First Drive: Volkswagen up! five-door
Sector: City car Price: £8,360-£11,475 Fuel: 60.1-68.9mpg CO2: 95-108g/km
Volkswagen’s compact up! has proved itself as a versatile small car in three-door form, but with buyers increasingly looking to downsize it was inevitable that the newcomer would sprout a pair of extra doors at some point. We’ve not had to wait long.
Increasing access adds a menial £365 to the price of the car, and is claimed not to add any extra weight. Even with a few extra kilograms, Volkswagen believes they’re small prices to pay, with over half of UK up! orders expected to have the additional doors.
Unlike the three-door version, the up! is identical in silhouette to its Škoda and SEAT cousins, both of which are now available with rear doors as well. The kicked-up rear window line hasn’t been carried across to the more practical version, but it’s a well-executed update that doesn’t dent the futuristic styling much.
Access is good, too. The rear doors open wide, and the boxy rear end makes it easy to get in and out without stooping too much. What you don’t gain is wind-down windows. Instead, they’re hinged at the front to allow airflow for rear seat passengers, similar to the Toyota Aygo and PSA equivalents. It’s not full five-door functionality, but it’s adequate for cutting stuffiness on short journeys.
Otherwise, the range is identical to the three-door version. Complete with the White and Black special editions, electronically-controlled manual gearbox and a Bluemotion Technology version, which retains its tax-conscious 95g/km CO2 emissions. It’s basic but solidly built inside, and the boot is surprisingly capacious thanks to a hidden compartment under the removable floor.
The five door version also loses none of its sibling’s agility or responsiveness. Both engines are fun to drive, with a gruff roar when worked hard and respectable high speed ability. But they’re also genuinely frugal, aided by the sub-1,000kg kerb weight, which is vital in these cost-conscious times.
While it’s lost a little of its unique styling, the five-door up! gains ease of access that’ll make it simpler not only to carry passengers but to load large objects into the back with the seats folded down. It’s such a good all-rounder, that mostly inner-city would have to question sticking with a larger car.