The up! may have comedy model names but this is a serious little car. VW has been lacking a credible city car with the Lupo and Fox lacking style and innovation. The up! may have switched from rear to front engined during development but it remains a major leap forward in packaging.
The net result of all this is that whilst the up! measures just 3.5 metres in length it also boasts a supermini-shaming 251 litres of boot space and provides space inside for four adults. If you are thinking of downsizing, the up! is an entirely painless way of doing it.
The new 3-cylinder engine is key to the up!’s excellent fuel economy and packaging. Its diminutive size allows the engine bay to be shortened leaving more room for people and luggage and keeping the overall weight admirably low. This means that the 59 bhp it produces can provide acceptable performance.
One of the up!’s strong cards is the premium feel. The interior is attractive and functional with material quality from at least a class above. Soft suspension provides an unusually comfortable ride without hurting grip levels, but we would prefer more feel from the numb steering.
The up! is well priced for a premium city car, has group 1 insurance, an impressive 5 star EuroNCAP rating, good interior space, excellent boot space and feels reasuringly solid. The only minus point is the lifeless steering. The up! shows what VW is capable of when it puts its mind to it.