I was wondering why can't I just do the following: "sudo apt-get
update vim" ?
The correct way of running it is
sudo apt-get update.
This command resynchronize the package index files from server, so that information about new and updated packages is available.
The current version of Vim in Ubuntu 12.04 repository is 7.3.
sudo apt-get upgrade( which is used to install the newest versions of all packages currently installed on the system from the server) will not upgrade your Vim to it's latest release.
However you can install its latest version (i.e 7.4) by adding the third party ppa.
To install it, open terminal and type
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fcwu-tw/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vim
(I have not tested it,but should work perfectly.)
You can also install the latest version of Vim by compiling it from the source.
For this see this answer
I tried to do a search via: sudo apt-get search vim to see which one
is installed and it doesnt seem to find it
dpkg -s <packagename> to get the status of specified package which also include the version of installed package.
If you are intrested in version only refine your query using
dpkg -s <packagename> | grep 'Version'
dpkg -s vim | grep 'Version'
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS reached its regular End of Life on April 28, 2017. No
more package updates, including security updates, will be accepted to
the 12.04 primary archive.