Needle stays up after 100 km
After a long drive, DAVE FALL gives VW’s new and stylish ‘supermini’ a definite thumbs up!
WHAT struck me most about the VW up! during a launch drive was the down-to-earth ticket price for the little hatch.
The starting price was R133 500, and this buys you ingenuity, charisma and bags of safety features.
Under the bonnet is a lively 999cc 12-valve motor that develops 55 kW/95 Nm and drives a five-speed gearbox whose ratios, I found on a test drive, “hit the spot” almost perfectly, allowing this diminutive motor to buzz along nicely at 3 500 rpm at the national speed limit.
TWO DOORS ENOUGH?
My average fuel consumption figures of 5,1 litres/100 km (two adults and small suitcases) over a 140 km test route weren’t that far removed from the suggested factory figures.
Handling proved excellent whether on major or minor roads, with the ride always comfortable and composed.
Provided you can manage with a two-door car (no four-door versions as yet as pricing presumably too close to the VW Vivo offerings), the well-kitted up! represents all the very latest design/build quality cues from VW Europe — from top to bottom — and that’s a good thing.
But where the Vivo is functional, comfortable and dare I say a little dull, the Up! manages to be just as functional and userfriendly, but with a touch of real character.
The interior is spacious and the seats are comfortable with plenty of back support.
The soft-moulded facia is broad and well laid-out, flowing beautifully into the detailing of the inner doors.
All controls are easy to reach and the instruments are functional and attractive, and although there’s plenty of plastic, it does seem to be of a good quality.
Cup holders and a generous “glove compartment” (amazing how that term hangs in there although I’ve never seen anybody put a pair of gloves in one) mean you don’t have to fiddle around looking for a place to put things out of sight when parking up! (if you’ll excuse the pun).
For right-hand-drive markets such as that of South Africa, the car is sourced from Slovakia in Europe and is well-specced with aircon, power-assisted steering and power windows standard.
The extensive options’ list includes a sunroof (R8 000) and even a winter pack for R3 500 that includes fog lights, heatable seats and warmed-up exterior mirrors. Corny as that package may sound, it is not such a bad idea come winter here in SA and particularly on the highveld.
It’s undoubtedly a practical runabout, but that’s not to say you couldn’t drive further afield should the need arise. The up! will find lots of buyers young and old, but is arguably more suited to youngsters/students needing safe and reliable transport to and from, say, university.
To sum up, factor in a five-star Ncap rating and the up! is a “nobrainer”. If you can live with a two-door car then the up! might well do it for you.
The launch price has since increased, of course, but the consumption has not. Wheels editor Alwyn Viljoen, who drives like a miser when he has to pay his own fuel bills, tells how he had trouble explaining to the Europe Car rental man that he had not filled up the tank after driving from King Shake Airport to Oribi This despite the fuel needle not having moved after the 100 km journey.
Each up! model comes with a three-year or 120 000 km warranty and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service intervals are 15 000 km. — Wheels24.
The interior of the VW up! is an excellent example of good industrial design, with all mod cons presented in minimalist style.