Volkswagen Take up!

We get behind the wheel of the new entry-level VW up! city car

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The Take up! is just as fun and practical as higher-spec models. It has lots of space and a cheeky character. Plus, for an entry-level car, it doesn’t look or feel like it’s missing kit. Buyers who can’t live without air-con or electronic stability control will go for the Move up!, yet anyone looking for the lowest possible purchase price and running costs will find the Take up! a tempting choice.

The entry-level Volkswagen up! is expected to make up around a fifth of the city car’s sales, with the mid-range Move up! being the biggest seller.

But this less expensive Take up! version shouldn’t be overlooked. Outside, there aren’t many differences: it misses out on the more elaborate front bumper and foglamps of higher-spec cars, plus the mirrors and door handles aren’t body-coloured and it has smaller 14-inch steel wheels. Yet the chic design remains, including the glass tailgate.

Video: Watch CarBuyer's video review of the VW up!

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The interior has black detailing around the air vents, but there’s no removable touchscreen. Quality is still great, though, so the Take up! doesn’t feel like a stripped-out model. The only clues to its entry-level status are wind-up windows and 
sparse fabric in the boot, which offers a maximum capacity of 951 litres with the seats folded.

The up!’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine is only available with 59bhp in this spec, but it’s still free-revving and fun to drive. It returns a claimed 62.8mpg and emits 105g/km of CO2.

The Take up! feels great from behind the wheel – it’s not very different from other up! models to drive, and while it could be
a bit more refined, its character wins you over. It’s agile and fun, as it weighs only 929kg (30kg less than the range-topping High up!), but enthusiastic driving will drastically reduce your economy.

The 14-inch wheels deliver a comfortable ride, yet the Take up! is all about feedback: you can feel the road through the steering wheel and hear the gearchanges as you shift through the five-speed manual gearbox (the only transmission offered). But these aren’t worrying sensations – they’re reassuring reminders that you’re driving a no-frills runabout.

The driving position is great and there’s plenty of space for a six-footer, while the rear also offers lots of room for taller
passengers. Plus, there are ISOFIX points for child seats.

The Take up! has a five-star Euro NCAP rating and gets ABS as well as driver, passenger and side airbags. Yet it does miss a few key features, such as air-con and remote central locking, which are standard on the Move up!.

There’s no electronic stability control, either – that’s optional on the Move up!. But the latter trim only costs £975 more than the Take up!, and such features (apart from electric windows, which are part of the £350 Comfort Pack) aren’t even offered as options on the base model. You just have to buy the Move up! if you want them.

So the Take up! is the penny-pinching choice: it’s in the lowest insurance group (1E) thanks to its modest power, but so is the 59bhp version of the Move up!.

A five-speed automated manual gearbox is expected in September – the same month the five-door up! goes on sale.

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