YAWN, another city car what's so special about this one?

It's a Volkswagen. Yep, that's right, despite building one of the best superminis in the Polo and conspiring to fill every motoring niche it's possible to think of, VW hasn't tried its hand at a city car until now.

What about the Lupo and the Fox? The Lupo went out of production in 2005 and the Foxy follow-up was so badly promoted as to be almost invisible in the UK. So they don't count.

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VW isn't about to make the same mistake with the up! It's shouting the car's merits from the roof tops and says it is the company's most important new car launch in 2012. If things go according to plan by the end of the year it will be selling more up!s than Polos and Golfs.

Shame about the stupid name then. Yes and it gets stupider – the range runs from the Take up!, which costs a wallet-friendly £7,995, to the Move up! (ouch) and the High up! (groan) which will set you back £10,390. There's also the up! black and up! white editions and, when it arrives, an electric version called the e-up! (which should go down a storm in Yorkshire).

But what about the car? It's very, very good. Of course, some of the plastics are a bit gruesome but only where you can't see or touch. All the tactile surfaces of the major controls have that VW quality feel and the driving position is spot on. Who cares if the steering wheel doesn't adjust for reach? Just move your seat forward.

And the engine? It's an all-new alloy three-cylinder in two stages of tune: either 59bhp or 74bhp. That may not sound very exciting but, in the city car world it's not what you've got so much as what you do with it that counts and the little up! just loves to be thrashed. A thoroughly modern design, the powerplant will return decent mpg even driven everywhere pedal to the metal.

So it's a hit then? Undoubtedly and if you don't want the VW there's always the Skoda Citigo or the Seat Mii which are essentially the same car with a different badge.

Why it's great

VW quality at a low, low price. Really neat looks, likely to age very well. Great engine.

Why it ain't

The name has to be Wolfsburg's idea of a joke.


The up! will give Fiat sleepless nights because it has the cute looks of the 500 and the promise of VW quality. Deserves to give the Ford KA a sound spanking.