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.

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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