It’s hard to believe that the Volkswagen up! has been with us for over six years. It was an instant hit and was voted World Car of the Year and What Car? Car of the Year in 2012. Fast forward to 2018 and the VW up! has matured; there’s even a GTi and an electric version.
Every model, except the e-up!, is available with 3 or 5 doors. Bearing in mind that the VW up! is likely to spend a lot of time doing chores like the school run, shopping and nipping around town, the extra pair of doors makes everything much more convenient. Okay, it’s no hardship flipping the front seats forward to allow access into the back, but if you are loading two children into child seats, it’s so much easier when you have direct access.
If it’s just going to be you on a commute to work, or a couple who’ll only use the rear seats occasionally, go for the 3-door up! In either case, if you need to take a heap of garden rubbish to the tip, you can drop the rear seats to create a deceptively decent load area.
The Volkswagen up! range starts with the Take up! at £9320. (Add £400 for the 5-door model.) Power comes from a 59bhp 1.0 litre petrol engine. 0-60 takes around 14 seconds and, if you go for the stop - start model, which we’d recommend, you will achieve close to 70mpg. Cost-effective motoring doesn’t come any better.
Oh, and don’t for one minute think that because the up! is Volkswagen’s entry level car, that it will be low on quality and low on specification. Wrong. You get the same sort of quality that you can expect at the top of the range. Even the Take up! comes with electric front windows, remote central locking, tyre pressure monitor, DAB radio, CD player, height adjustment to the driver’s seat and the steering wheel, tinted windows and a host of safety equipment.
If you want additional goodies like air conditioning and really smart alloy wheels, take a look at the Move up! You can even personalise the trim and wheel colours. The engine range stays the same, but you can also opt for an automatic gearbox.
Our favourite is the up! beats (from £10,740). It really stands out thanks to its special badging, chunky 15 inch alloy wheels which are available with either black or red inserts. You get coloured door mirrors with integrated indicators and body coloured door handles. The interior has loads of chrome trim
And you’ll love the super-powerful beats sound system. It’ll knock your socks off.
You’ll also look the additional choice of engines. Along with the 59bhp petrol unit, there are now 74bhp and a turbocharged 89bhp unit available. Amazingly, the 89bhp engine hardly affects your fuel consumption (you’ll still manage around 64mpg), but the 0-60 time drops to a really lively 9.9 seconds, although it feels quicker. The 3-cylinder engine has a wonderful sound to it as well.
The ride is outstanding. Many small cars tend to have a rather choppy ride but the up! absorbs lumps and bumps around town yet remains stable at speed. The power steering is light around town but gains weight when you hit the motorways. Visibility is terrific; it’s perfect for city driving.
As for comfort, you can’t go wrong. The seats are supportive and, as with all of the fitments, feel to be made from top-notch materials.
What about other versions of the VW up!....well…you can have the High up! which, as the name suggests, is highly equipped. It comes with heated front seats, front dog lights, leather multi-function steering wheel and Smartphone integration.
And then there’s the 113bhp up! GTi which reaches 60mph in 8.8 seconds. (We’ll be road testing the GTi in the near future!!! Can’t wait.)
If you want über economy, head for the e up! This is an all-electric up! Just like every other up!, it is well equipped and, thanks to having a powerful 81bhp electric motor, it feels brisk around town with 0-60 taking just over 12 seconds. On a full charge, you should easily manage around 90 miles. On a warm summer day, go easily and you’ll easily beat that figure. Cost for a full charge? At current electricity rates, it’ll probably be under £3. In other words, if you have a daily return commute of around 20 miles, you will get close to a week’s motoring for three quid. We’ll be trying the e-up! in the next few months.
Overall, if refinement and quality is what you are looking for in an economical city car, you can’t go wrong with the Volkswagen up! It’s good to drive, well equipped and will happily cope with city life and a sprint along the motorway. It’s also great fun and, if you go for the GTi or the e-up! you now have the choice of performance or incredible economy.
Best all-rounder? We loved the up! beats.
Want to know more? Visit the Pulman Volkswagen showroom in Sunderland or Durham. We are proud to be the only family-run Volkswagen dealer in the North East! We make sure we work hard to deliver the Pulman fantastic customer experience every time! You can check out our Pulman Promise here.
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