Is the Volkswagen Up the ideal city car?

  • We take a closer look at why Volkswagen’s little city car is so popular
  • Find out how the Up compares to other city cars
  • Plus any deals which you could pick up this weekend

Since it was launched back in 2012, the Volkswagen Up has caused quite a stir, winning a string of awards including the 2012 World Car of the Year. It also helped reignite the small city car segment and has become one of the biggest-selling cars here in the UK over the past couple of years.

But why is it such a popular choice? Read on to find out.

Practicality

City cars are great to park and drive in urban environments but compact dimensions usually come at the expense of space. The Up however offers 251 litres of boot space which is enough for two small suitcases if you're planning a weekend away. It beats rivals like the Ford KaFiat 500Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo. If you need more room you can also fold the seats down to expand space to 951 litres.

Car buyers have the choice of three of five doors and the premium for the additional two doors is less than £400 so we think its well worth considering.  

Although there’s space for four adults, rear leg and headroom is lacking and we think only children up to the age of 10 will be comfortable over long distances.

ISOFIX points in the rear seats make the Up ideal for new families and although the cabin is not littered with storage options, the glovebox is a decent size, there’s a cupholder between the two front seats and there's a couple of useful cubbies below the centre console and in the doors.

Driving

With its compact 9m turning circle and tiny 3,540mm length, the Volkswagen Up is ideal to drive around tight city streets and easy to slot into multi-storey parking spaces too.  

Unlike many city cars, you also get the choice of an automatic gearbox which makes driving in stop/start traffic even easier.

As you may expect, the Up is most suited to urban environments - if you’re a regular motorway goer you're likely to find the Up lacking here.

The most powerful engine choice is the 73bhp 1-litre petrol which is only available in High trim which will complete the 0-62mph sprint in 13.2 seconds.

Its nippy handling and light steering is what makes the car fun to drive, though.

Running costs

The most frugal engine choice is the lower-powered 1-litre petrol accompanied by Volkswagen’s BlueMotion technology which is only offered in mid-range Move trim and offers 68.9mpg and 95g/km of CO2.

Almost as impressive is the higher-powered choice, only available in High trim which offers 67.3mpg and emits 98g/km of CO2 in combination with BlueMotion technology.

To find out more about the different engine combinations, read our performance section in the Volkswagen Up review.

Many people are surprised to learn that the Up is also available as a pure electric car. The e-up comes with five-doors as standard and a wealth of kit too. It does cost over £24,000 to buy new, although the Government is currently offering a plug-in car grant which will take £5,000 off the price.

Under the bonnet is a 80bhp electric motor which offers an official range of 93 miles before it’ll need recharging which could take up to nine hours if you use a standard three-pin socket. There are fast chargers littered around the UK though, usually found in service stations, which could reduce charging time to 30 minutes for 80 percent battery life.

To make the most of the range, you’ll need to stay within urban environments, drive an e-up on the motorway and you’ll quickly see the range disappear. To learn more about whether an electric car is right for you, click here.

Price

As this is a Volkswagen, we didn’t expect the car to be cheap and when you compare to some of its rivals, it’s not that generously equipped either. The headline £8,870 starting price base models don’t even come with central locking or electric windows.

Originally available in three trims - Take, Move and High - there’s been various special editions introduced over the past three years too.

The entry-level Take is as basic as it gets with a manual locking system, steel wheels, wind-down windows, a tyre pressure monitoring system, heated windsreen and DAB Radio as standard

Opting for mid-spec Move adds more luxuries for today’s world like air-con, central locking, a variable boot floor, split folding rear seats and electric front windows.

Top-of-the-range High trim includes 15-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, Maps and more touchscreen navigation/radio infotainment device, heated front seats and a leather steering wheel.

Although the Up carries a higher list price, its desirable badge and excellent build quality make it stand-out from its rivals.

It's worth mentioning that the Up was built in conjunction with the SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo, essentially the same car underneath. Both cars are cheaper to buy than the Up so if your budget is stretched, they may be worth a look.

Latest deals

Practical, frugal and easy to drive, what more could you want from a city car? And despite its higher purchase price, the excellent fit and finish inside the Up make it worth the extra cash – kit can be a little disappointing though so we’d recommend higher trims so you get more for your money.

You could also try haggling with the dealer for options like electric windows and air-con. If you visit near the end of the month they may be under more pressure to hit sales targets so might be more willing to meet your demands.

If you’re sold on the Volkswagen Up as your next new car, you need to make sure you get a good deal for it. Here’s one for this month:

  • Volkswagen Finance has put together a PCP deal on Move and High models until September 30, 2015. You’ll get a £900 deposit contribution with 6.9 percent APR, plus two years or 20,000 miles servicing for £149.

For more local deals – check out our cars for sale section.

To read our full review of the Volkswagen Up click here.

Still not sure if the Volkswagen Up is the car for you? These articles may help:

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