THE only way is up! – VW’s little minnow is set to be a massive success despite awards snub
- 14 November 2012
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I know it’s Halloween, but can this be the biggest case of Trick or Treat?
Yes, I can only be talking about the most ghoulish, gruesome and grotesque act of all – the omission of the VW UP! from Irish Car of the Year awards.
In fact, we’re horrified more by the news that it didn’t even make the final shortlist of 10.
Talk about adding insult to injury to one of the best little vehicles to hit the road in a decade?
I doubt the German car giant will be too bothered considering that the little tiddler has scooped World Car of The Year and What Car? of the Year amongst its UK accolades.
But that’s not the point.
The brand would be justifiably vexed by this outrageous snub which could explode into an almighty row when you consider that not one of the VW Group made the nominations.
Audi, Skoda, SEAT and VW – all overlooked despite having more than worthy offerings.
Your guess is as good as mine but the A3 and Q3 not as tempting as a Kia C’eed or Optima?
For what it’s worth the Nextgear Top 10 would definitely have the UP! or one of its cousins (Skoda Citigo or SEAT Mii) in the running.
You see this is the little car with the BIG personality.
A five-door Tardis that brings quirkiness to a whole new level.
Unveiled as a concept at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, VW wanted to hit a very specific market with their “first” Segment A offering.
(Er, sorry chaps, have you forgotten about the Lupo and the Fox?)
VW were on a mission to attract potential customers from all walks of life.
It’s target market includes young drivers (especially learners) older drivers who are trading down and young professional singletons/ urban dwellers who need something to zip around congested streets.
Meeting the needs of such a broad demographic is no mean feat and calls for a collection of must haves.
Firstly it needs to be relatively inexpensive considering the young and older sections of the graph are really minding the pennies these days.
Secondly it needs its own identity which we are left in no doubt about given the giant badges stamped on the stubby nose and an equally impressive centrepiece on the flat rear end.
Then comes its unique personality which is evident from the time one opens the door.
The superior build quality is the first thing that hits you. It could it be the Audi TT-style flat based leather steering wheel or the shiny piano black inlays or the colour coded door panels. Or maybe it’s the small but brilliantly clever infotainment/sat Nav system poking awkwardly out if the dash?
Yes the detachable phone-sized gadget is a combination of wizardry from Bluetooth, Nav with traffic and speed alerts, to eco driving to fuel consumption to doubling as a fancy pants, touch screen music player.
Space is also a major factor – with oceans of room both front and rear.
Thanks to the short overhangs the cabin feels large and airy and is as big as the current Polo.
Same applies in the back with plenty of space for two adults or three kids and although the boot is snug, it is deep enough to cater for reasonable loads like the weekly shopping (251 litres).
But this is first and foremost a city car and fuel economy is top of the must-haves.
The three-cylinder, 999cc petrol engine generates a punchy 75bhp while returning truly diesel-like mpg.
The brochure is claiming figures of over 60mpg (we got closer to 50) and emissions of 108g/km – meaning Tax Band A and €160 a year duty.
Performance-wise, the three-pot powerplant lacks any real torque and to get off to a quick sprint you need to rev her hard through all gears.
The 0-100kph (62mph) takes a dreary 14.4 seconds and a top end of 155kph (100mph).
Oil burning buffs will be excited by the news the VW are currently developing a two-cylinder turbodiesel unit which they promise will debut in the UP in the future.
Surprisingly it cruises really well on motorways and is remarkably solid on the road despite its small stature.
The absence of a sixth gear will hit economy on long runs.
So should the iconic FIAT 500 be worried?
While it may have the edge on brand the VW will trump it on size and versatility – especially the pop-out rear windows which parents will love.
The biggest lure though is price which at just under €11,000 will be the deciding factor for most Irish punters.
Being a VW the residuals should be excellent and with reasonable mileage should be still worth around €5,000 after the equivalent years of ownership.
That equates to €1,200 per year – or €25 a week.
Now I’m no bean-counter, but that can’t be bad value for money.
If you want to shave off another couple of quid one could opt for
either of its two cheaper cousins – namely the Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii.
Things are indeed looking up – even if the IMWA (Irish Motor Writers Association) refuse to recognise it.
Prices for the Up! start at €11,000 and in the UK at £7,995.