Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 4 October 2015

Up! Up! and away! Volkswagen's city car gem

By Roger St Pierre

Published 20/09/2012

It used to be that if you wanted more luxury and refinement then you opted for a bigger car.

Things have changed dramatically in recent times and a trickle-down effect has been gathering pace as small cars offer more and more gizmos, from reversing cameras to cruise control.

So don’t let the modest demeanour of the compact little Volkswagen up! fool you, for here’s a small car with a very big heart.

Though clearly designed foremost as a city car, it’s no slouch out on the open road or cruising the motorways.

This neat vehicle matches quality, affordable innovation and attention to detail and a purity of design to maximum space on a minimal footprint.

Both three and five-door versions are now available, with an electric version due to launch next year.

Un upright stance, wheels firmly planted out at the four corners, ample head, shoulder and legroom for four adults, sensibly sized cubbyholes, a generous 251litre boot – expanding to 951-litres with the rear seats folded down – and an outstandingly small turning circle are all features of the clever more space for less concept.

Take Up!, Move Up! and High Up! trims are available plus two special editions – including the super smart looking all-black version I drove for an enjoyable week of extremely mixed motoring, taking me solo to City meetings, blasting down the motorway with a friend and on a family weekend in the country.

Two different new generation three-cylinder one-litre powerplants are on offer. Combined consumption for the super-efficient 60PS BlueMotion Technology engine in my car is an impressively low 69-mpg, with emissions of just 95-g/km – yet 100-mph plus performance is on tap.

Safety features include ABS, four airbags and a standard city emergency braking system that helps avoid shunting the vehicle ahead in slow moving traffic.

The easily removable ‘Maps and More’ personal infotainment device provides not only satellite navigation, telephone and music on the move but a wide range of vehicle and other information. It’s a fully portable system that can be used in-car or away from the vehicle,

Currently one-in-ten of all new cars sold in the UK are in this sector, which explains why VW’s sisterc companies, Skoda and Seat also have contenders in what is likely soon to be the fastest growing market segment.

Up! prices range from a modest £7,995 to £11,670.

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