Our cars: Volkswagen Up - January
Week ending January 25
Driven this week: 110 miles
Volkswagen Up review
It always staggers me just how capable our long-term Up is on the motorway.
Most so-called city cars start to feel out of their depth at the national speed limit, but the VW stays incredibly settled, even in fairly windy conditions.
True, the car's short gearing means the engine is spinning away quite quickly at 70mph – which isn't ideal for fuel economy – but the engine is so quiet at a steady cruise you can barely hear it.
In fact, to describe the Up as a city car is almost doing it a disservice.
By Will Nightingale
Week ending January 18
Driven this week: 737 miles
I think our Up is the best-looking variant there is. I'm starting to see more and more around the streets of London, but our three-door in Candy White (£200) with standard 15-inch multi-spoke wheels is hard to beat.
Admittedly, when it turned up last September, I wasn't so sure about the seats. The fabric is a very impractical light cream colour and, teamed with a vivid red outline, I just wasn't sure.
However, five months on, and I've changed my mind. Apart from a chicken tikka incident on the driver's seat, the light shade hasn't been a problem – nothing a good dose of cloth cleaner couldn’t fix. However, while the red is a matter of personal opinion, I think it contrasts quite nicely with the white.
By Rory White
Week ending January 11
Driven this week: 51 miles
Volkswagen Up review
I've spent a lot of time in the Up this week and have come away mightily impressed.
Admittedly, my journeys have been short urban trips, which show the Up in its best light. Even so, it goes above and beyond what you expect of a city car, thanks to its blend of fun and sophistication.
One thing that's really surprised me is how enjoyable the Up is to drive, thanks to its willing three-cylinder engine, slick gearshift and responsive steering. The Up GT version - which is due this year - will be a hoot, I reckon.
The Up's cabin never fails to amaze me, either. It feels much bigger than the car looks from the outside, and the quality of fixture and fittings means that it doesn't feel like a cheap car at all.
In all, it's very easy to see why it retained its title as our City Car of the Year.
By Leo Wilkinson
Week ending January 4
Driven this week: 518 miles
I'm not the tallest bloke in the office, but I am the most senior – certainly in years, if not in rank.
Consequently, I reckoned it was only right and proper that a couple of our six-foot whippersnappers clambered into the back of our long-term Up, while I rode shotgun in the front.
You can probably imagine their initial reaction. The long faces didn't last though, because access to the rear of the Up is superb, thanks to its long, wide opening doors. Equally, once they'd parked their behinds, both seemed to have plenty of head-, leg- and elbow-room.
Well, at least it seemed that way from where I was sitting.