Volkswagen up! 1.0

Beats

 Volkswagen up!, side action
 Volkswagen up!, front static
 Volkswagen up!, front action
 Volkswagen up!, rear static
 Volkswagen up!, dashboard
 Volkswagen up!, wheel detail
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 Volkswagen up!, rear seats
 Volkswagen up!, logo

IT must be a terrifying thought for the car makers - fewer young people are bothering to sit their driving test and taking the bus or train instead.

If the trend continues we might find showrooms awash with new cars no 25-year-old wants to buy, rushing instead to catch the 7.40 train into town.

A good place to start the fight back might be to build a small car that doesn't cost the earth yet feels mightily better than standing all the way to work with your face pressed into the back of someone else's coat.

And, if it's this particular version of Volkswagen's smallest car, you can be rockin' to your favourite tracks all the way to the office car park.

For the little up! comes in an edition called beats, which any 25-year-old will know is a company (actually now owned by Apple) that makes audio products, especially headphones, that they'd be proud to use.

In the case of the VW up! the beats bit is a 300 watt, six speaker sound system that turns the inside of the car into a spacious substitute for a set of 'phones but which also makes Beethoven sound pretty good too.

There are enough beats badges and logos dotted around the car to let onlookers know you're into your music, while red or black door mirrors and special trim and a grey starburst on the dashboard emphasise your cool choice of car.

Dig beneath the beats bits and you discover the same car that showed the world back in 2011 that small didn't have to mean cheap feeling and stripped of content.

A modest facelift later and the up! still does the big-car-made-smaller thing better than anyone else, from the solid feel of everything you see or touch to enough space for four people and a half-decent boot; all in a car that leaves enough room in a car park slot to start a party.

Pick the most powerful of the three 1.0 litre petrol engines on offer and you'll have a car that feels anything but small when provoked. Indeed, you'll have to work hard keeping your cool when everyone else thinks you're easy meat exiting roundabouts and pulls out to pass.

It's an easy - and quiet - motorway performer, happy to nip along at the legal limit with a contented thrum from the little engine up ahead. Light steering and clutch and a delightfully positive gearchange all help too.

Only a firm ride on bad roads shows that you can't conquer every aspect of downsizing on a budget but a 56.6mpg average over a testing week's work brings a ready smile.

So do seriously well priced options, like a mere £235 for heated front seats, front fog lights and electrically warmed and adjusted door mirrors or climate control for £260.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen up! 1.0 Beats

Price: £12,370

Mechanical: 89bhp, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 115mph

0-62mph: 9.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 64.2

Insurance Group: 10

C02 emissions: 101g/km

Bik rating: 19%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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