From £8,3408
Characterful high-riding supermini is neither fast nor roomy — but it is fun to drive and satisfyingly frugal

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Up

The Volkswagen Up city car isn't revolutionary, it's just quantifiably better than the opposition

26 September 2013

What is it?

The CrossUp is the fifth in a range of high-riding models from Volkswagen, following on from the earlier CrossPolo, CrossGolf, CrossTouran and recently introduced CrossCaddy.

Despite boasting a more rugged, arguably better appearance than its five door hatchback sibling with beefed-up bumpers, roof rails, unique sill plates and bodyside cladding and a set of standard 16-inch alloy wheels, it is not a genuine off-roader but rather an urban-based crossover that sets out to combine the compact dimensions of one of our favourite superminis along with the elevated seating of a proper small SUV.

With ride height raised by 15mm, the additional seat height of the CrossUp provides the driver with a more commanding view of the road along with greater ease at parking station booths and the like than the standard Up.

But while it is instantly recognisable from the outside, there’s little apart from newly patterned cloth upholstery inside to set the CrossUp apart from other Up models.

Accommodation up front is excellent, but the rear seat lacks for legroom and the rear windows do not wind down but hinge open from the front. There is sufficient boot space for the weekly grocery haul at a nominal 251 litres, extending to 959 litres with the rear seat folded.

What's it like?

The mechanical package is familiar with just one engine on offer at launch: the 1.0-litre sequential injected unit used in other Up models, initially with petrol compatibility but to get a natural gas option later on in a move that Volkswagen suggests will lower running costs to levels challenging those of the early band of electric-powered city cars.

With a modest 74bhp developed at 6200rpm, the compact three-cylinder isn’t exactly overflowing with power and lacks response at lower revs, leading to a relatively relaxed 0-62mph time of 14.2sec. Still, there’s a solid slab of torque once you’ve got it percolating above 3000rpm, translating to acceptable in-gear acceleration on the open road.

Volkswagen’s entry-level petrol engine also operates with a vibrant thrum that gives it real aural character when exercised – something that can’t be said of the silent battery-touting competition.

Drive is channelled through a standard five-speed manual with a conventional foot-operated clutch. Selected markets will also receive a version with an automated clutch.

The in-house produced gearbox has a satisfyingly light action, but it doesn’t like to be rushed across the gates with any great haste. Long gearing helps in achieving a respectable 60.1mpg on the combined consumption cycle, giving the CrossUp average CO2 emissions of 109g/km.

Forget any notion the raised ride height might be aligned to four-wheel drive to give it proper off-road credentials; the latest variant of the Up retains front-wheel drive in a move that gives it a distinct on-road focus as well as ensuring its kerb weight remains just below 1000kg.

Pleasingly direct and light steering combine with the compact dimensions and a tight turning circle to provide the latest variant of the Up with excellent manoeuvrability and quite engaging handling. However, the added ride height appears to have affected the ride, which is not quite as good as standard Ups at city speeds, with sharper vertical movement over broken bitumen. It gets better at higher speeds, though, giving the CrossUp a smoother ride on secondary roads.

Should I buy one?

It is not a game changer, but the CrossUp is a likeable car. It excels in an urban environment where its low speed agility makes it genuinely fun to drive and with long ratios at the top of its gearbox is also capable of eating up miles with surprising maturity at typical motorway speeds. Sadly, though, it is not planned to be be sold in the UK for reasons that Volkswagen is not prepared to reveal right now.

Volkswagen CrossUp

Price £11,751; 0-62mph 14.2sec; Top speed 104mph; Fuel economy 60.1mpg (combined); CO2 109g/km; Engine 3 cyls, 999cc, petrol; Power 74bhp at 6200rpm; Torque 70lb ft at 3000rpm; Gearbox 5-speed manual

Join the debate


26 September 2013

On the face of it, not selling this car in the UK is a missed opportunity. The extra cost involved in raising the ride height, fitting bigger wheels etc is minimal, so the Crossup should be very profitable.
Could it be that poor sales of the basic model is the reason for not offering it? If sales are poor, then having too many models might be counterproductive, especially given that each version will have additional R&D, homologation, marketing costs etc? One could argue that there are already too many derivatives, given all the versions so far produced by VW, SEAT and Skoda.

26 September 2013
LP in Brighton wrote:

Could it be that poor sales of the basic model is the reason for not offering it?

I don't know what the sales figures for the Up are, but there are plenty of pre-reg models knocking around at the VW dealers, at considerable price reductions. I agree its a shame this model is not to be offered here: Previous Cross or Dune models of the Polo and Golf Plus are more attractive and interesting than the standard versions, in my opinion.
I assume the seating is mounted higher than in the standard Up, as well as the body being raised. Otherwise that 15mm raised ride height would surely not account for the "more commanding view of the road".

26 September 2013

A review of a car that we're not getting seems a tad pointless. Especially with a section titled 'Should I buy one'

26 September 2013
nicebiscuit wrote:

A review of a car that we're not getting seems a tad pointless. Especially with a section titled 'Should I buy one'

But it gives Autocar Journos another chance to be taken out by VAG's PR agency. It is amazing how this gruff 3 pot can be called characterful when every other manufacturer's 3 pots that are in fact better are deemed rough or 'needing'.

27 September 2013
marj wrote:
nicebiscuit wrote:

A review of a car that we're not getting seems a tad pointless. Especially with a section titled 'Should I buy one'

But it gives Autocar Journos another chance to be taken out by VAG's PR agency. It is amazing how this gruff 3 pot can be called characterful when every other manufacturer's 3 pots that are in fact better are deemed rough or 'needing'.

You can be sure that when journos refer to three cylinder "thrum" as in this case, this is a euphemism for "coarse".

I see quite a few Ups around for it seems to be my ill-fortune to be caught behind them at traffic lights and they appear not to be very accelerative, or is it just they don't appeal to alert drivers?

It beggars belief that a review is being published, and "stars" being awarded, to a model which won't be imported. Or are VW just using a motoring magazine to do a bit of market research?

26 September 2013

... the crossover factor. It is mainly let down by its blunt front which is totally devoid of character.
The 14 second 0-60 is another blot this VW could do without and makes it the class backbencher.
In a day and age when Insignia emits 99g/km, Up emitting 109 g/km is no epitome of engineering.
Up and its siblings are a common sight in the UK. Curious as to why Crossup is not coming to UK.
Perhaps the mighty VW has over-spent on the MQB and is now a bit skint on converting this to RHD.

26 September 2013

....when Rover introduced the Streetwise , they're not laughing now:-)

26 September 2013

The Rover Streetwise lives on!

26 September 2013

VW UK, people here like fake 4x4s. Look at the growing market for them. Get it on sale. I might even consider one if it is sensibly priced.

The reason the ride suffers has nothing to do with suspension changes, it is the horribly low profile tyres. VW UK, take a leaf out of Fiat's book and fit nice high profile tyres, increase the ride height further and fit a traction plus switch. All dead easy and relatively cheap to engineer.

27 September 2013

.. This isn't coming to UK.. I know it gimmicky but the idea of elevating a supermini is actually quiet a good idea.. I would love this for my parents .. My father has issues with mobility in his elder years.. So an elevated position to help him see a little better around the car. And to help him park is a must . But a full size SUV is too big for him and unnecessary cost for someone that drives a few miles a day.

I even think this looks quiet attractive, simple , frugal, VW quality .. Shame VW doesn't see the benefits of such a vehicle in UK


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
    First Drive
    19 March 2018
    The Mercedes-Benz E-Class could be all the estate car you’ll ever want — or it could be overkill. Let’s see which...
  • Dallara Stradale
    The Stradale is the first road-legel car from Italian motorsport constructor Dallara
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    The motorsport constructor's first road car is inspired by Lotus minimalism. Does it thrill on road and track?
  • Hyundai i30 N
    Standard spec is good so paint colour is our car’s only option
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    What’s Hyundai’s first hot hatch and N-brand debutant really like? Let’s find out
  • Porsche Boxster GTS
    This is the new GTS version of the Porsche Boxster
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The 718-generation Boxster is our favourite roadster of the moment – so is this new GTS variant worth the extra outlay?
  • BMW 5 Series
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The BMW 5 Series is top of the mid-exec pack, but is there still room for a diesel saloon in everyday family life?