WE have been waiting for a while to drive this little puppy and got the chance last week in Wolfsburg, Germany, the home of Volkswagen.
They trotted out a cute little red Up five door with the “big” 55kw, 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine.
This was also the first drive by anyone outside Volkswagen of the new five-speed automated manual model – the “auto” for want of a better description.
Up is awhile away, scheduled for a local launch late this year, probably in three and five-door variants with two versions of the 1.0-litre three pot, the 55kw and the 44kw.
Up has been built to cater for a growing call for smaller city cars that offer many of the attributes from larger cars and is expected to cost about $15k.
VW Up is built on a new platform that will be leveraged for quite a few other models in the near future.
In Europe, it is available in several grades starting with the Take Up, rising through Move Up, High Up, Black Up and White Up in ascending equipment order.
The car gets a Euro five-star crash rating (equivalent to four here), with four airbags and stability control as well as high-strength steel chassis components.
The five-door model we drove seats four in relative comfort with adequate rear seat leg and headroom. The boot is a useable size, deep but not very wide.
We couldn’t find a spare in there.
It scores plenty of features including airconditioning, Bluetooth connectivity and on the Bluemotion model, auto stop/start, regenerative electricity harvesting and lowrolling resistance tyres.
Fuel economy is in the low 4.0 litres/100km bracket for both engines and both five-speed transmissions.
Up passes Euro 5 emissions regs and can be optioned with a portable Maps and More satnav system that is networked into the car’s electronics.
This was fitted to the drive car and proved a godsend in the back blocks surrounding Wolfsburg. It even tells you when you are exceeding the speed limit.
Our drive car also had the large blue tinted glass sliding sunroof, daytime running lights, 16-inch alloys and City Emergency Braking that operates up to speeds of 30km/h.
The auto is likely to be a low-cost option but after our drive, we wouldn’t recommend it because it causes the car to lurch with each gear change and rushes to a higher gear to cut fuel use at the expense of driveability. We’d go for the manual every time.
The little warbling 1.0-litre donk has good pick-up and hums along like a beauty on the highway at the speed limit. There’s a bit in reserve if you need it and fuel economy at these speeds is phenomenal – down into the 3.0s.
Ride is surprisingly good for such a small and short car and it has a small turning circle. We rate it a fun car to drive in a range of driving environments.
The interior looks good but doesn’t have ave many soft surfaces faces except for the seats with perforated upholstery in the test car.
It has a decent audio system and plenty of storage options.
We like the painted interior surfaces and the contrast interior colours. It has a cheeky face and pert tail and is a whole lot more functional and better to look at than the Smart for Two for example. It is bigger and less expensive too.
What we want to know is how VW in Australia is going to fit this car in around the Polo, Skoda Fabia and same-under-the-skin Skoda Citygo?