Refreshed line-up with new trim, connectivity and safety tech
The up! is the smallest car in the Volkswagen line-up, but it punches above its weight. After receiving more awards in the UK than any other model in the range last year, it has been revised for 2020 with new trim specifications, new safety technology and smartphone connectivity as standard.
The up! now comes as standard with driver’s and front passenger’s airbags and a curtain airbag system for front and rear passengers as well as front seat side impact airbags. Driver assistance systems include ESC (Electronic Stability Control), hill hold, EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and ASR (Traction Control). New for 2020 is a multifunction camera with lane assist.
Key to the appeal of the up! is its smart, chic and practical
city-car design, with a wheel at each corner and a short bonnet to maximise
passenger space within a compact footprint. For 2020 this model becomes the
first to carry the new VW badge in the traditional central grille position. Designed
to appeal to the style-conscious and the young, up! offers a choice of
design-led models, including the White and Black Editions. These feature 16-inch
‘La Boca’ wheels with black or white highlights, as well as roof, mirror
housings and dash pads finished in the corresponding colour. The Beats model
has 15-inch ‘Radial’ alloy wheels, red or black mirror housings and Beats
badging. The entry-level up! and the GTI are available in both three- and
five-door versions; all other models in the range are five-door only.
The petrol engine options for the up! include a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine that produces 60PS, and the award-winning GTI, which has a 115PS version of the same engine. Coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox, the GTI can accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.8 seconds, endowing it with exhilarating performance for a small hatchback. There’s little to choose between the 60PS and 115PS engines for economy either, at both will top 50mpg in the combined cycle. A third option, the electric e-up! will be coming soon with an improved range of up to 162 miles between charges.
The standard up! now comes with a five-inch colour Composition screen, smartphone navigation interface and DAB radio. The Beats model includes a 300-watt sound system with a subwoofer mounted beneath the boot floor. Alternatively, the R-Line specification offers a black painted roof, sports suspension, 16-inch ‘Triangle’ Black alloy wheels and a bespoke bumper with integral fog lights. Top of the range GTI has 17-inch ‘Oswald’ alloy wheels, checked cloth upholstery and interior ambient lighting.
Verdict: Volkswagen’s up! proves that you don’t need to compromise on style if you’re looking for an economical city hatchback. Surprisingly spacious inside, well equipped and with lots of scope for individualisation, the up! is a small car that’s big on appeal. Meanwhile the peppy GTI looks set to continue its cult status as Volkswagen’s own pocket rocket.