Our cars: Volkswagen Up - April
Week ending April 26
Total mileage 8007
Driven this week 167 miles
Volkswagen Up review
The option list is often a focal point of these weekly updates, but as I've mentioned before, the fantastic standard kit of our High Up! model means we only have one – City Emergency Braking.
With it added, the Up constantly monitors 10-metres ahead, and if the car is travelling up to 18mph, will activate if a collision looks likely. First, the brakes are primed to deliver more force, but if it detects you aren't reacting, it will bring the car to a halt.
At £225, it had – until now – been nothing more than a rather expensive button on the dashboard. However, I had my first taste of it in action this week.
In reality, it wasn't really needed, as I had already clocked the driver in front slowing down rather sharply. In any case, I could hear and feel the brakes being primed, and could definitely notice the extra assistance as I stamped on the pedal.
It's an option, so it doesn't reduce your insurance premium, and at £225 it might seem an unnecessary expense on a city car. In my opinion, though, its effectiveness and the amount of time these cars will spend crawling along in traffic make it a worthwhile extra.
By Rory White
Week ending April 19
Total mileage 7840
Miles this week 500
This week I got the opportunity to see how far the city car category has come in the last few years. One night I drove home in our long-term Volkswagen Up, the next I was in the Toyota Aygo. The two cars have a list price of over £10,000 with the Up being just £400 more expensive.
Volkswagen has given the Up a 'big car' feel. The doors shut solidly, there are carrier bag hooks in the boot, the dashboard plastics have a premium feel and the interior light comes on when you open any of the doors. This last one might seem a weird thing to mention but on the Aygo it is only the driver's door that works the light.
When I was dropping off a friend in the Aygo, the passenger door opened and the cabin remained dark. I had to switch the light on manually to help her find her dropped keys.
I realise that this is not the biggest issue and is pretty easy to remedy in this situation but what if you are putting children in the back seat and haven't yet opened the driver's door?
On the Up, opening any of the doors activates the interior light. A small step forward in the city car class but a step forward nonetheless.
By Matthew Burrow
Week ending April 14
Total mileage 7340
Miles this week 232
For me, the measure of a great car is not that it's good at what it's meant to be good at, but that it actually goes beyond its remit.
So, as capable as the Up is in town, thanks to its small dimensions, supple ride and light steering, what impresses me most is how good it is outside the city limits.
This week I used our Up to get to a new car launch in Coventry, and was amazed how settled it felt during the 70-odd miles of motorway driving.
I can think of much larger cars that would have been far less stable. What's more, the Up was reasonably quiet and it had enough performance to keep up with traffic without the need for frequent gearchanges.
There were just two things that irritated me: first, the Up doesn't have a rest for the driver's left foot, and second, I couldn't charge my phone because there's no USB socket.
By Steve Huntingford
Week ending April 5
Miles driven this week 53
Despite my short commute and the Up's popularity among the rest of the team for short trips into town at lunch, the miles have quickly racked up. It has got me thinking about when the car's first service is due.
A little research told me Volkswagen offers two packages; a fixed service recommended for cars travelling less than 10,000 miles a year mainly in town, and a flexible service for those frequently driving long distances. The fixed service is every 10,000-miles/12 months, the flexible every 18,000-miles and 24 months. Simple, but which is mine on?
I didn't have to look far, as Volkswagen handily lets you know using a sticker just inside the driver's door, telling me I'm on the fixed variety. With fewer than 3000 miles until mine's due, I have a little time to enquire about prices. More on that to come.
By Rory White