Densely populated cities are requiring different types of private transport to negotiate them effectively. That has led to the rise of a new motoring segment known as city cars; Toyota were the first to jump in with the IQ, but now it has grown to encompass cars from all the budget manufacturers. However, Volkswagen is now in the class and predictably it has waited long enough for its rivals to show up their faults and has come in late with a class-leading option of their own. The VW Up is what they named it and here’s why it has suddenly sprung the city car segment into a new dawn and smashed the aspirations of its rivals:
VW rarely stray far from the leash when it comes to styling, so you knew it would be acceptable to most normal tastes. To be honest it looks like a piece of Lego and as most adults still enjoy the kids’ toys then it’s not so bad. It follows the city car blueprint in terms of looks with a neat squashed front and boxy rear, but it does exude VW quality over the more plastic-looking budget options. There is plenty of glass in the rear, so the visibility is good, which is important when parking and moving around crowded city streets everyday.
It’s also to the usual VW high standards inside the cabin with nice-touch plastics in most interiors and a nice dose of colour on the dash, which matches the outside paintwork. Practicality is deeply impressive too with space to fit two strapping gents in the front and more than enough head and leg room for passengers in the back. The spacious and upmarket ambience won’t be beaten in the class.
Ride and handling
City cars must be easy to manoeuvre for parking and nipping in and out of traffic in rush hour. The comfortable ride is on a par with a much bigger car, which is the key to VW’s aim of turning the car into its biggest seller. Whereas the handling is light and enjoyable; while the grip is VW-like to make driving long or short distances refined, fun and stable.
Performance and economy
Perky power off-the-line is another prerequisite of an urban-dwelling car as is a frugal economy. The VW Up! delivers enough power to make inner-city driving fun, but won’t blow you away. More importantly though its’ three-cylinder engines are easy on petrol; whereas the tax will be free; the insurance cheap and repairs cost-effective, which makes a VW Up at Motorpoint a great value proposition.
City motoring is made to look like child’s play by the VW Up and you won’t find it disappointing in any way.