In the current economic climate, all car manufacturers are trying to improve the fuel economy & lower emissions of their cars, as both the cost of fuel & road tax is ever increasing. Small cars have traditionally been good in both these areas, but have never really been ‘grown up’ to drive. Volkswagens new super mini the up, is a new city car launched earlier this year, which aims to offer the fun & frugalness of a super mini, with the practicality & motorway appeal, of a larger car.
Available as a 3 door hatchback, the up comes in 3 trim levels, Take up. Move up & High up, plus a couple of special editions the up! black & up ! white. With prices starting at just £7995 on the road for the Take up !, it is a very attractive proposition for young drivers & city dwellers, but I wanted to see if such a small car could be practical enough to replace a larger family company car thereby saving the user chooser some money.
I tested a Move up ! at £8970 on the road, still good value for money. My first impression was that to look at, the up! isn’t too dissimilar to look at than the old VW Lupo & Seat Arosa. Inside however, it becomes abundantly clear that things in the super mini sector have moved on from these, as the up ! has a quality dash & equipment, which is laid out like a typical Volkswagen which is no bad thing. The main extra, costing £275 on my test car, was Maps & Information, a dashboard attached infotainment device featuring Bluetooth, media streaming & hands free telephone connectivity. This was brilliant & well worth the extra investment as it immediately lifts the up ! as a business proposition, allowing the driver to keep in touch with the office at al times. The dials are clear, with the air con & radio controls located high on the dash for easy access.
Goodies include ABS, HBA, ESP, EDL & ASR traction control. Front airbags, including combined side head & thorax airbag system, air con, drivers seat height adjustment, remote central locking, a height adjustable steering wheel, Radio/MPS/Cd, spilt folding rear sets, a variable boot floor & electric windows.
The front passenger space is also excellent & although the 5 door version isn’t here in the UK yet & access to the rear is by lifting the front seats, the rear passengers space which is only for two, is good with plenty of legroom. With a boot size of 251 litres, increasing to 951 litres with the rear seats folded down, the carrying space in the up ! took all 7 of my supermarket bags no problem at all. I was concerned about the rear set access as my 80 year old mother ( sorry mum ) had to get in the back for a trip to the Lady Lever Art Gallery, but once tackled it was no problem, meaning no problem for pretty much any able bodied passengers.
Alone & whizzing around Manchester the 59 bhp engine works well & the drive & handling are surprisingly smooth. With a 0 – 62 mph time of 14.4 seconds it’s not fast, but in the city you can’t drive quickly anyway. It was on the motorway however, where the up ! was best, easily hitting 80 mph with 3 adults in it & cruising quietly at 70 mph for over 70 miles, meaning that we were relaxed after our journey, which couldn’t be said for a journey in an Aygo, 106 or C1 !
The claimed combined fuel economy is 62.8 mpg & as ever I managed around 49 mpg in my 7 days in the up ! most of which was spent in town. Co2 emissions were also impressive, at just 105 g/km.
Overall, the up ! is a refined, quality VW package. Cute to look at, fun to drive & very practical, I think VW have cracked it with this super mini, which is much more enjoyable than driving a Golf or Passat & may perhaps hurt Polo sales if you only need a four seater. If you are downsizing, don’t be put off by size of the up! It’s really rather grown UP !