VW up! black       26 | 10 | 2011Scotcars rating

    If you're up for the challenge, VW believes it has the city car for the masses ... keep up!


    What's up? No, what's up! The difference between the question and exclamation marks are what Volkswagen say is that their new small car is a concentrated VW, featuring all the qualities we've come to expect from the German company but in a more compact package. Whatever the creative people's thinking behind the name, what at first seemed a piece of nonsense graduated into a word game amongst motoring writers who were given the first chance to drive the car which will appear in UK showrooms in Spring 2012.

    Try it yourself — adding 'up!' to a common noun, verb or adjective and you'll have endless hours of fun and a few dirty jokes along the way too. A group of us came up with around 130 before a VW PR person came along to put an end to our fun. We'd moved on from the boring "look up" and "stand up" to the more adventurous "giddy up" (for someone involved in horse racing) to my favourite (after some giggling) of "hicc-up" which was ruled inadmissable by the throng.

    The point is, it got us talking and that is surely what's in VW's mind by the choice of name. Believe me, this car is going to become a subject of great discussion and much attention when it arrives here. It is quite simply a wee cracker.   

    On the Road

    VW's strategy is to create a sub-10,000 Euro car for all of Europe and beyond. Prices start in the UK at £7995 for the Take up! rising through Move up! and High up! to the top of the range up! black and up! white at just over £11,000. Interestingly these versions are called white up! and black up! in Germany but clearly the latter wasn't considered appropriate for the UK and the words were transposed. 

    VW faced a challenge. The average European person has grown by 3.5cms in the last 30 years, so the problem was to fit larger people into a smaller car because as VW's advertising campaign for the new car will say, the future is small. In fact the up! is a very big deal for VW to the extent that their massive marketing campaign using every form of advertising and social networks is expected to reach 99.5% of the European adult population. Buyers are expected to be at either end of the market: young 20s or 30s who don't have a lot of spare cash, and silver 50+ who're also being careful with their money but still want quality.

    VW have come up with impressive packages. In the launch market in Germany they're offering the complete car with insurance, service and finance for only 95 Euros a month and a similar deal is bound to be replicated in the UK. The aim is to make it easy and affordable yet offer a lot of car for the money.

    VW took us to the suicidal streets of Rome at rush hour to introduce us to the car and it was more than a match for anything else on the road. Performance is good both in and out of the city streets and while it certainly couldn't be described as quick, the three cylinder engine certainly pumps out the power, especially in the larger 75PS version. Build quality is as you'd expect from VW and far higher than anything else I've seen in this segment.    

    Safety and Comfort

    It is a very clever design with short overhangs at front and rear with a wheel in each corner to make maximum use of available interior space. It is in fact 8mms higher than a Passat and has an amazing amount of space inside, especially in the back. The proportionately big wheels and openings make it appear larger than it actually is and clever design touches which create a 3D effect on the side, continue to deceive the eyes. At the front, the designers have created a clear face with two big headlamps on either side of the VW badged nose and a wide highlighted mouth which incorporates air intakes.

    The entire opening rear panel is made of glass. The up! black version test car came with the excellent Maps and More touch screen navigation system which is detachable, and for another £750 there's a safety pack of rear parking sensors, cruise control and the very impressive city emergency braking which uses a windscreen mounted laser to intervene and apply the brakes at speeds up to 18mph if it detects something stationary ahead and the driver is not taking action.

    The up! is built in VW's factory at Bratislava in Slovakia and 5-door versions are expected later in 2012.  

    Should I buy One?

    Yes I would …oh do keep up!

    Watch our video of the all-new VW up! in Rome

    Watch our video of the interior of the VW up!

    Watch our video of the all-new VW up! in the Italian countryside

    Keep up-to-date with all the latest news by following us on twitter.com/scotcars

    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £11,180 / £11,930
    Engine / Power: 999cc three cylinder / 75PS
    How fast?: 0-62mph 13.2secs / 106mph
    How big/heavy?: L3540mm / W1910mm / H1478mm
    How thirsty/CO2?: 60.1mpg Combined / 108 g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: na / B £20
    Alternatives: Nissan Micra; Kia Picanto; Ford Ka; Suzuki Splash; Peugeot 107

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