Volkswagen Up review

Category: Small car

Section: Performance & drive

Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD rear tracking
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD front tracking
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD rear tracking
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD dashboard
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD rear seats
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD front seats
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD infotainment
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD wide front tracking
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD left panning
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD boot open
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD front tracking
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD rear tracking
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD dashboard
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD rear seats
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD front seats
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD infotainment
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD wide front tracking
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD left panning
  • Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD boot open
What Car?’s Up deals
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In this section:
  • Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
  • Suspension and ride comfort
  • Handling
  • Noise and vibration

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

After its 2020 update, the Volkswagen Up is offered with a choice of two petrol engines: a 1.0-litre with 59bhp, or a turbocharged unit with 113bhp that’s reserved for the sportier Up GTI model.

It’s a bit of a shame that VW chose to ditch the engines that previously filled that power gap; while the 59bhp engine has enough pep for inner-city driving, trying to reach motorway speeds is an outright struggle, and you’d have to wait for a long stretch of country road if you need to overtake a tractor.

However, that's only true if you stick with 14in or 15in wheels. Upgrading to 16in ones brings a noticeably firmer ride, while the largest 17in alloys that are standard on the Up GTI (and optional on R-Line) cause it to crash and bang over severe bumps. The stiffer sports suspension that comes with R-Line and GTI models doesn’t help, further emphasising such surface imperfections.

Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD rear tracking

Handling

This is where the Up really does put rival cars to shame. It handles in a much more sophisticated and grown-up fashion than all of its peers, apart from the Kia Picanto.

Its precise steering is light enough to make low-speed manoeuvres easy work, but weights up enough as you turn the wheel to give you lots of confidence along faster, twisting roads. Throw in a decent amount of grip and surprisingly tidy body control (the Up doesn't lean over through tight corners as markedly as some rivals) and you end up with a car that’s genuinely fun to drive.

New car deals
Save up to £413
Target Price from £13,581
Save up to £413
or from £178pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £12,990
Leasing deals
From £206pm