Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good The pint sized Volkswagen up! arrived down under in September 2012. Although the up! is quite small - at 3,540mm in length, 1,641mm in width and 1,476mm in height, the up! is actually a very usable city car with enough room to seat four adults. The quirky styling of the up! definitely makes it stand out in a crowd and on the road. The front features a mouth like lower grille that looks as though the car is smiling. The compact headlights gel well with the VW badge that is integrated into the bonnet. Overall, the Volkswagen up! features a cute and boxy shape that sits high on the road.
Not so good Unfortunately for the up! it's from a family of attractive models...
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good Inside, the Volkswagen up! looks and feels quite premium. Although there isn't a host of soft touch plastics throughout the cabin like its Polo and Golf siblings, it still feels refined. The flat bottom steering wheel is made out of some sort of soft plastic but still feels quite comfortable under hand. The short shift gear leaver feels really good and allows the driver to change gear quickly and smoothly, it also looks pretty good too. The centre dash features a small black LCD screen that displays radio information clearly and is easy to function, while the climate control functions are old school analogue dials that you turn. For people that opt to get the Maps + More system portable touchscreen module - you're in for a treat. Features include a navigation system, hands-free telephone unit, vehicle and a media player information. Maps + More simply clicks into place above the centre console where it interfaces with the electronics network of the up! Maps + More also gives the driver cool little read outs of how economically you are driving, it even trains you to drive more efficiently. In terms of storage the little up! isn't that little, at 251 litres, the boot offers up quite a bit of cargo capacity; and when the seats are completely folded down, the up! can handle 951 litres of cargo on a nearly flat cargo surface.
Not so good The front seats could offer up more side bolstering, as you tend to slide around when zipping around a corner. Rear seat passengers might feel a little claustrophobic as the rear windows are fixed in place and can only be cracked open for minimal air flow. And, there is no standard Bluetooth.
Performance

Performance

Good The Volkswagen up! comes with the choice of one petrol engine across 3 and 5-door models. Under the bonnet is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, producing 55kW of power and 95Nm of torque when matched to the smooth shifting 5-speed manual transmission. There is plenty of low down torque to get this pint sized city runabout zipping down the street and the engine isn't afraid to rev past its 6000rpm red line. The short shift gear box falls nicely underhand and allows the driver to make shift gear changes. The 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine is pretty good on fuel sipping just 4.9-litres per 100km on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 114 g/km.
Not so good The gear ratios are set close for lower end torque response which is perfect for inner city, however, out on the highway the up! revs loud while cruising along, plus there isn't quite enough torque to duck out for a quick overtake.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good In this is the department the up! really shines, the pint size package feels really solid on the road and the 14-inch wheels offer up great levels of grip even when the road surface isn't the greatest. The Verdict team were genuinely surprise by how good this thing feels on the road given its relatively cheap price. It's also really easy to manoeuvre in and around the city, tight spots are made easy with great visibility all round. The up! also features a pretty nifty safety system called City Emergency Braking function, basically what it does is at speeds of between 5km/h to 30km/h the system detects the risk of an impending collision and intervenes by automatically braking.
Not so good At this price there really isn't anything to mention...did we say how good the up! drives?
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good The city car runabout, the up!, scores a maximum five-star safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), making it the most affordable new five-star cars on the road. Featuring driver and front passenger airbags, plus front side / head airbags, ABS with brake assist, ESP and the up!’s City Emergency Braking system. While there is a small price premium over some of its competitors, the up! is almost justified by how solid this package is, albeit a few small things that let it down.
Not so good Currently there is no automatic transmission or standard Bluetooth offered - two things that are on many peoples lists.