Recently though, Volkswagen took advantage of a busy year-end to launch the diesel version of its superb Passat, while also allowing the motoring media to have a go in the refreshed up! city car.
The little up! in my opinion at least, is a great little car, but the problem was that when VW launched it at the beginning of 2015, it was a two-door model which drastically reduced its appeal amongst those who wanted a small yet practical vehicle. Later in 2015, a four-door up! was revealed along with a crossover version which seemed to bolster sales, resulting in around 4 800 models occupying local roads.
Up in your grille
VW has facelifted this micro-model which now has new headlights complete with daytime running LEDs, a reshaped bumper and bonnet, new wheel options, side mirrors with integrated indicators like its Polo sibling as well as redesigned rear lights and rear diffuser.
Inside, the changes include printed dashboard styling panels, optional ambient lighting and leather clad multi-function steering wheel and gear knob for the more expensive models in the range.
The same three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine with 55kW/95Nm is retained for all models. Up at altitude, if you’ll excuse the pun, the little car does struggle a bit, however the fuel returns are commendable with the claimed figure of 4.6 litres/100km being relatively easy to achieve.
There are four equipment levels for the up!, namely the Take up!, Move up! up! beats and Cross up!. The base model comes with wheel covers on its 14-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning and tyre pressure sensors while the more well-specified models have 15-inch or even 16-inch alloy wheels as options.
All of these models come standard with ABS and four airbags and Electronic Stability Control which allowed the little car to achieve a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
Another change made to the range is in the infotainment department where even base models get a 3.1-inch ‘Composition’ display with Radio/CD, SD Card and AUX-in. The more expensive Move up! gets the ‘Composition Phone’ system which is a five-inch colour display with radio, USB, SD Card, AUX-in and Bluetooth.
The up! beats edition, which will debut in early 2017, benefits from a BeatsAudio sound system which comprises of a 300-watt sound system that includes amplifier, six speakers and a subwoofer along with compatibility for an application called ‘Maps + More’ which turns your phone into the infotainment hub.
Passat burning the midnight oil
The motoring media has been impressed with the new Passat, naming it as a finalist in the Car of the Year competition for 2017 so the addition of a diesel derivative can only make the range stronger.
The 2.0-litre turbodiesel now fitted to the Passat is an all-new powerplant which develops 130kW/ 350Nm and is mated to a six-speed DSG gearbox. This is certainly my new pick within the range, it simply suits the Passat so well, there’s ample torque for overtaking and enough power to keep owners satisfied while the 5.0 litres/100km fuel consumption claim means less time spent at the pumps.
Passat model range revised
In an attempt to simplify the Passat range, VW has condensed the options available on these models while making some standard. There are now two trim levels, Luxury and Executive.
The Luxury gets LED headlights, tri-zone Climatronic air conditioner and heated Vienna Leather seats. The top-of-the-range Executive has App Connect, Nappa leather seats as well as cornering LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and the R-Line Styling Package that adds a new front grille, side skirt and 18-inch alloy wheels.
In terms of optional features, there are now packages available such as; The Tow Package (towbar, trailer assist and park assist); Safety Package (Adaptive Cruise Control and Head-up display); Park Package (Keyless access, automatic boot, rear view camera and park assist); Park Package with Area View (Area view, keyless access, automatic boot and park assist); Luxury Package (Electric front seats, electric folding mirrors, DynAudio sound system, ambience lighting and 230V socket) and R-Line Styling Package (Luxury models).
Warranty and Service
The Passat model range comes standard with a three-year/ 120 000 km manufacturer warranty and five-year/100 000 km Automotion Maintenance Plan. The up! range comes standard with a three-year/ 120 000 km manufacturer warranty.
Take up! - R164 700
Move up! - R178 300
up! beats - R194 700
Cross up! - R194 700
1.4 TSI Luxury DSG - R468 200
2.0 TSI Executive DSG - R522 400
2.0 TDI Luxury DSG - R493 900
2.0 TDI Executive DSG - R522 400