What is it?
It’s a special edition of one of our favourite small city cars, the Volkswagen Up.
This Look Up edition sits on the second rung of the ladder in the Up range, between the Take Up and Move Up trims. It’s only available with the lesser-powered, 59bhp version of the 1.0-litre petrol engine, but you can choose either three-door or five-door bodystyles.
It comes with 15in alloy wheels, unique interior upholstery design, body-coloured door handles and wing mirrors, driver’s seat height adjustment, split and folding rear seats and manual air conditioning. It's also available with three exterior paint colours: Pure White, Tornado Red and Saturn Yellow.
We're testing a Saturn Yellow three-door Look Up. Fitted to our test car is the optional £280 Maps & More navigation and infotainment system, a dash-mounted detachable sat-nav with a 5in screen which controls the in-car entertainment and Bluetooth.
What's it like?
The 999cc three-cylinder engine is carried over from the rest of the range, and with just 59bhp and 70lb ft, the little Up needs to be worked hard in order to make decent progress - and even harder on hills or when pulling out onto faster roads.
Indeed, some might miss the extra 15bhp of the more powerful version (which isn't available in Look Up form), at least here the engine is mated to Volkswagen's five-speed gearbox, which is accurate and capable of changing gears swiftly with its short-throw action.
Around town, the Up copes well and, thanks to its pint-sized dimensions, is great for nipping between slower vehicles. Take it beyond the city limits and it handles well for the class; there’s loads of grip, limited body lean and the steering is accurate. The ride can be firm and slightly unsettled at low speeds, but only over the worst surfaces.
Motorways shouldn’t be feared, either, because the Up manages to feel safe and secure. Wind and road noise is prevalent, although it’s not overbearing.
On the inside, the design is simple and stylish and there’s a robust feel. Across the dash, there's a black inset panel, which has a metallic paint-like sparkle to it. There’s exposed bodywork on the doors, which adds some contrast, while the door handles are finished in a brushed metal look.
The instrument cluster is clear and the controls are well positioned. While the radio display looks dated, the optional sat-nav has a high-resolution screen and is easy to use.
You’ll appreciate the comfortable and supportive seats, which adjust for height, but the steering wheel only adjusts for rake and not reach. Despite this, it is pretty easy to get comfortable, and with good head room, it feels larger than its dimensions suggest. However, there's still no USB socket and the Look Up's wing mirrors adjust manually, meaning an awkward reach across the cabin when parking.
Gaining access to the rear of this three-door version requires the pulling of a lever on the side of the front seats, tilting the backrest and then sliding the whole seat forward. The opening that is then presented is at least large enough to climb in with your dignity intact. Annoyingly, though, the front seats don’t reset to their previous position. In the back, leg and knee room is tight for adults and with only two seat belts, usability is restricted.
Pushing a central button on the back of the Up opens its glass boot lid, revealing a good-size boot for the class. The floor level is adjustable and can either sit flush with the boot lip or drop deeper for additional storage space.
Should I buy one?
If you are set on having the Volkswagen Up over its cheaper yet mechanically identical siblings from Seat or Skoda, then this is the one for to go for. For us it makes the most sense, because for just an additional £150, it has extra kit that makes it genuinely easier to live with. We’d also suggest going for the £280 optional sat-nav system.
Despite costing a tad more than a Mii or Citigo, the Up is still very cheap to run. VW claims it’ll achieve 62.8mpg and emit just 105g/km of CO2, meaning road tax will cost just £20 per year. Furthermore, this Look Up falls into insurance group two and gets a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty. Alternatively, it's worth considering the more spacious and similarly excellent Hyundai i10.
Location Surrey; On sale Now; Price £9370; Engine 3 cyls, 999cc, petrol; Power 59bhp; Torque 70lb ft; Gearbox 5-spd manual; Kerb weight 929kg; 0-62mph 14.4sec; Top speed 99mph; Economy 62.8mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 105g/km, 18%