Volkswagen Take up! and Move up!: First drive review

As we said when we drove it first last year, 'the only way is up!' and it seems that the UK media agree as What Car? magazine recently crowned the up! its Car of The Year 2012.

Well, now the fun and funky small car is available in the UK. We got to drive most high-spec versions at the international launch in Rome last year with positive views.
So when Volkswagen gave us the chance to try the entry-level Take up! and Move up! versions at the UK launch, we were keen to see if the cheapest up!'s were still worth a look for budget conscious buyers.

The fancier alloys might be gone but the up!'s basic exterior design looks modern and fresh.

Without the luxurious details, the neatest parts of the up!'s design become more obvious and include the side windows which are steeply upswept at the back, the glass rear tailgate, the circular elements of the headlights looking like eyes, the Volkswagen badge the nose and the grill bumper treatment almost looking like a smiley face.

Move inside and though these two versions of the up! perhaps don't feels as special, there's still the spacious interior.

The Take up! in particular feels very basic, there's no gloss black trim for the dashboard for example, but quality is up to usual Volkswagen standards and the dashboard design is elegant. It is quite a novelty to wind up your own windows and to lock each of the doors via a key.

Some of the instruments, such as the rev counter might be smaller than the Volkswagen norm, but they are beautifully detailed and easy to read. The switchgear placement is also sound.

I'm over 6ft tall and found it easy to get a decent driving position; the high-backed single piece front seats are also comfortable. This was despite the lack of reach adjustment for the steering column. All round visibility is excellent too.

Despite me sitting in the front of the up!, I'm sure there would be enough rear legroom for a couple of adults to travel in reasonable comfort. This is down to the 2,420mm wheelbase. There is also a class-leading 251 litre boot, but we wonder how good the uncovered painted areas will look after being scratched and chipped with everyday use.

The Take up! and Move up! are priced at £7,995 and £8,970 respectively. Standard equipment on all models includes front and side airbags, CD radio with aux-in and rear ISOFIX points.

Options are made up of simple packs; these include a Driver's assistance pack (£400) which has the clever City Emergency Braking system, that will stop the car automatically at speeds of up to 18mph, when it senses you're unable to do it yourself.

Another key option is the "Maps & More" touch screen navigation, which is basically a portable Navigon sat-nav and MP3 player (a £275 cost option) which fits to the top of the dashboard.

In our view, this isn't an option we'd recommend, the maps are too simplistic and it is fiddly and over complicated in use. Our advice is to spend the money elsewhere on a decent aftermarket portable system.

The up! is powered by a choice of new 59bhp or 74bhp three-cylinder 1.0-litre engines. Both these entry-level models we drove are powered by the smaller of these two three-pot engines.

As expected, they have low emissions and sip fuel, boasting 105g/km CO2 figures and a 62.8 combined fuel consumption figure.

The only problem we have with both engines, is that because of the long gearing, they are lethargic accelerators. To get the best out of both engines, you have to use the gears and rev them a lot.

Like the engine, on the standard 14-inch wheels the ride is generally refined and composed. Only bigger bumps seeming to upset the little Volkswagen. However, the ride might be soft, but body roll is kept well under control and the steering feels surprisingly accurate but light enough for town work and the brakes are strong.

So are the cheapest up!'s as good as the rest of the range? Yes, as there's much to like including the neat styling, quality feel and the fact that they are good to drive. However, a lot of key equipment is missing with the Take up! and there's a £975 price increase to get to the better-equipped Move up!.

Overall though, with the up!, it is a fun and funky small car but we believe that the Mii and Citigo will be the better value buys for budget conscious buyers.

Volkswagen Take up! and Move up!
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Volkswagen Take up! and Move up!: First drive review
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