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How to spec a VW Up

  • VW Up winner of What Car? Car of the Year
  • Which engine, trim and options to choose?
  • Here's your step-by-step buying guide
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The VW Up is our Car of the Year 2012 but before you head to the showroom to place your order, take a look at our step-by-step guide to buying the perfect Up.

Three- or five-door?
For the moment, only a three-door version is available, but a five-door will go on sale in the summer. Come back to What Car? next week, when we will have our first verdict on the five-door Up.

Engine
Choosing an engine for the VW Up is relatively straightforward. There is one 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine, offering either 59bhp or 74bhp. It avoids the annoying thrum of three-cylinder engines of old, but the higher-powered version is more eager and copes impressively well at motorway speeds.

You don't need to worry about making a gearbox choice all Ups come with a five-speed manual.

Read the What Car? review of the Volkswagen Up

Trim
There are five versions to choose from Take Up, Move Up, High Up, Up Black and Up White.

The entry-level Take Up model is fairly basic; it sits on steel wheels and doesn't get air-conditioning.

Air-conditioning does come with Move Up models, but the wheels are still made of steel.

For us, High Up is the model to go for. It has alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and, crucially, one of the most feature-packed infotainment systems we've seen in a city car.

The majority of functions are controlled via a removable five-inch touch-screen on top of the dashboard, which has Bluetooth for handsfree calls and to stream music. It also doubles up as a sat-nav.

Up Black and Up White are versions of the High Up with special paint jobs and begin to make the Up look particularly pricey.

Options
Metallic paint is a 450 option, but in our view the standard Tornado Red or Candy White look pretty good and won't be a barrier to prospective buyers when it comes to sell on the Up.

What we would recommend, however, is the 225 Driver's Assistance Pack (400 on basic Take Up models) which won the Safety Award at this year's Car of the Year Awards.

The pack has VW's Emergency City Braking. This useful feature watches the road ahead and applies emergency braking if it decides you are about to drive into the car in front.

Our perfect Up
Price: 10,390
Driver assistance pack: 225
Total: 10,615

Read the What Car? review of the Volkswagen Up

How to haggle when buying an Up
The VW Up doesn't officially go on sale until March, but already you can get around 2.5% off the basic price if you haggle. That would bring it down to 10,150. Remember you can haggle on the price of options, too. Internet brokers can offer great deals, too. Drivethedeal.com can get our perfect Up for 10,060 a 555 saving.

Initial hopes of being able to buy an Up on a 99-a-month leasing plan have been dashed, but keep an eye out on Up offers after the car hits the showrooms.

Do you really want an Up?
That's an important question to ask. If you can wait until the summer the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo virtually identical to the Up go on sale. Choosing between them could be down to personal taste or even which dealer is closest to you, or makes you feel most valued.

Iain Reid