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When buying a new car, in tough economic times, price is the predominant motivating factor. The problem with lower priced vehicles - you tend to get less from the new cheap car, or do you?

 

It would depend on the car really, because yes, you’d be buying a Plain Jane with not much but the basics - like a takeaway margarita pizza with no extra toppings. 

 

Thank goodness for Volkswagen's facelifted up! Originally launched between the end of 2011 and early 2012 in Europe, it went on to win the title as the World Car of the Year at the same time. Locally the up! arrived in 2015 but only as a coupe; it was aimed at the fashion-conscious crowd. Lovable and cute, it offered refinement not seen before on an entry-level vehicle. 

Refreshed - the face-lifted up! is better than ever, featuring both minor and some more major tweaks. On the outside, the differences lie in the discreet but effective enhancements to the front and rear bumpers and lighting cluster layouts. These adjustments offer a maturity to the up!'s looks that enhance its overall appeal. 

 

Step inside the cabin and you'll notice the same - there are two extra doors. Now available as only a four-door car - a decision made for practical reasons, albeit the rear doors are little. Overall the dashboard has also been washed with an upmarket brush of patterned piano black plastic. There's also a new multifunctional steering wheel that's been borrowed from the Polo. This adds to the quality feel of the cabin - especially since it features genuine leather. 

The old radio has been replaced with a larger infotainment system that now links via Bluetooth to your smartphone for hands-free telephone calls and playback of your music collection. 

 

The interior is finished in quality materials all round. Tasteful charcoal fabric is used for the seating. The comfortable front seats feature a built-in head restraint mimicking that of Porsche design. 

The boot is good too - 251-litre in fact, which is significantly larger than is typical in this class.  When the rear seat is fully folded, cargo space increases to 959 litres.

 

Having spent a week with the new up!, I'm in love. This little car is a gem that warms my heart. It's easily the best little city hatch. No other car in its class rivals its overall high-level of quality, especially not its exceptional ride quality. Added to these outstanding qualities is the marriage of the 1.0-l 3-cylinder motor with the beautiful light and easy-to-use 5-speed manual gearbox. Both are ideally suited to the up! The engine is beautifully insulated from the cabin albeit it's fun playing with its power band, where 90% of the up!’s power lies broadly between 2000 and 6000 rpm. This gorgeous thrumming note pops its excited audible note; beckoning for more. Floor the happy chappie and you'll hit the 100km/h mark in around 13.5 seconds. Best of all, its 35l petrol tank will see you doing almost 600km before asking to be filled again. This is indicative of a combination of city and highway driving - or 5.8 litres per 100km. (*V. W claims 4.6 litres per 100km.)

 

PLUS +

Solid build quality.

High levels of refinement.

Value for money. 

5 stars in the EuroNCAP crash test. You get ABS Breaks, Electronic Stability Control and four airbags.

This is undoubtedly the best small city car on the South Africa market.

The Beats model comes standard with a fabulous Beats sound system and speakers.

 

MINUS - 

Compact rear leg room.

Not as cute as the Fiat 500.

 

Competition 

KIA Picanto, Hyundai i10, Toyota Aygo, Ford Figo, Fiat 500 and Suzuki Celerio.

 

Pricing 

Take up! 5-door 1.0 R166 300

Move up! 5-door 1.0 R179 900

up! Beats 5-door 1.0 R196 300

Cross up! 5-door 1.0 R196 500

 

Service and warranty

Volkswagen up! comes standard with a 3 year/120 000 km manufacturer warranty, a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty and 15 000 km service intervals. In addition, the up! is sold with option of a 3 year/45 000km maintenance plan.

 

My choice

Cross up! 5-door 1.0 R196 500.

www.vw.co.za

 

 

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