be cheap and so will servicing and repairs. Read our reviews of all three below. Skoda: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/skoda/citigo-2012/ VW: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/volkswagen/up-2012/ SEAT: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/seat/mii-2011/
Answered by Russell Campbell
Can you recommend a used first car?
"I would like to buy a used first small car for my 23 year old daughter, what would you suggest? "
The Volkswagen Up, Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii are excellent first cars being cheap to run, safe and roomy for their size. They're mechanically identical so get the best you can afford with a full-service history. A budget of £5000 will buy you a 2015 car with less than 50,000 miles on the clock, although cheaper cars are available and will have plenty of life left in them. Reviews of all three, below: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/seat/mii-2011/ https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/skoda/citigo-2012/ https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/volkswagen/up-2012/
Answered by Russell Campbell
Which small car do you recommend for £6,000?
"My son is looking to buy a good reliable cheap to run car. He has £6,000 to spend. What would you recommend? "
Volkswagen Up, Skoda Citigo or SEAT Mii. These cars are mechanically identical, so get the best you can for the money. They all cost buttons to run, are reliable, safe and relatively spacious for their size. Our reviews for each: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/skoda/citigo-2012/ https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/volkswagen/up-2012/ https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/seat/mii-2011/
Answered by Russell Campbell
More Questions

What does a Volkswagen Up cost?

Buy new from £16,355(list price from £17,645)