GETTING IT? UP? Diminutive, ditsy, downright cheeky - it's VW's new (at least to SA) Up! urban mini-mini - Wheels24 took one for a fun ride in Cape Town during the launch in February 2015. Image: VW SA
Volkswagen’s new and stylish ‘supermini’ offering for South Africa is called Up! We took one for a longish drive...
Wheels24 attended the launch last week in and around Cape Town and immediately gave it a resounding thumbs-(Up!) for ingenuity, charisma, bags of safety features – and all that with a down-to-earth ticket price starting from R133 500.
Under the bonnet is a lively 999cc 12-valve motor that develops 55kW/95Nm and drives a five-speed gearbox whose ratios, I found on a test drive ‘hit the spot’ almost perfectly allowing this diminutive motor to buzz along nicely at 3500rpm at the national speed limit.
TWO DOORS ENOUGH FOR YOU?
My average fuel consumption figures of 5.1 litres/100km (two adults and small suitcases) over a 140km test route weren’t that far removed from the suggested factory figures. Handling proved excellent whether on major or minor roads, the ride always comfortable and composed.
FLASHBACK: Read Wheels24's original launch story from Frankfurt in 2011
Provided you can manage with a two-door car (no four-door versions as yet as pricing presumably too close to the VW Vivo offerings) the well-kitted Up! represents all the very latest design/build quality cues from VW Europe – from top to bottom – and that’s a good thing.
But where the Vivo is functional, comfortable, and dare I say a little dull, the Up! manages to be just as functional and user-friendly – but with a touch of real character.
IMAGE GALLERY: VW Up! out and about in Cape Town
The interior is spacious, and the seats comfortable with plenty of back support. The soft-moulded facia is broad and well laid-out, flowing beautifully into the detailing of the inner doors. All controls are easy to reach and the instruments are functional and attractive and although there’s plenty of plastic it does seem to be of a good quality.
Cupholders, and a generous “glove compartment” (amazing how that term hangs in there though I’ve never seen anybody put a pair of gloves in one!), mean you never have to fiddle around looking for a place to put things out of sight when parking Up! (if you’ll excuse the pun).
For right-hand drive markets such as that of South Africa the car is sourced from Slovakia in Europe and is well-specced with aircon, power-assisted steering and power windows standard.
The extensive options list includes a sunroof (R8000) and even a winter pack for R3500 that includes fog lights, heatable seats and warmed-up exterior mirrors. Corny as that package may sound… not such a bad idea, come winter here in SA and particularly on the Highveld.
It’s undoubtedly a practical runabout – but that’s not to say you couldn’t drive further afield should the need arise – the Up! will find lots of buyers young and old. But is arguably more suited to youngsters/students needing safe and reliable transport to and from, say, university.
To sum up, factor in a five-star Ncap rating and the Up! is a ‘no-brainer’. If you can live with a two-door car then the Up! might well do it for you.
Here’s what they cost (only two models at launch):
VW 1.0 Take Up! (55kW) R133 500
VW 1.0 Move Up! (55kW) R140 500
Each comes with a three-year or 120 000km warranty and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service intervals 15 000km.