28 September 2012 ~ 3 Comments

Volkswagen confirms Up GT for production in 2013

Autocar reports that the Volkswagen Up GT will – finally – become a production reality next year. Volkswagen Research & Design chief Ulrich Hackenberg confirmed the arrival of the sports-orientated city car at the 2012 Paris motor show. Accompanying the standard Up’s launch at the Frankfurt motor show last year, the Up GT will be powered by a 999cc, 109bhp three-cylinder engine with 120lb ft of torque.

A six-speed gearbox will also feature, as well as lowered suspension, alloy wheels, an aggressively-styled body kit, tartan seats and a part-leather-trimmed cabin. Prices and exact specifications have yet to be announced. Many hope the Up GT will be a modern incarnation of the Lupo GTI, Volkswagen’s last pint-sized hot hatchback, produced between 2000-2006 and powered by a 1.6-litre, 125bhp engine.

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14 September 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Brief drive: Volkswagen Take Up

2012 Volkswagen Take Up

We’ve already tested mid-range Move Up and top-end High Up versions of Volkswagen’s new city car and both bring a new feeling of luxury to the class. We were keen therefore to try the most basic version, too, and were rewarded with the opportunity at Volkswagen UK’s recent regional driving activity. Based on the same five-door body shell as the High Up we tested at the same event, the Take Up forgoes the body-coloured door handles and mirrors of its siblings higher up (!) the range ladder, and makes do with a set of flush-fitting wheel trims rather than alloy wheels.

It still looks upmarket enough, though. One notable aspect of penny pinching is in the cabin, where the Take Up features a once-piece ‘standard’ dashboard moulding, just as in other cars in the VW range. Not for this miser the body-coloured or piano black dashboard strip featured on higher-specification cars, and we must admit, it’s a bit of a disappointment after the contrast gloss finishes on the two other cars we’ve driven. But, it’s probably more in keeping with the car’s ‘honest’ nature. We’ve come across it before in the Up’s Skoda Citigo cousin.

Otherwise, the Up experience is much the same. OE12 VCM was powered by the lower-output 59bhp three-cylinder engine, but you’d be hard pressed to notice any discernible difference between the two – the 74bhp unit does fell slightly more relaxed at higher speeds, but with both engines developing the same 70lb ft of torque between the same 3000-4300rpm, there’s very little in it. The same nicely weighted steering is still very much in evidence, too, as is the comfortable and class-leading ride. Performance and economy figures aren’t that different from other versions, either.

Just as in the High Up we drove, the five-door Take Up also features pop-out rear windows as opposed to sliding panes. Though here they may work better, as the cost-cutting feel that they emanate is more in keeping with the more ‘basic’ nature of the car. That the general specification is anything but (when compared to a similar size of car even just 10 years ago) is beside the point. The base model Take Up generally doesn’t feel that basic at all: its just its higher-specification siblings have spoiled us. Overall, it’s another very strong weapon in VW’s class-leading sales cannon.

Price: £8360
Engine: 1.0-litre three cylinder
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Power/torque: 59bhp/70lb ft @ 3000-4300rpm
0-62mph: 14.4 seconds
Top speed: 99mph
Economy/CO2: 62.8mpg/105g/km
Equipment: 14” steel wheels with full-size wheel trims, RCD 215 radio system
On sale: Now
Find out more: www.volkswagen.co.uk/new/up-nf/home

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30 August 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Brief drive: Volkswagen High Up BlueMotion Technology

2012 Volkswagen High Up BlueMotion Technology

On 23 August, we spent the day pootling around lanes in the Chilterns, driving the latest additions to Volkswagen’s UK range. While more ‘exciting’ cars were available, we took the start-at-the-bottom-and-move-up-the-range approach and started with the newest addition to the VW stable, the five-door Up. Building on the success of the award-winning three-door version, the five-door Up is literally that – an Up with an extra pair of doors at the rear. It looks the same as the less-doored car, but there are subtle differences if you look hard. The profile glasshouse is more conventional, sloping down at the rearmost edge, losing the three-door’s upward kink, but it doesn’t matter – the Up five-door still looks neat and modern.

A similar specification to the Škoda Citigo Elegance GreenTech we tested back in May (and fitted with the same emissions-busting technology) ‘our’ High Up BlueMotion Technology test car was the top-spec model of the current range – special ‘White’ and ‘Black’ editions notwithstanding – and it certainly looked it. Resplendent in traditional VW Tornado Red, the little car really looked smart (although a white version looked arguably even better), the 15-inch ‘Spoke’ alloy wheels, setting it off perfectly. We tested a mid-spec Move Up in July, and the interior of the High Up was much more luxurious. Fitted with a light dashboard and door trims, the interior was light and very airy, made all the more fun with the fitment of a body-coloured red full-width panel. The cabin’s very well trimmed, too; the heated ‘Polka’ Grey/Salsa Red front seats look great, while the ‘Maps & More’ infotainment device adds a dash of clever big-car functionality.

And that’s the overall impression the Up gives, especially in this range-topping guise. It might be a cliché, but it really does give big-car comforts. The ride is astonishing for one so small. Small cars can be choppy when pressing on, but the Up smooths out any difficult surfaces, it’s buzzy 74bhp three-cylinder engine feeling just slightly more relaxed than the 59bhp version which powers the lower-spec models, but there’s not a lot it it (maxiumum torque of 70lb ft @3000-4300rpm is the same for both units). Add in steering which makes it eminently chuckable, and you have a small car that’s a lot more fun than the bland and cheap-feeling Fox, which the Up replaces. Yes, there are signs of cost-cutting – all-plastic door trims and pop-out rather than winding rear windows – but the High Up still feels luxurious. It can also fit four adults at a pinch, is more practical with the £365 extra pair of doors, and still looks stylish. Volkswagen’s ‘Cleverly Compact’ advertising campaign was never more so apt.

Price: £11,240
Engine: 1.0-litre three cylinder
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Power/torque: 74bhp/70lb ft @ 3000-4300rpm
0-62mph: 13.2 seconds
Top speed: 106mph
Economy/CO2: 67.3mpg/98g/km
Equipment: 15” ‘Spoke’ alloy wheels, PID, heated front seats, front fog lights
On sale: Now
Find out more: www.volkswagen.co.uk/new/up-nf/home

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02 August 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Up now available with automated manual gearbox

2012 Volkswagen Up

Available to order now, the Volkswagen Up city car now comes with an automated manual gearbox (ASG). A £595 option, the ASG can be specified on three- and five-door versions of Move Up and High Up models – BlueMotion Technology versions are excluded. Volkswagen UK states that the new five-speed ASG models are even more efficient than the manual gearbox cars, with improved fuel economy and CO2 emissions. An automated version of the standard car’s manual gearbox, the driver selects ‘Drive’, ‘Neutral’ or ‘Reverse’, and the gearbox chooses the optimum gear for the situation.

2012 Volkswagen Up

Manual changes can be carried out using the gear lever – steering wheel paddles aren’t available on Up variants. Space-efficiency and lightness are key virtues of ASG: at 30kg, it is three kilograms lighter than its manual counterpart. An electric motor controls the clutch. The three-door 59bhp Move Up ASG costs £9675, while the five-door High Up ASG with 74bhp is priced at £11,475. Customer deliveries of the Up ASG are expected to start in October, with a fully electric version still on the cards and due next year. The Up has been named World Car of the Year 2012 and What Car? Car of the Year for 2012.

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02 March 2012 ~ 0 Comments

VW Up Geneva concepts and BlueMotion model arrive, CarBuyer award win

2012 Volkswagen Up Geneva motor show concepts

With the first cars soon to arrive in the UK, Volkswagen is showcasing four more new versions of its award-winning Up city car at the Geneva motor show next week. The design studies follow on from the six concepts at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show, and show which direction the car could be heading next. First up (!) is the ‘Swiss Up’ (we’re still refraining from using Volkswagen’s silly up! spelling) which features unique Swiss flag-inspired red and white paintwork, white dashboard wih red air vent bezels, and a leather and across the back of each seat for (and we kid you not), a Swiss Army Knife.

The Pure White and Malibu Blue ‘Winter Up’ is based on the ‘Cross Up’ concept from last autumn and, is, according to Volkswagen, ‘all set for the ski slopes’ with its roof-mounted snowboards, raised ride height and underbody protection. The ‘X Up’ is also Cross Up-based, but features a roof box with in-built searchlights and a non-subtle Burnt Orange exterior paint finish. Finally, the ‘Cargo Up’ is a modern incarnation of the popular Polo Van of the 1980s. With body-coloured rear windows, a 1400-litre (426kg) payload and a half-plexiglass rear bulkhead behind the front seats, it’s ready for some load-bay action. With prototypes of the 108bhp GT Up also getting rave reviews in the motoring press, it seems to be all about Volkswagen’s ‘cleverly compact’ stylish city car at the moment.

2012 Volkswagen Eco-Up

Adding to its awards haul, this week the Up was crowned the ‘Best City Car’ by CarBuyer, while BlueMotion Technology also now makes its way into the Up range, as VW has announced environmentally-friendly features, at least in Europe. Both existing 1.0-litre engines can now be specified with a Stop/Start system, battery generation, which, with a lowered ride height, contribute to lower 96 and 98g/km CO2 emissions from the 59 and 74bhp engines respectively. Costing €400 extra, the package arrives with the advent of a panoramic sunroof at €880 and a ‘leatherette’ pack for €760.

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