There’s something very refreshing about seeing a new budget car entering the marketplace. These types of cars are just so honest and provide the consumer with the basics of personal mobility. To add fuel to the obligatory fire, this particular budget offering is from Volkswagen - the king of everyday cars, with the likes of the Mk1 Golf, the Beetle and more recently the Vivo under its belt. Its latest offering is called the Up and it’s officially on our shores after years of waiting.
Well… it’s a small car that’s due to compete in the A00 segment, which for us regular humans, means it will take on the likes of the Kia Picanto, Honda Brio and Hyundai i10. That means the new model is positioned below the Vivo in terms of price and segment.
City car dimensions
When you take into consideration the dimensions of the Up you’ll notice why it is below the Vivo. At 3 540mm long, 1 641mm wide and 1 489mm high, the Up is certainly compact and is only available as a three-door model.
Space inside is decent with enough room for four adults although this is certainly no grand tourer, but city trips are certainly on the cards with four-up - if you’ll pardon the pun. Boot space is pretty good too, with 251 litres, which increases to 951 litres with the seats down.
One litre Up in here
The Up is powered by a 55kW/95Nm 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, which felt surprisingly spritely. Although I drove the car at the coast, I fear it may feel underpowered up here at the reef. For those who care, the Up can sprint to 100km/h in 13.2 seconds and can go on to a top speed of 171km/h.
The gearbox is good though, with long ratios that mean its five speeds feel ample. VW claim a fuel consumption figure of 4.7 litres/100km, which I can believe as I achieved a figure of 5.0 litres/100kms during my test drive.
VW were very happy to point out that the little Up appears to be smiling thanks to its characterful front lights and up-curved bumper (I’ll stop now). From the side, you’ll notice the car’s compact dimensions while those wheel arches make the wheels seem larger than they actually are. From the rear, the Up is dominated by a large black glass boot lid, which extends down to the bumper while the rear lights are large and uniquely designed. Overall, the Up looks great and should appeal to conservative buyers as well as the more outgoing car buyers out there.
As I have previously mentioned, safety has become a massive deal in the budget car segment with consumers paying more attention to what kind of protection each car offers. The little Up comes with ABS brakes, four airbags and a passenger safety cell.
The cabin of the Up can be described as airy. From the broad dashboard design to the use of dark and light coloured plastics throughout the cabin, the inside of the little car feels decidedly bigger than you’d think. The seats are good too and are modular to make it easier for taller folk to fit in. The ergonomics are good too with all the controls for the air-conditioning system, radio/CD and hazard lights located high up (sorry I did it again!) in the central dashboard unit.
The Up is available in two trim levels namely, the Take Up and the Move Up. The more basic Take Up does without a radio but retains all the aforementioned safety items. It also features Isofix child anchors, air-conditioning, daytime running lights and 14-inch steel wheels.
The top-of-the range Move Up adds body-coloured door mirrors and handles, chrome inner door handles, front electric windows, electric and heated door mirrors, remote central locking, a radio/CD with MP3 and two speakers
I am a huge fan of this little car and I believe that VW will find a new market for its products. It must be said though, some of the options push the car’s price closer to R160 000. Take the 15-inch Waffle alloy wheels, the sound "Plus" package with four speakers and the driver package, which includes cruise control, rear park distance control and multi-function display and you’re almost there.
Warranty and Service
The little VW comes with a three-year/120 000km manufacturer’s warranty, while a service plan is an optional extra.