Volkswagen’s new supermini (the up!) comes with a lot of exclamation marks. Truly the car of the texting generation, my loan car had Black! written on the side, in case I was unsure (oh, alright, I’m cheating-minus the exclamation mark). But, with up! as the starting point, there is a tendency to see everything in terms of slightly hysterical pronouncements.
My up! was both big and clever and beautiful (on the inside) with lots of cabin and storage space, gorgeous faux-leather seats and fantastic all-round visibility. In fact, the type of view I should imagine you have from the driving seat of a cross between an ice-cream van and a London cab. It’s a punchy little car too - I certainly wasn’t going to be selling any ice-creams going at the speed the up! could take me. Cornering was a dream too: with its’ wide wheelbase the up! feels incredibly stable and solid, with great suspension. Rear seat space was also fantastic: a small car that really does carry four people in comfort.
VW has announced that the up! has been voted 2012 World Car of the Year, from a pool of 34 cars by a panel of 62 of the top automotive journalists from around the globe (I counted 3 women amongst them!) based on merit, value, safety, environmental impact, significance, and emotional appeal...........and they do have a point - it’s a gorgeous little car to drive, although with its boxy shape, it’s lacking a little in aesthetic appeal from the outside.
An identity crisis? Who? Me? Or the Car?
I pride myself on being able to identify most cars at 50 paces but I was having real problems trying to spot like-minded drivers in their ups! (has anyone thought of a plural for up!?). You’re not going to get any rushes of comradely mutual appreciation in the up! But an upgraded GT version of the up! is to be launched onto the UK market in 2013, which will inevitably set it a class apart from the herd.
Inevitably it isn’t all plain sailing so for the benefit of the VW Boffins, here are some picky bits. The doors were clunky and not easy to close. On nearly every occasion I had to return to re-shut my driver’s door - I wouldn’t have appreciated this much with a screaming infant in tow. But is this car being marketed at us gals? Um...there was no vanity mirror on the driver’s side (thought that habit had died a sexist death) and no dual controls for the front windows. Here are some pointers for car designers on the desirability of front window dual controls:
Sometimes a gal driver likes to open the passenger window.
up! (Yours!) from : £7995for 3 door and around £8375 for 5 door version
What we drove was the:
up! black 1.0-litre 75 PS 5spd manual Basic ‘on the road’ recommended retail price* £11,305.00
Engine capacity (litres/cc - 1.0/999 (3 cylinders, 12 valves)
Top speed (mph) - 106
0-62 mph (seconds) - 13.2
Fuel economy (mpg) - Urban - 47.9; Extra-urban - 70.6; Combined - 60.1
CO2 emissions (g/km) - 108
Insurance group (1-50) - 2E
Warranty - 3 years/60,000 miles; 3 years paint; 12 years body protection
Breakdown assistance - 1 year Volkswagon Assistence (UK & Europe)
Fiat Panda, Hyundai i10, Toyota Aygo. Seat Mii, Skoda Citigo
I’d like a red one with cream seats (otherwise known as a strawberry split)...but it looks like we’re limited to black or white so more colours please VW!!!!