From the first moment you see the Up! you know exactly how the car is going to be - a typical Volkswagen. We have simple lines with simple details. However, the design in not bland, because it manages to make you believe you're diving a concept created in a laboratory.
It looks clean and efficient and thus, despite the clinical aspect, it's inviting you to drive it. The only thing that strays from this image is the set of skinny tires, but these are there to help with the efficiency, which, as we'll see in a few chapters' time, is impressive.
The concept version used a rear-mounted engine, but everybody knew that this wasn't going to make it into production, due to the fact that VW doesn't have such a platform and building one especially for the Up! would have sent its already high price through the roof.
So, the engineers mounted the all-new 999cc powerplant up front. However, in order for the car to keep its revolutionary space-saving idea, the cooling system was placed at the side of the unit, not in front of it, thus allowing for more room to be taken by the passenger cell.
Speaking of the passenger cell, this held its shape really well during the Euro NCAP impact test, with the Up! being one of those cars that prove size doesn't matter: it received a five-star rating.
Behind closed doors
Once you open the surprisingly long front doors, you discover one of the best interiors in the segment. However, the designers didn't have more sense of humor than when it came to penning the exterior of the car, so don't expect your bpm to be modified at all.
The plastic is pretty hard, but the quality of the finishes is top notch and this is true for every inch of the cabin. There's also an optional smart navigation system - this is a third-party unit, which can be stored in the glove box and then placed on top of the dash. It's an intuitive touch-screen unit that also displays vehicle information, such as fuel consumption. It's like your car is bragging about how it's got a new phone and showing it to everybody around.
VW has chosen to use more than one color for the interior, with the light shade of the upper dash and door amplifying the impression of space.
Speaking of space, there's plenty of it up front, where the two seats are comfy even if you use the car for long trips, even though they lack any for any lateral bolstering, and the rear can also accommodate two adults, but it's probably best if you stick to city trips in this configuration.
It all gets even more impressive when we move to the luggage compartment and find 251 liters ready to cater to your shopping needs. This value is not just class-leading, but matches those that belong to the superior segment - we're curious how large the (probably front-rear combined) storage space would've been if VW had keep the rear-engined layout of the concept.
Inside the car, there's just as much light as there is space, thanks to the large windows, which means the visibility is great. There is, however, one exception - the rear one. At first, you have the impression that the rear-view mirror is too small, but then you realize that if it had been larger, you would've been limited by the actual area in the back anyway.Continue reading