UP

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

THE RANGE

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.

EQUIP­MENT

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.

THE DRIVE

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.

IN­SIDE

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?

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