The Volkswagen up! is an incredibly capable car but since launch there has been one problem that may have put some potential buyers off. With only three doors the up! was great if you were on your own a lot but not so great if you had passengers clambering in and out of the back all the time. Volkswagen have come up with a simple solution – stick on two extra doors!
The result is an even more flexible layout with no drawbacks other than an additional £365 on the list price. That seems a price worth paying for the extra convenience that those two doors offer. Some may prefer the side profile of the three-door version with its larger front doors but other than that the two models remain the same.
Climb in through those rear doors and you’re greeted by a pair of seats that are comfortable and offer a sensible amount of leg room. All but the tallest of passengers should be able to make themselves comfortable in the back. The boot space remains the same too.
The other new feature on the up! is the addition of Volkswagen’s fuel-saving Bluemotion technology. With automatic start/stop and brake energy recuperation the 75PS 1.0-litre engine sees its emissions cut from 108g/km to 98g/km, qualifying the up! for a free tax disc. Fuel economy goes up from an already impressive 60.1mpg to 67.3mpg, making the up! even cheaper to run. The cost of the Bluemotion package on the High up! is £360, so you may need to do some maths to see how long it will take to recoup that money on fuel and tax savings*.
The High is the range-topping up! and comes with a generous specification. Air-con, electric front windows, electric and heated mirrors, fog lights, MP3 compatible stereo with aux-in, and the removable infotainment system with 5-inch touchscreen. Even the front seats are heated, a feature usually reserved as an option on expensive leather upholstery.
The up! has a huge amount of choices for the interior colour scheme, most of which are non-cost options. The grey and red ‘polka’ cloth with red painted dashboard of this up! made it a cheerful place to sit, very bright and airy (although I wouldn’t want to let my kids loose on that pale upholstery – it wouldn’t stay that colour for long). The fit and finish are to a very high standard and far exceed rivals from other manufacturers (excluding the Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii that share so much with the up!).
The Bluemotion technology doesn’t affect the lively feel to the 3-cylinder engine which thrums away with the same eagerness. The only time you notice Bluemotion at work is when you stop and the engine cuts out, but as soon as you put the car back in gear the engine bursts into life and you’re off again. It’s an ideal system for drivers who spend a lot of time sat waiting at traffic lights.
The standard suspension on the up! is a little on the soft side and enthusiastic driving will reveal a fair amount of body roll and understeer, but the flip side is that the up! has a wonderfully supple ride and excellent damping. They’re a couple of the qualities of the up! that makes it stand out and feel like a bigger car, avoiding the crashy feel of some of its rivals.
As hard as it is to believe the Volkswagen up! is even better than before. The five-door model is more practical and with Bluemotion technology it is even more economical. Even at an asking price of £10,880 for this High-spec model the up! still represents great value for money.
Volkswagen High up! Bluemotion Specification
|Top Speed:||106 mph|
|CO2 Emissions:||98g/km (Band A)|
*Prices taken from Volkswagen website, October 2012