These are uncertain times for Volkswagen’s mini marvel. Complex emissions rules threaten to consign the Up and other city cars to the dustbin of history, with only electric versions of group siblings, the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo, clinging on and, hopefully, prospering.
For now at least, there are still both petrol and electric versions of the Up. Launched in 2014 and updated in 2017, the e-Up EV has a range of 99 miles. It’s a rare bird on the used market but an example of VW’s ambitions for its little city car. Putting the e-Up to one side, at the lower end of the Up model range is the 1.0 60 Take Up 3dr and at the other the daft-as-a-brush Up 1.0 115 GTI.
The Up was launched in 2012 but here we’re interested in the facelifted version from 2016. Highlights included a more powerful 89bhp Up 1.0 90 TSI, sitting above the existing 59bhp 1.0 60 and 74bhp 1.0 75 engines, plus restyled headlights, standard-fit LED daytime-running lights and new bumpers. Smartphone integration and fresh colours and styling packs were new, too.
There were also some new trims in addition to the core Take Up, Move Up and High Up trims inherited from the pre-facelift Up. Partly because it’s offered with all engines bar the 115 GTI, the most popular among these bonus trims on the used market is Up Beats (VW’s puns aren’t Uplifting), with its 300W sound system.
Back to the three core trims and easily the most popular and plentiful is mid-spec Move Up. It has all the kit you need in a city car, including a smartphone-based media system, air conditioning, a split-folding rear seat, electric windows, central locking and driver’s seat height adjustment. It’s got alloy wheels, too. They look good but check for kerbing.
It’s a pity Move Up is available with the 59bhp engine only. Like all Up petrol motors (there’s no diesel), it’s a three-cylinder affair with a pleasingly raspy exhaust note, but while its heart’s in the right place, you do have to work it. It wouldn’t matter but for the fact that even on healthy models, the gearchange action is a little baggy and obstinate. While you’re getting used to that, check for clutch slip. Worn or problem clutches do appear to be an issue.