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Another 'Up'rising of Volkswagen

With the new Up, Volkswagens plans to up its game at the budget end of the small car segment.

autos Updated: Dec 07, 2011 16:03 IST
Hormazd Sorabjee

Launched in three-door form, the Up is almost true to the original concept launched in 2007.

Like most Volkswagens, the styling is unremarkable and the simple two-box shape, though pleasing on the eye, won’t turn heads. The upright stance, long wheelbase and short nose (it’s taller than the Polo) point to its practical character and promise of interior space.

The tailgate has an outer glass cover and the vertical taillights looks integrated with the hatch. This makes the Up look less heavy.

Speaking of weight, the Up weighs 929kg, making it as light as the i10 and Brio.

High quality interiors-

There’s an appealing brightness to the Up’s cabin and Volkswagens has smartly used painted panels instead of plastic on the dashboard.

Although there is a Spartan feel inside without a proper centre stack and fully clad doorpads, this low-cost solution works well and doesn’t feel cheap in any way.

Volkswagens has carved out every inch of space in the Up’s cabin to offer generous room for passengers.

Unfortunately, this baby Volkswagens can never hope to swallow five large adults the way a Tata Nano can, which proves the point that despite whatever space optimisation Volkswagens has done, the rear-engine architecture of the Nano is unbeatable for space.

A petrol one-litre, three-cylinder engine makes its debut in this car. A compact diesel is on the cards as well, but that won’t arrive for another year.

The engine is amazingly refined and feels a galaxy ahead of Hyundai’s motor in the Eon and is even smoother than Suzuki’s K10.

Both the Up’s engines (60PS and 74PS) are responsive and quick off the block, but when you want to press on, the 60PS unit, which has a weak bottom, feels a touch sluggish. The five-speed gearbox is slick, and given the limited torque of both motors, it’s never a cause for complaint.

The mature dynamics and surefooted handling derived from the finely tuned suspension and large wheels is something you just don’t find in this class.

If there is a fault, it’s that the ride can get choppy on uneven surfaces and the Up pitches quite a bit over undulations. The handling is superb and the Up’s electric steering is one of the best there is.

It’s notably light yet responsive and weights up quite well, so you always have good reassurance from the helm.

Autocar India-

Volkswagen Up

Price: Rs 3.5-4.5 lakh (estimated)
L/W/H: 3,540/1,640/ 1,480mm (3-door model)
Wheelbase: 2,420mm
Kerb weight: 929kg
Engine: 3 cyls in-line, 999cc, petrol
Installation: Front, transverse, FWD
Power: 74bhp at 6,200rpm
Torque: 11.06kgm at 3,000-5,000rpm
Gearbox: 5-speed manual
Fuel tank: 38 litres
Suspension (f/r): Independent, MacPherson struts / Non-independent, torsion beam
Brakes (f/r): Discs/drums
Boot: 251 litres

Verdict
The incredibly user-friendly Up may look basic but has high-quality content which may make meeting the cost targets a big challenge. But VW has a steely determination to get it right. This could be bad news for Maruti, whose former partner could now be its biggest rival.