Volkswagen Up Review 2024

Volkswagen Up At A Glance

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.

-Safety tech beginning to lag behind newer rivals.

New prices start from £12,705
Insurance Groups are between 1–17
On average it achieves 83% 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 X, Hyundai i10 and the Fiat 500, which is even longer-lived than the Up.. 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. Read on for our full review of the Volkswagen Up.

The Up is one of the most important cars Volkswagen has launched in the 21st century, 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. It's also easy to choose your Up as there's only one 65PS 1.0-litre engine in the line-up, unless you go for the EV e-Up or nippy GTI models that are reviewed separately.

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.

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

Ask Honest John

What's the best first car for a 17 year old?

"My grandson's family are considering purchasing a car for a 17 year old, the budget is £6000 to £8000. Which car would you recommend and suggest they look at for his first car?"
When buying a first car for a new driver the biggest hurdle to overcome is insurance costs, so we would always suggest buying a small hatch or city car with the lowest insurance group possible, even to the point of reducing the budget for the car to free up funds for the insurance. As much as you may want the nicest car possible for your relative, a higher-value car will push the insurance costs up further still. There is no shame in running something more humble for the first couple of years to build up some no-claims bonus and driving experience. We would suggest cars like the Volkswagen Up or Hyundai i10 which are cheap to insure, cheap to service and repair, and aren't quick enough to get a new driver into trouble very easily.
Answered by David Ross

Volkswagen Golf or Up - which should we sell?

"We currently own a 2017 Volkswagen Golf SV (14,000 miles) with all the bells and whistles, including park assist, and a 2016 VW Up. We need to make savings, which car should we sell?"
Realistically you should be keeping the VW Up because it will prove to be the cheapest car to run with better fuel economy, cheaper insurance, tax and servicing, plus it should hold its value well. Whether you can live without the luxury features of the Golf SV is another matter...
Answered by Lawrence Allan

When do brake pads need replacing?

"My car is a 65 plate Volkswagen Up! It has 25,000 miles on the clock. My local garage says it will need new brake pads in six months, is this correct?"
Brake pads tend to last 20,000 to 30,000 miles between changes. If your car is on its original set of pads then it's reasonable to assume they've worn out.
Answered by Dan Powell

What is the best way to sell our low mileage car?

"We own a 2018 Toyota Auris Estate and we also have a 5 door 2017 Volkswagen Up!, bought by us as a new, but pre-registered, car, in May 2017 from a main dealer. It has done only 7,500 miles, having been little used because my wife, the principal driver, had a leg injury in autumn/winter 2019-2020 and then we had the lockdown. It has been serviced annually by the same dealer and, on its 5 year service, we had the cam belt replaced, despite the low mileage. As there was some cracking in the original tyres due to low use of the car, (not an MoT failure) we had these replaced last year by Michelin Cross Climates. The car is in very good condition. We are trying to move house to a flat which requires us to downsize and there is only one parking space, so the Up! has to go. We are reluctant to sell privately. A main dealer has offered us £7500, which we think is the trade price value. Is this a fair price? Would we get more from an internet dealer? What would you suggest we do?"
To get the most money for your car, we'd recommend advertising it privately through a site such as eBay, Auto Trader or Facebook Marketplace. It should be an easy car to sell – someone will appreciate the low miles and excellent condition it's in. It could be an ideal first car or city runaround. If you don't want the faff of a private sale, it's worth spending time on all the car buying websites seeking valuations. We've heard good reports of people selling their cars to ( – you might find a dealer willing to pay strong money for your car in the current climate. £7,500 sounds on the low side – around £8,500 would be a fairer trade value and maybe £9,000/£9,500 as a private sale.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Volkswagen Up cost?