Our cars: Volkswagen Up - June
Week ending June 28
Total mileage 8822
Driven this week 160 miles
Volkswagen Up review
The Volkswagen Up is a multi-award-winning car. Not only is it our 2013 City Car of the Year, but it was also our overall winner in 2012. It scooped the World Car of the Year Award in the same year too – a prize VW has received four times in the past five years.
However, it's not just in the city where the Up is great to drive. Its perky three-cylinder engine and slick manual gearbox means it has the flexibility to make a dash down a twisty B-road rather fun too.
Granted, it doesn't have the on-paper acceleration figures to suggest that it would make this experience a particularly enjoyable one, but I find that a responsive gear shift and agile, consistent handling are ultimately far more important.
In fact, I drove a supposed 'warm hatch' recently that had decent steering, but was let down by a disappointingly dithering automatic gearbox. Look over the statistics and that car is 3.3 seconds quicker to 60mph than the Up and comes with a sporty chassis set-up.
However, if I had a decent road to drive and the choice of keys to either – I'd reach for our long-term Volkswagen's every time.
By Ed Callow
Week ending June 21
Total mileage 8662
Driven this week 70 miles
Since our Volkswagen Up was delivered last September, I have somehow never needed to use its air-conditioning.
Indeed, from September until around March, the heater was far more popular anyway, but it wasn't until a colleague borrowed the Up recently that they realised something wasn't quite right.
In short, it has stopped working. Even leaving the Up's fans blowing on full with the air-con light illuminated for 15 minutes the other evening wouldn't bring it to life.
It's strange, as cars this new shouldn't require their air-con systems to be re-gassed so soon. I'm sure it's a small fix - I'll report back soon on how it turns out.
By Rory White
Week ending June 14
Total mileage 8592
Driven this week 50 miles
I mentioned recently that I was disappointed to find that the Up's driver's door mirror cover had been scratched, just weeks after having the offside cap replaced for the same problem.
Because it was going back to Inchcape Volkswagen for the swap, I decided to have the Up's stereo assessed at the same time. Syncing my smartphone and listening to music via Bluetooth is fine, but I was still finding radio reception to be poor, even in central London. Colleagues had commented on it, too.
The staff members at Inchcape Volkswagen were great - as before. There kept me informed by phone and text about my appointment, and on the day I had a technician drive the car while I demonstrated the radio problem.
Of course, it never appeared, but Inchcape didn't give up. Their head technician took the Up overnight, on a longer run, to try to work out the problem. The next day, after a full stereo unit, wiring and aerial check, still nothing could be found.
For the stereo to be swapped under warranty, there had to be proof of a fault. I therefore had to admit defeat, but Inchcape said I was welcome back should the problem reoccur. Not totally successful, then, but the shiny new mirror cap looks great.
By Rory White
Week ending June 7
Total mileage 8542
Driven this week 65 miles
With two kids off for half-term, I borrowed the Volkswagen Up for the week, knowing we would be doing lots of little local trips.
It was a dream from the start. Even though having two doors meant I had to pull the front seat forward for the boys to climb in, they had no trouble at all getting in their car seats and even putting their seatbelts on – result!
There was also a large enough gap between them to stop the usual bickering over space and the neat little cupholders positioned just below the rear windows meant they had everything they needed within reach and I wasn't subjected to 'muuuum, can I have my drink' every 10 minutes.
The Up was amazingly spacious inside and didn't feel cramped at all. The boot was on the small side, but served us well for a few bags of shopping, or a couple of swim bags.
It was super quick too and was nicknamed 'Mr Nippy' by my eldest for the week. We were all a bit sad when Mr Nippy had to go home after half-term, but I'm sure we'll be seeing him again very soon. I'd be keen to meet his five-door brother too.