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The Top Gear car review:Volkswagen Up
For:Quirky good looks, build quality, honest three-cylinder engine
Against:Seat and Skoda are doing the same for less
1.0 BlueMotion Tech Move Up 3dr
It’s the only two-pedal Up, and it must be avoided. Learn to drive stick
The Up is a clean, fresh design, a new take on the city car that’s typically VW, and has been honed and perfected over a long period of time.
What we say:
This is the one they all need to watch out for. VW has finally got serious about the city car
What is it?
The Up is VW’s smallest new car and an altogether more serious stab at building a proper city car that we’ll actually want to buy. Volkswagen has taken its creation very seriously, and, remarkably, intends this to be its biggest-selling model globally. They’ll sell more of these than the Golf.
But rather than making the Up a scaled-down version of its larger cars – as it has done in the past – the Up takes a much more intelligent approach. It’s this that’s key to its appeal, and is the reason why you may even choose one over a Volkswagen Polo.
The Up offers a choice of two petrol options, either 60bhp or 75bhp versions of the same 1.0-litre three-cylinder motor. Whichever level you go for, the engine delivers a throaty and likeable rasp, somewhat at odds with its sensible personality, and performs well in its natural habitat. The five-speed manual gearbox is fine too, with a positive action: much better than the optional (and very jerky) automated manual. New for 2014 is an all-electric Up, which has proven to be everything we’d hoped for - all the familiar Up sophistication with the added response, refinement and, er… limited range of an EV.
The Up is a city car, so it has to be easy to drive, and Volkswagen has given its new baby light steering and controls. The ride is good too, and, unlike most other cars in the class, it’s more than capable of tackling a long motorway stint. Refinement and stability are both class leading.
On the inside
The Up has quite a simple cabin, with a dashboard that matches the exterior colour of the car. The plastics are good in the areas where your eyes and hands spend the most time, while the cabin is generously proportioned: even six-footers will be comfortable up front, and, thanks to some clever packaging in the rear, the two back seat passengers won’t grumble too much, either. The five-door adds to the practicality, but the side design doesn’t look as modern, even though this revised look improved visibility. Being a VW, it’s all you would hope in terms of quality and an upmarket ambience, plus we also really like the optional Maps+More satnav system that clips into the dashboard.
Running costs will be very cheap in the VW Up. CO2 emissions dip below 100g/km on Bluemotion Tech models, which makes for free road tax, while fuel economy on all versions is parsimonious. Insurance and servicing are equally cheap… in contrast to the list price for that new e-Up EV. It’s over £19,000, and that’s after the Government grant is taken off! Wow…