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Volkswagen Up Hatchback review

2012 - 2023 (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 53.5
” The benchmark of the city car class “

At a glance

Price new £8,975 - £19,340
Used prices £1,898 - £20,007
Road tax cost £0 - £190
Insurance group 1 - 17
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Fuel economy 48.7 - 55.4 mpg
Range 423 - 524 miles
Miles per pound 7.1 - 8.1
View full specs for a specific version

Available fuel types


Pros & cons

  • Class-leading build quality
  • Peppy range of engines
  • Fabulous Up GTI model
  • Pricier than many rivals
  • Only four seats
  • Three-star Euro NCAP rating

Written by James Dennison Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 5 May 2023


Ideal for young drivers or those with a keen eye on value for money, the Up promises to combine Volkswagen levels of quality with city car running costs and convenience.

Competition, however, is strong, with accomplished rivals such as the Hyundai i10 and Fiat 500 also charting on the cheapest cars in the UK list.

VW Up front yellow
VW Up front yellow

The Up is available in four distinct trim levels, depending on whether you go for three doors or five, plus there’s a GTI performance derivative and the all-electric E-Up to consider.

VW Up interior
VW Up interior

Features such as air-con, Bluetooth and USB phone connectivity and a 5.0-inch colour infotainment screen are all standard.

Every Volkswagen Up (apart from the E-Up and GTI) comes with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that produces 65hp. The turbocharged engine in the Up GTI makes 115hp.

All are capable of propelling the Up around town nicely, though the basic petrol engine isn’t ideal for motorway driving. Fuel economy is good with over 50mpg possible even in the GTI.

Measuring up at 3.6 metres long and a shade over 1.9 metres wide, the Volkswagen Up is one of the smallest cars on sale today. However, there’s still enough room for four adults (there’s only two seats in the back), plus the boot space is up there with the best in class.

VW Up boot
VW Up boot

Storage space is also reasonable for a car of this size, with large door pockets and a spread of cubbyholes up front.

Volkswagen has pulled off a clever trick making the Up feel agile and fun to drive, but also comfortable and refined. The quick steering and small turning circle are perfect for buzzing around narrow urban streets, while the forgiving suspension does well to soak up pockmarked roads.

Refinement on motorways is good for a car of this size, plus there’s plenty of driver enjoyment to be had on twisty country roads thanks to the car’s diminutive kerb weight. The GTI is, despite its size and low power, one of the most fun cars to drive on the market.

Over the next few pages we’ll be thoroughly reviewing all aspects of the Volkswagen Up and rating them in our verdict. Our scores will take into account the driving experience, how pleasant the interior is, the practicality on offer and what it’ll cost you to run.