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Volkswagen Fox

The stage is set for VW's bargain Fox to hunt down its budget rivals. Expected to cost only £6,500, the five-door city car has been on sale in South America for a year - but now it has been tuned to meet the demands of British drivers and roads. Aimed at a fast-growing class of value-for-money machines that includes the Kia Picanto and Fiat Panda, the newcomer blends practicality and affordability with the German firm's reputation for quality.

Makers of low-priced city cars beware - soon, no potential buyer will be obliged to sacrifice badge image in order to afford a brand new supermini. Provided VW can get the price right, the Fox could be a hit with those on a budget.

The stage is set for VW's bargain Fox to hunt down its budget rivals. Expected to cost only £6,500, the five-door city car has been on sale in South America for a year - but now it has been tuned to meet the demands of British drivers and roads. Aimed at a fast-growing class of value-for-money machines that includes the Kia Picanto and Fiat Panda, the newcomer blends practicality and affordability with the German firm's reputation for quality.

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To bring the supermini in line with the rest of VW's range, the European version has a redesigned front end with a Touran-style grille and new bumpers. At 3.82 metres long, it is only eight centimetres shorter than the Polo, and a massive 30cm longer than the outgoing Volkswagen Lupo.

Our test car came with the entry-level 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, which makes do with 54bhp. The Fox feels less unwieldy than the heavier Polo - ride quality is equal to that of more expensive models, and handling feels safe and predictable.

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