Nee­dle stays up af­ter 100 km

Af­ter a long drive, DAVE FALL gives VW’s new and stylish ‘su­per­mini’ a def­i­nite thumbs up!

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

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.

PRAC­TI­CAL FUN

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.

PHOTOS: QUICK­PIC

The in­te­rior of the VW up! is an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of good in­dus­trial de­sign, with all mod cons pre­sented in min­i­mal­ist style.

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