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.

VOLKSWAGEN HIGH UP BLUEMOTION TECHNOLOGY
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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