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First drive: Volkswagen up! 1.0 TSI. Image by Volkswagen.

First drive: Volkswagen up! 1.0 TSI
Biggest of the changes to the updated Volkswagen up! is the addition of a new turbocharged engine.


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Volkswagen up! 1.0 TSI

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The Volkswagen up! has never been the absolute best car in the city car class, but it has always been the most desirable. Its midlife update brings more tech, colours, options and a perky turbocharged petrol engine. Job done.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Volkswagen High up! 1.0 TSI
Price: from 8,995 on-the-road
Engine: 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol
Transmission: five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door, four-seat hatchback
CO2 emissions: 101g/km (Band B, 20 per year)
Combined economy: 64.2mpg
Top speed: 115mph
0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Power: 90hp at 5,000- to 5,500rpm
Torque: 160Nm at 1,500- to 3,500rpm

What's this?

A midlife update for the appealing Volkswagen up! city car. Visually, the changes are modest, extending to a more interesting shape for the front bumper, a re-profiled bonnet and new headlamps with LED daytime running lights. At the side, the door mirrors now incorporate indicators and buyers can specify swanky looking 17-inch alloys. Round the back there are restyled lights and what Volkswagen calls a 'diffuser' in the bumper. Customisation is the name of the game for the updated up!, which is why there are seven new paint colours (bringing the total to 13) and 10 decal options for the exterior.

Inside, buyers can choose from 10 dashboard designs and seven seat colours, while cool new ambient lighting is optional. However, there's more to talk about. The centre section of the dashboard has been redesigned and it feels as good to use as any product from Volkswagen. The highest specification infotainment has a neat small touch screen built in, plus a smartphone dock. A bespoke app for your phone makes it easy to integrate with the car's systems and gives the driver loads of display options. It's a tidy set-up, though depending on the size of your phone's screen, the satnav display can be too small. Keen audiophiles can upgrade to the new Beats Audio stereo, with a seven-speaker, 300-Watt set-up. There's no change to passenger or boot space so it's still bettered by other cars in that regard, but the low-set seating position will appeal to the youthful.

Arguably the biggest news is the addition of a turbocharged 1.0-litre engine. Its peak outputs are 90hp and 160Nm of torque and it gives the up! a 0-62mph time of under 10 seconds. The existing 60hp and 75hp engines will remain on sale, as will the all-electric e-up! with the equivalent of 82hp (and 210Nm of torque). Prices have yet to be fully confirmed, though the starting price will be 8,995 on-the-road. The up! will be offered in three- and five-door formats and the trim line-up runs Take up!, Move up!, High up! and up! Beats.

How does it drive?

The new engine makes a tangible difference to performance with much more low down grunt yet no loss of that top end three-cylinder thrum. It took real effort to get the naturally aspirated engined up! up to motorway speeds, but the TSI engine makes that much easier. As before, the up! has one of the most enjoyable chassis in the class, with grown up manners whether you're tackling an interesting back road or cruising along a motorway. It never feels out of its depth, though there's plenty of body roll if you push it through a few corners. The upshot of this is real compliance in the chassis to make the daily grind a little more bearable. The five-speed manual gearbox is perfectly slick too.

One thing to be aware of is that the new 17-inch wheels, tempting as they are, detract from the overall ride comfort, as they pick up on every little pothole. If you're based in a badly surfaced conurbation then you're better off with the smaller wheels. Sadly.


We've always thought the Volkswagen up! was the coolest car in the city class and that hasn't changed one little bit. There are more spacious, more practical and better value options to be had, but none can hold a candle to this car's desirability. The new one enhances that, giving buyers even more choice and a usefully more flexible engine too.

5 5 5 5 5 Exterior Design

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Interior Ambience

3 3 3 3 3 Passenger Space

2 2 2 2 2 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain

Shane O' Donoghue - 5 Jul 2016    - Volkswagen road tests
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- up! images

2016 Volkswagen up! Image by Volkswagen.2016 Volkswagen up! Image by Volkswagen.2016 Volkswagen up! Image by Volkswagen.2016 Volkswagen up! Image by Volkswagen.2016 Volkswagen up! Image by Volkswagen.

2016 Volkswagen up! Image by Volkswagen.2016 Volkswagen up! Image by Volkswagen.2016 Volkswagen up! Image by Volkswagen.2016 Volkswagen up! Image by Volkswagen.2016 Volkswagen up! Image by Volkswagen.


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