Chris Miller road tests and reviews the 2013 Volkswagen Up!
Volkswagen are on a winner with the impressive Volkswagen up!, the little car that’s refined, fun, and punching well above its weight.
The first thing you notice is how compact the Volkswagen up! is, and once Behind The Wheel (pardon the pun), parallels to the original Mini are hard not to draw.
Like the original Mini, the Volkswagen up! redefines what a small car should be. The space inside is unexpected, the ride is amazingly smooth and compliant, noise levels are surprising in their absence and the active safety technology is unmatched by anything in its class.
The rorty little 1.0 litre three cylinder turbo sounds great, and while only producing 55kw and 95Nm, it’s more than sufficient, although it does need lots of revs to be at its best.
Hooked up to a light shifting 5-speed gearbox, the Volkswagen up! is great fun to drive, although the lack of an automatic option will hamper sales.
As you’d expect, fuel consumption is brilliant. On some trips is was not uncommon to be returning 3.8 litres per 100km, and with a mix of over 800km’s of spirited city & country driving, my average consumption was around 5.3 litres per 100km.
The interior is simple but classy, with piano black finishes on the dash, fabric seats which are supportive & comfortable, and everything you need and expect in a modern car, without the unnecessary trinkets.
The Volkswagen up! we tested was the $14,990 five door model with the $500 optional Maps + More Portable Infotainment Device, a 5” touch screen colour display with Navigation, media player, Bluetooth and vehicle information that incorporates a very detailed trip computer.
The lack of cruise control was the only thing I was left wanting for, but it can be optioned with the Comfort Drive package, costing $600, which also includes parking sensors and a multi-function display with temperature, trip computer & fuel consumption.
For a further $2500 you can choose the Comfort Style Package which includes 15 inch Alloy Wheels, Leatherette heated seats, Front fog lights, leather trimmed steering wheel, handbrake lever and gearshift knob & floor mats.
The Volkswagen up! has a brilliant driving position and for such a small car, the interior space is fantastic; plenty of head, leg & shoulder room in the front, while the back is a nice place to be unless you are giant.
Rear leg room is a little restricted with front seat pushed all the way back, but only someone in excess of 7ft would require the seat in that position, meaning even rear adult passengers can travel comfortably
The rear seats will lay flat revealing a large cargo area, and there is even a storage compartment between the rear floor area & the full size spare wheel for even more flexibility.
On the safety front, the Volkswagen up! sets new standards for the class, complete with a 5-star ANCAP rating and offering a full suite of features including driver and front passenger side/head air-bags, traction & stability control, and the much lauded “City Emergency Braking”, a laser-based emergency braking system which will bring the Volkswagen up! to a complete stop to avoid a collision at speeds from 5 to 30 km/h.
The lack of an automatic transmission and the fact you could end up spending $20,490 (before on roads) for a fully optioned Volkswagen up! will be the two things that could keep Volkswagen up! from becoming one of the best selling cars in the country.
The Volkswagen up! redefines the sub-light car class and is, at this stage of the game, impossible to top with unparalleled refinement, economy, safety and a real sense of fun.
NUTS AND BOLTS
Engine: 1.0 litre turbo petrol producing 55kW and 95Nm
Transmission: 5-speed manual only
Safety: Five stars
Warranty: 3 years
Price: From $13,990