Volkswagen up! 2016 preview
What we're looking at here is a mid-life update rather than a brand new model. The Volkswagen up! first went on sale in 2012 and before we move into the '171' plate in January 2017 the facelifted edition will arrive. It's not immediately obviously very different, though the front bumper is more attractive and the lights all-round have been tweaked. There are new colours for buyers to choose from, along with a tasty set of 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, there are more options than ever before, and loads of personalisation, along with a new infotainment set-up, while there's also a new turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine making 90hp.
What will its rivals be?
The compact city car sector is particularly small in Ireland, though there are loads of options for those that need such a vehicle. The Volkswagen Group makes the SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo on the same platform as the up! and they're both usually a little less expensive to buy, while one of the best cars in the class is the Hyundai i10. It comes with a great warranty, etc. and it's not the most exciting to look at or drive, but it is the most spacious and well-rounded car in the sector. Others worth a look include the quirky Renault Twingo and triplets born of the same development program in the shape of the Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1.
Any tech info?
One of the most high-tech additions to the up! is a new infotainment system. Volkswagen has ditched the separate optional screen and instead offers buyers the option to attach their smartphone using the dock and Bluetooth and then use the maps+more app to turn the phone screen into a satnav display and a lot more. The ThinkBlue function, for example, helps drivers drive more efficiently, and of course there are loads of music-playing options. It also features a handwriting recognition function for searching. Those that really like their tunes can upgrade to the 300-watt Beats edition.
What will the range be like?
As before, the up! will be available in three- and five-door guises. The trim levels are called take up!, move up!, high up! and Beats up! with prices starting at about €12,000 for a 60hp petrol version with three doors. It's about €500 to step up to the five-door and another €600 to get the 75hp engine. Demand for the new 90hp turbocharged engine is expected to be low, and it may only be offered in the five-door body in high up! specification, at a price of about €17,000. Most versions have a five-speed manual gearbox, though there is a five-speed auto available on the high up! model.
Expect more of the same really. The up! has always been one of the most desirable cars in the class, that VW badge giving it a little more street cred than the SEAT or Skoda alternatives and more showroom appeal than the admittedly better Hyundai i10. Most buyers won't go for the perky new engine, but all should approve of the interior and exterior tweaks.