But Volkswagen has managed to exceed expectations. Leading the way in the city car class is the up! It has picked up awards galore and is one of the most popular models around. Here are our seven reasons why it is up there with the best cars on the road…
The brand-new design of the up! is simple yet classy – it’s very appealing. Although it is simple, it still boasts plenty of charm, with swept-back headlights and a large front bumper that gives it a sporty edge. If only all things that were simple were this attractive…
The smallest of the Volkswagen family is capable of 70-plus mpg. Its lightweight frame and refined 1.0 litre engines all offer excellent economy, but it is the BlueMotion Tech engine that steals the show with the best economy statistics.
And... stop press, we hear a hybrid motor could also be on the way. Now that would be good – it would suit the up! perfectly and make it potentially the best hybrid on sale.
You know Dr Who’s Tardis is bigger on the inside than the outside? Well… although the up! is a city car, there’s plenty of space in the front seats because of the design of its simple and uncluttered cabin. There is also enough space in the back for two adults – and that looks impossible when you look at the car from the outside.
When you look at the up! it is difficult to see how the VW boffins have managed to get 951 litres of luggage space with the seats folded down. Even with the seats up, there is still an impressive 251 litres of space, and the variable load floor means there is plenty of room... even if you have a very large dog.
By the way, do you know how they calculate the litres capacity? It’s someone’s job to fit in as many plastic blocks (each about the size of a house brick, which is a ‘litre’) in the back of the car when it is in its early production stage. The blocks can’t be mangled, cut, twisted or anything – they have to fit in their entirety. So someone fitted 951 in the back on the up! when the seats were folded down. Now there’s something even the QI elves didn’t know…
Behind the wheel￼
How well the up! drives is a real selling point. It’s so smooth that potholes and uneven surfaces the council hasn’t got round to fixing won’t be a problem, and the light, direct steering means it handles superbly. It’s fun, fun, fun to drive.
The seat options are so flexible we challenge anyone to snuggle behind the wheel and not feel comfy. And look at the inside of this car –the dashboard matches the seats, and it looks… well, fantastic. And if you’re picky about your colours, there are 17 interior options. Release the interior designer in you and have some fun…
The entry-level up! is £8,870. Want the top-end model with all the gadgets and gizmos? That’s £13,580 – so you get a lot of car for your money. No wonder the up! is … err… on the up!!