VOLKSWAGEN has entered the competitive city car segment with the Up that starts at £7,995 and which has a dream name for the company marketing team and for newspaper and magazine headline writers writes Bryan Longworth.
Apparently there is no significance in the unusual name of the car which apparently means the same in Germany as in the UK and the car is available in three versions - Take Up, Move Up and High Up which may be a tad confusing for some potential customers.
The Up which is built in Slovakia is powered by a one litre three cylinder petrol engine that is available with two power outputs of 60bhp and 75bhp both of which provide extremely competitive motoring.
It has a five speed manual gearbox, a 251-litre boot and is currently available as a three door but a five door follows later this year as does automatic transmission.
VW say that the Up has come on the market at just the right time for almost no other vehicle sector is set to grow as much as the small city class which includes the trio of competitors from Toyota, Citroen and Peugeot.
The Up is available as an option with a very useful piece of kit known as the City Emergency Braking system which operates at speeds under 19mph and detects the risk of an impending collision and can reduce accident severity by initiating automatic braking.
Up has rather cute styling and is quite obviously a member of the Volkswagen family at the front and inside it has user friendly instruments and controls.
The Up I tested on the Press launch was the Move Up costing £8,970 which had the lower power rating of 60bhp giving it a top speed of 99mph, a zero to 62mph time of 14.4 seconds, a combined fuel consumption of 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 105g/kmh.
For the test drive on attractive country roads around Henley-on-Thames the small VW had a full load of four adults on board which was a true test of its pulling power and the two average sized rear passengers did not complain of being cramped.
Considering its size the rear passengers also managed to get into and out of the car quite easily although I would prefer a five door if I was going to buy one which will provide easier access to the back seats for passengers and shopping.
Despite the weight the Up managed to pull quite well although on steeper hills I had to make good use of the gear shift which provided quite smooth and positive changes and the road comfort level and handling were also impressive.
With VW’s record for quality and reliability the Up will be a good seller in this sector and I should imagine that the model I drove which had air con and electric windows will be one of the most popular models.
My Verdict: Up sales are surely destined for one direction - upwards!