Faithful readers know all too well that we are very fond of the very ingenious VW Up! and its declinations, the Seat Mii and the Skoda Citigo. We like the way it drives, handles, accelerates, we just love its typical three cylinder throb. We like to drive it on winding open roads, and are fond to use it in town…but also on motorways, where it is capable of some very good high speed cruising .
Moreover, we like the quality feel of the whole car, the precision of all the handles and knobs, the good ergonomics, the roominess of its cabin.
Needless to say that we liked to test a more rugged looking version of the Up!, the so-called CROSS Up!, and put it for you through its paces.
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Our test car came in a fiery red, as did the latest automatic version which we tested. This suits the Up! quite well. And we loved also the bigger wheels, the front and aft protective shields. All this gives the car a more taut appearance, without losing anything of its cute charm.
The Up! looks timeless, has good proportions, and succeeds very well in integrating four wide opening doors in its slender and compact body.
The Up! is also immensely practical, with split folding rear seats, a special "hidden" extra storage area under the luggage compartment.
It is easy to step in and out of, the car is easy to steer, park, manoeuvre, the commands are light, progressive and pleasant.
The Infotainment system provides you with all sorts of information, and even has an economy drive trainer... aptly called "Think Blue"
We also liked the instrumentation, and the detailed information provided by the infotainment system “Maps and More”. It actually incorporates four main functions. Not only is the navigation information flawless and leaving nothing to be desired, the information given on the Garmin display about the car's operations in Halda Twinmaster rally style numbers is without equal, we find personally. It suits so very well the efficient personality and aura of this car, and is a constant joy to look at and use.
The Garmin display will not only show you the right road, but keeps you also informed about the car's functions and outside temperatures, for instance...
There is also a so-called ThinkBlue Trainer, which teaches you the art of economy driving. Last but not least there is a Bluetooth module for the GSM, Audio streaming and radio controls with slot for an SD card.
Enjoy the drive...
The Cross Up! has some very nice mechanical features, which will bring a smile to your face. Last but not least there is the very willing 75 HP three cylinder engine, mated to a super smooth and precise 5 speed manual gearbox.
It is indeed a pleasure to abandon oneself to the "classic" joys of motoring, revving up the engine and listening to its pleasant roar, throwing the silk smooth and precise gearlever through the gears, double declutching when changing down of course.
The 75 horsepowers of this unit give you just that "zest" which makes this sporting driving style very entertaining indeed, add to this the precise steering, the impeccable road holding, and you have all the ingredients for very enjoyable miles or kilometres, especially of course, on winding country roads. The performance of the Cross Up! is entertaining, with a 0 to 100 kph time of 14,2 seconds and a top speed of 102 mph.
The art of economy
Of course, "classic" diving will also deliver classic fuel consumption. With the one litre engine and the relatively light car this is still quite reasonable, but to achieve real economy, one has to concentrate on driving with low revs and change up quickly.
The leather covered steering wheel gets you in a sporting mood...
The gear change indicators will help you a lot, and what's more, the engine becomes very silent under these circumstances, also when it is pulling hard at low revs. This also indicates clearly that the engine is built to do this, and indeed, it takes some getting used to for a "classic" driver to let the engine run this way.
But the consumption drops dramatically, and in dense town traffic, figures of around 4 litres per 100 km are easily achieved.
The Up! stays of course well at home on tarmac. It is not four wheel drive, so it is never meant to be a hero off road. Hence our title of this test: a joy up any road…The ride height is raised by 15 mm, and the underbody is somewhat more protected, so it will take you on many muddy country roads, but it will not do much more than that.
Nevertheless it looks cute on the "chique"" shopping boulevards, and that is no mean feat. With the higher ride one has also a slightly more commanding view over traffic than in the standard Up! version.
The Up! is in this "CROSS" version an very endearing car, full of character, enjoyable to drive, with excellent finish and build quality.
A city companion which will stay faithfully with you for many years, frugal when you want it, and also always willing to show its more sporting character.
Hans Knol ten Bensel