For an equiregular sub-Riemannian manifold M, Popp’s volume is a smooth volume which is canonically associated with the sub-Riemannian structure, and it is a natural generalization of the Riemannian one. In this paper we prove a general formula for Popp’s volume, written in terms of a frame adapted to the sub-Riemannian distribution. As a first application of this result, we prove an explicit formula for the canonical sub- Laplacian, namely the one associated with Popp’s volume. Finally, we discuss sub-Riemannian isometries, and we prove that they preserve Popp’s volume. We also show that, under some hypotheses on the action of the isometry group of M, Popp’s volume is essentially the unique volume with such a property.