Our cars: Volkswagen Up - November
Week ending November 30
Driven this week: 230 miles
Volkswagen Up review
The Volkswagen Up dealt with another 160-mile motorway trip with this week, remaining unbelievably quiet and stable for a car weighing just 929kg and carrying seemingly very little sound-proofing.
In the morning, the ambient temperature was approaching freezing point, yet one press of a button later and I had a warm seat in moments. Just a mile into my journey the cabin started to warm up, too.
There's only one niggle I've found so far. When connecting your mobile phone, the Navigon sat-nav unit isn't able to display the last calls you made by name; instead listing them as numbers or even just 'anonymous'.
I can barely remember my own mobile number without having to scan through a list of random digits.
By Rory White
Week ending November 23
Driven this week: 52 miles
Colleagues who’ve driven the new ASG semi-auto version of the Up tell me that it’s best avoided because the gearbox is so poor.
However, the only thing that irritated me about our long-termer when I borrowed it was the fact that the standard navigation system thought Covent Garden was in Holborn.
Week ending November 16
Driven this week: 64 miles
City cars often do 'small' and 'agile' very well, making urban driving a breeze, but driving in the city more often than not involves a little retail therapy. The typically tiny boot that accompanies such cars means getting the shopping home isn't always so straightforward.
The Volkswagen Up does its best to solve that by offering a reasonable 251 litres – the largest boot space in its class – and the clever dividing floor has come in very handy on more than one occasion.
It's a simple design that involves an individual parcel shelf guided by plastic grooves on the boot's sidewalls. The shelf is sturdy enough to keep fragile stuff completely safe on the lower level, while things you need quickly are easily accessed from the top half.
By Rory White
Week ending November 9
Driven this week: 243 miles
I've driven two VW Ups this week: our long-termer, which has a manual gearbox, and the new ASG model, which has a five-speed semi-auto transmission with an electronically controlled clutch.
In full auto mode the ASG chooses when to change gear. Alternatively, you can take control by manually nudging the gearstick. Sadly, this transmission spoils an otherwise brilliant car.
It's too jerky, especially when trying to creep forward or backward at very slow speed. For a city car that will spend a lot of time edging in and out of parking spaces, that's a major flaw.
I'd take our manual version every time.
Volkswagen Up 1.0 75 High Up 3dr
Week ending November 2
Driven this week: 100 miles
It's not just the amount of kit the Up offers that has moved the city car game on so much, it's the type of kit, too.
As October becomes November, one in particular is becoming more and more useful: the heated front seats. They're standard on the High Up, but on Move Up and Take Up models they come as part of the £300 Winter Pack that also includes front foglights and heated door mirrors.
I love them. The speed at which the seats heat up is impressive and there are two heat settings should the higher one make it feel more like July.