2016 Volkswagen Up Look Up review

Look Up special edition brings more kit and unique styling touches at a low price, but does that make it the pick of the range...

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What Car? team
16 May 2016

2016 Volkswagen Up Look Up review

The Volkswagen Up has been one of our favourite city cars since its launch in 2011, alongside its rebadged siblings the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo.

For 2016, VW is offering its Up in special edition Look Up guise, which sits just above the base Take Up trim in terms of price.

However, it offers a lot more equipment for the additional £150 outlay, including 15in alloy wheels, manual air conditioning, body coloured wing mirrors and door handles, and split folding rear seats. There are also three free external paint colours to choose from: Pure White, Tornado Red and Saturn Yellow.

What’s the Volkswagen Up Look Up like to drive?

The Look Up gets VW's 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol in its lower powered 59bhp form - the higher-powered 74bhp unit isn't available.

Around town, the engine feels powerful enough, but you’ll be regularly reaching for its five-speed manual gearbox for downshift on faster roads, especially when faced with a steep hill. Fortunately, the gearbox has a short-shifting action that makes it easy to use and it’s well positioned.

2016 Volkswagen Up Look Up review

The Up remains comfortable and handles well in and out of town. Its steering is accurate and keen to turn-in, feeling light at low speeds, but weighty enough at higher ones. Around town, it’ll happily nip between the traffic, it has excellent visibility and is a cinch to park.

On the motorway, the Up feels surefooted, belying its small size, so you shouldn’t feel intimidated passing lorries. Ride quality is good, too, being comfortable at speed and only becoming more fidgety on poor road surfaces.

Road and wind noise are present in the cabin, especially on the motorway, although they are never overbearing.

What’s the Volkswagen Up Look Up like inside?

As you might expect from a low-cost car, the interior is pretty simple, but it's easy to use. It has clear dials, easy to reach controls and a neat dash design, and, despite the hard plastics it feels like one of the better constructed dashboards in the class.

2016 Volkswagen Up Look Up review

The seats are supportive and they adjust well for height. Although the steering wheel doesn't adjust for reach, at least there's plenty of head and shoulder room.

There are no steering wheel controls and only manual door mirrors adjustment highlighting that this is a budget car. However, the optional sat-nav with 5.0in colour screen is excellent; specifying it also adds Bluetooth connectivity and extra car controls.

Gaining access to the rear of the three-door model is easy enough, requiring little effort to fold and slide the front seat forward, using a side-mounted lever. However, once in the back, adults will struggle with the lack of leg and knee room, although head room is reasonable.

At the back, the boot floor finishes flush with the boot lip and there’s enough space for a couple of small suitcases. The floor, however, is adjustable and can be lowered to add more depth to the boot, the rear seats fold forwards, too.

Should I buy one?

As a second car or one for a new driver, there are few better. It is cheap to buy, economical and has a low 2E insurance grouping.

Furthermore, few cars in this class are as much fun to drive or as easy to live with. The Look Up also gives you lots of extra equipment for just £150 over the price of the base model, although we’d suggest also adding the excellent sat-nav system if you can stretch to that, too.

It's also worth considering a seat Mii and Skoda Citigo; they don't quite have the Up's interior quality, but they're cheaper to buy and are essentially the same car beneath, so are as good to drive and comfortable to sit in.

Matthew Griffiths

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What Car? says...

Rated 4 out of 5*Rivals**

Hyundai i10

Seat Mii*Volkswagen Up Look Up**

Engine size 1.0-litre petrol

Price from £9,370

Power 59bhp

Torque 70lb ft

0-62mph 14.4 seconds

Top speed 99mph

Fuel economy 62.8mpg

CO2 105g/km