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Volkswagen Up

Carpedia  ·  October 25, 2021

Volkswagen Up

In the urban jungle, all you need is a small and manoeuvrable car, which is easy to drive and will easily fit tight parking spaces. Many car manufacturers realised that many years ago, and so they came up with such a vehicle. As a major carmaker on the global market, VW is no exception. 

The German manufacturer offered a one-generation model called Up in 2011, which was small and affordable, but also well-built – in the typical Volkswagen manner.

The VW Up is still present on the global market and marks some pretty nice sales results. Unfortunately, we can't say the same for the Australian market. 

Here, the Up lasted for no more than three years. Sales were slow, and even though we don't know the exact reasons for the lack of interest, it’s probably because the competition was even more affordable and cheaper to run. Of course, we are talking primarily about Asian brands.

The First Generation of VW Up (2012-2014)

The first and the only generation of this tiny city car was introduced in 2011, and while it's still in production in most parts of the world (with massive updates), the VW Up Australia had a pretty short lifespan of just three model years. The demand wasn’t great, so models in stock were also sold till 2015.

The VW Up Concept

Although the production version was introduced in 2011, the development started several years before. During the first decade of the 21st century, we saw several concept versions. Some of them even featured an old-school layout, with the rear-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive. However, the production version came with the opposite layout.


The 2007 concept inspired the 2011 production version. Its styling originally came as a work of the Brazilian designer Marco Pavone, while the final product was done by Walter de Silva. The Australian version debuted for the 2012 model year, and it was available until 2014.


Design-wise, the VW Up isn’t any different from other cars in this class – small dimensions, simple mechanics, and plenty of low-rent materials, all to make this car as affordable as possible.

As a result, we saw design solutions like a solid rear axle with coil-spring suspension. On the other hand, front discs are ventilated, which helps a lot in braking performance. 

The car is built on the company's familiar NSF platform and has a couple of corporal twins - SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo. The latter also tried its luck in Australia but wasn't successful either.

Two versions of the VW Up were offered in Australia regarding body style. The base and more affordable version came as a three-door hatchback, with a five-door hatch also in the offer. The two models are mechanically identical, with the same wheelbases and overall dimensions as well. The vehicle weighs only 880 kg.


Powertrain and Performance

While models for Europe and some other markets were also released with powertrain options that use alternate fuel, the Australian version came with just one engine option. That was a small 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, with a total output of just 55 kW and 95 Nm of max torque, paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission.

With such a modest power, it's no wonder that performances aren't impressive, which is expected from a small city car anyway. The acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is slightly over 13 seconds, while the max speed goes around 170 km/h. 

A pretty good fuel economy (4.7L/100km according to VW) compensates the lack of performance. For a small car, that’s a bit of a thirsty engine but nonetheless, still pretty cheap to run.

VW Up Engine Specs and Performance


Interestingly, the VW was offered in a single grade, which doesn’t carry any specific name. Of course, few standalone options were offered, but the list of standard equipment was already pretty decent. 

All models came equipped with standard features like power windows, power steering, head airbags, hill holder, 6-speaker audio system, traction control management, and brake assist, to name a few.

Due to the slow sales, the company tried to get more interested buyers by adding more standard equipment. The 2014 model year came with goodies like autonomous emergency braking, daytime running lights, additional cup holders, upgraded seat upholstery, heated exterior mirrors, tinted windows and many more.


Eventually, Volkswagen offered a version with the legendary GTI badge. This model came with several upgrades, including upgraded suspension, unique styling details, recognisable GTI seats and other exclusive features. Still, the most significant upgrade was under the hood. The VW Up GTI came with a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, with a max output of 85 kW. This version accelerates from 0 to 60 km/h in about 9 seconds, while the top speed is 192 km/h.

Unfortunately, this version was launched in 2018, and it was never available in Australia.

Is Volkswagen Up discontinued? 

The version for the Australian market was discontinued way back in 2014. On the other hand, this tiny hatchback is still available in Europe, South America and few more parts of the world. Although it's been around for a full decade, it will carry on in the future. Allegedly, the petrol model will be dropped from the offer, and an all-electric version will take its place.

Is VW Up cheap to run?

Small city cars are cheap to run, and VW Up is no exception. This car features a simple design and relies primarily on older and proven technology. That means a high level of reliability and cheap replacement parts. You can check out an earlier article about aftermarket VW parts here.

The small three-cylinder engine is quite efficient, as the average fuel economy goes under 5 L/100km. Finally, the VW Up price is quite affordable on the used car market. For example, you can easily find the 2012 model years for less than $4,000. All in all, we can say that the VW Up is a pretty cheap car to run.

Need replacement parts for your VW Up? You can request parts on our website, and we will help you find the best deals for you. Also, check our Carpedia page for more content about old and new car models. 

By Nebojsa Grmusa

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