Used Volkswagen Lupo Hatchback 1999 - 2005 review

Category: Small car

Fun yet classy, but you'll pay for the pleasure

Volkswagen Lupo Hatchback (99 - 05)
  • Volkswagen Lupo Hatchback (99 - 05)
  • Volkswagen Lupo Hatchback (99 - 05)
Used Volkswagen Lupo Hatchback 1999 - 2005 review
Star rating

What's the used Volkswagen Lupo hatchback like?

City cars are usually aimed at the buyer who wants the cheapest car they can find and don't really care what they get for their cash.

The Volkswagen Lupo is a bit different. It looks smart yet funky inside and out, and has build quality that can rival many of Volkswagen's bigger family cars.


Fun yet classy, but you'll pay for the pleasure

  • The Lupo is a smart city car with VW quality
  • Expensive and hopelessly impractical for more than two people

Although the cabin is well turned out and easy to use, it's a bit tight on space, even for a city car. Front-seat passengers won't suffer too much, but anyone confined to the back will struggle for head- and legroom, and the boot is tiny.

On the other hand, the Lupo is a decent drive, with reasonable handling and decent performance, although it isn't as much fun as a Ford Ka, for example. It doesn't ride that well, either, and feels choppy at pretty much any speed.

Ownership cost

What used Volkswagen Lupo hatchback will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Volkswagen Lupo hatchback?

Compare it with other city cars of a similar age and you'll see that the Lupo is one of the more expensive choices. That said, it's streets ahead of the rest in terms of quality and will hold onto its value better than rivals.

Your fuel bills won't be too outlandish because all versions boast very competitive economy. The 1.0-litre will return an average of 48.7mpg, and the 1.4 will give you either 44.8mpg or 41.5mpg depending on the output you choose. Both diesels give an identical 64.2mpg, and even the GTI returns 38.2mpg on average.

Insurance costs will be reasonably cheap on all but the group 11 GTI. The other petrol engines range from group 3 to 6, and the diesels are in group 3 or 4. Servicing costs shouldn't amount to much more than the class average, either.

Our recommendations

Which used Volkswagen Lupo hatchback should I buy?

The Lupo comes with a wide range of engines. Petrols include a 50bhp 1.0-litre (slow, but fine in town), a 75bhp 1.4 (less laboured and still pretty frugal, making it the best choice), a 100bhp version of the same 1.4 (faster but thirstier) and a 125bhp 1.6 in the Lupo GTI (quick but expensive to buy and run).

There are two diesel units - a 1.4 with 75bhp and a 1.7 with just 60bhp. The 1.7 isn't worth bothering with because it's gutless, but the 1.4 is much more punchy and still frugal.

The 1.0-litre motor comes in basic E trim only. This gets you power steering and twin front airbags. The 75bhp 1.4 and the 1.7 diesel are offered in both E and S trim, which adds central locking, deadlocks and electric windows. Sport trim adds alloy wheels and heated mirrors and the GTI gets an alarm, immobiliser and remote central locking.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Volkswagen Lupo hatchback?