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Volkswagen Up GTI 3dr
999cc, 3cyl, FWD, 113bhp, 148lb ft
Claimed MPG:
58.9mpg, 110g/km CO2
0–62mph in 8.8secs, 122mph
£14,055/£16,330 as tested

My colleague Stevie Dobie isn’t a fan of the mighty Up. Which is a shame, because I quite liked the man. He claims, among other things, that it “doesn’t have enough suspension”. And much as I want to laugh in his face before explaining just how wrong he is, after the Up’s first (and hopefully only) unscheduled trip back to the VW mothership, I admit he may have a point…

Not 10 miles into my commute one morning, I was travelling at around 50mph on what is a fairly fast, major A-road when I struck a dislodged manhole cover, ruining two tyres and the rims to which they were fitted. Imagine driving up a six-inch kerb – only the kerb has a sharp lip and is made of very solid iron – and you get the idea. It was not a pleasant experience, that’s for sure.

I pull in to a convenient garage 100 yards or so down the road to find four other cars that had all suffered a similar fate. We call the police and Highways Agency – if a biker had hit it they’d have come off, no doubt – but before either arrives to redirect the traffic and mend the road, another 11 cars come unstuck. So now there are 16 cars in this forecourt, one or two damaged wheels apiece, all waiting for recovery.

And when the police force does arrive, they tell the assembled, windswept mob the worsening condition of the manhole was first reported to them two weeks previously.

I guess the Up’s wheels might have survived – if not the tyres – if it had a bit more “suspension”, in Stevie’s words. A bit more tyre, too. Either way, it’s a £690 bill to get the Up going again. BT – who we’re informed is the party responsible – should brace itself for a wave of damage claims from angry motorists. One couple even had to cancel their holiday, after their E-Class Coupe was immobilised.

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