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26.10.2011 Volkswagen Up! BlueMotion review

Volkswagen Up! BlueMotion review

A great looking and well built car for both the city and further afield. Very refined to drive but steep inclines take their toll on the 59 bhp version, so if you live near hills or carry people, go for the 74 bhp version. The cabin is very classy for the price and some good option packs as well as emergency brake system for when the driver in front stops suddenly instead of pulling on to a roundabout.

A full-size spare wheel will cost you an extra £50 if you prefer not to save the weight and rely on a can of sealant if you get a puncture. Five-door versions will not be due until mid 2012. VW says the cost/weight of diesel engines means the Up! will be petrol, gas or electric powered. Skoda Citygo and Seat Mii versions on the same chassis will presumably cost less.

Review by Russell Bray for nextgreencar.com


PERFORMANCE

New 999 cc three-cylinder engine feels willing enough with 70 lbs ft of torque from 3,000 rpm to 5,000 rpm and produces 59 bhp. But despite developing 90% of its torque from 2,000 rpm there isn't much of it so you really need to rev the engine to make progress. Acceleration to 62 mph takes 14.4 seconds which is enough in city traffic but out of town the car struggles on gradients and I even found myself in first gear at one point though we were only two up and without luggage. Top speed is 100 mph. The 74 bhp version has the same torque but feels significantly livelier, but only arrives in versions costing from £10,390.


HANDLING

On standard suspension, there is a firmer sporty set-up available, the Up! rides well thanks to wheels pushed as far apart as possible and without too much body roll if you tackle corners with enthusiasm. New engine is small, fits between the powered front wheels, so traditional front-wheel drive responses. Tyre grip could be better on the fuel-saving low rolling resistance tyres of this ultra economy Blue Motion version. The light, power assisted steering makes parking easy. Despite its Fiat 500 rivalling dimensions the Up! feels like a larger, more grown-up car and would happily tackle longer journeys than a city commute.


BODY STYLE

Head of design Walter de Silva says the Up! has "perfect proportions" and I wouldn't disagree with him. In bright sunlight the chamfered bodywork around the side windows made the Up! look solid, attractive and very modern. Distinctive glass covered rear tailgate was inspired by a favourite television set. Cabin space is impressive with room for four and luggage space is much larger than in cars like the Toyota Aygo – the boot is 251 litres or 951 litres with rear seats folded away. The Up! goes on sale in the UK next spring with five-door versions due before the end of 2012. EuroNCAP crash test results are not yet available. Length 3540 mm. Width 1641mm (without door mirrors).


COMFORT & CONTROLS

Volkswagen Up! Logical controls with light, measured action and excellent all-round visibility make the Up! easy to drive and park. The seats are thin, to maximize cabin space, but that doesn't mean they aren't comfortable (at least in the front). Moving front seats for rear access is fiddly.

A first for this type of car is an optional city emergency braking system which uses a laser to detect a stationary vehicle in front and applies the brakes – hard – automatically at speeds up to 18 mph if you don't. The cabin looks and feels quality. It's an airier and brighter place than inside most VWs.


MPG & RUNNING COSTS

Full official fuel figures for the Blue Motion model were not available at the time of writing, but expect around 67.2 mpg on the combined cycle and 97 g/km CO2. That means no road fund licence to pay and no congestion charge in central London. We were not able to take our own real world fuel consumption figures on this early press drive event. An Eco Up! model due next year in Germany and running on natural gas will have only 79 g/km CO2. An electric car version, the zero emissions Up! Blue-e-Motion, arrives 2013.


GREEN CREDENTIALS

A familiar package of relatively light weight, good attention to aerodynamics, a rapid responding automatic start-stop system (claimed to save up to 6% fuel in city traffic), kinetic energy recovery when braking and low rolling resistance tyres. VW claims the environmental impact of the Up! is 21% less than its predecessor model.


OPTIONAL EXTRAS

Standard trim is Take Up!, followed by Move Up!, Move Up! Blue Motion and High Up!. Take Up! includes body colour bumpers, daytime lights, front and side head/thorax airbags and radio. Move Up! (from £8,970) has remote locking, air conditioning, electric front windows, height adjustable driver's seat, dual level boot and split/folding rear seats. BlueMotion models (from £9,330) add automatic stop-start and battery regeneration during braking. Special edition Up! Black and Up! White are based on the High Up! trims but with special paint, chrome door mirrors, wider wheels and tyres, carpet mats and stripes upholstery.


MODEL SUMMARY

Volkswagen Up!

Model tested: Volkswagen Up! Move Up! Blue Motion
Body-style: Three-door 'supermini' hatch
Engine/CO2: 999cc, three-cylinder 59bhp / 97 gCO2/km
Trim grades: Take Up!, Move Up!, Move Up! BlueMotion, High Up!

On-road price: From £7,995. BlueMotion £9,330
Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Spring 2012
Review rating: 4.0 STARS


Click here for more info about this model »

Posted by:
Russell Bray


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