A couple of weeks ago I wrote about an ‘open drive’ event at my local VW dealer where I had a quick go in a wonderful MK5 Golf GTI but on the same trip I had the opportunity to try something from the other end of the Volkswagen range, the diminutive up! which is available from just £7,995.
The model I drove was the up! Black which starts at £11,300, it had various extras over the lower spec models including the removable ‘infotainment’ system and leather-look seats but given the short test I didn’t have the opportunity to test our many of the gadgets. Sliding in to the the comfortable seats the up! felt immediately familiar with the typical high quality VW feel and clear layout of all the controls. You sit quite high in the car but the amount of space available in the cabin is outstanding, at 6’5″, I often have difficulty fitting in small cars (yes, I do look very stupid in my 106) but didn’t have any such problems in the up!.
After getting comfortable we set off for a brief drive, the first thing that struck me was the amusing off-beat noise from the 1 litre 3 pot, a pleasant surprise to hear a small city car with a nice soundtrack. The car I tested was the more powerful 75ps version and it was certainly eager and brisk but by no means outright fast. I was able to test the up! on a few inner city and suburban roads where it felt right at home with light but precise controls and great visibility. I was particularly keen on the gear change which had a nice slick action and a short throw. The last part of the drive was a a few miles of dual carriageway where the up! was surprisingly competent, it was quickly up to speed and more than happy to cruise along at 70mph, couple this with the spacious and comfortable interior and the up! would be an ideal partner for far more than just running around the city.
After my brief test in the up! I was very impressed, it is certainly a far more complete and accomplished package than the Fox that it replaces and the quality and feel of the car for something ultimately at the lower end of the range is excellent. It may not have the quirky retro feel of the Fiat 500 or be as small as the Smart For Two but it is a genuine four seat small car which will be capable of far more than just running about in the city.