Sprint Review: Volkswagen Colour Up!

A new car, lots of information in short paragraphs.

What you need to know: Like most local cars – especially cool ones – the Volkswagen up! had been around for a while before it landed here. It’s what the Golf used to be – affordable hatchback transport for the Volk. It’s also what the Polo used to be – smaller and more affordable than a Golf.

At the up!’s local launch 1.5 years ago, Volkswagen only brought in the two-door version as not to cannibalise Vivo sales. The old Polo base of the budget Vivo is a bit different though, presumably so is the clientele, therefore we now get the five-door up! – tested here in one of its more funky derivatives – Colour up!

Some more facts: This car costs substantially more than the base model but, besides rear entrances, you get a lot of extra kit. CD/mp3 radio, front fog lights and power windows, height-adjustable front seats, 60/40 split folding rear bench, power mirrors, window tint, trip computer, plus some leather and chrome trim.

Then there are the colour-specific items, either in Sandstorm Yellow or Fortana Red: exterior mirror caps, side decals and 17-inch “Polygon” alloys. At first I disliked the maroon wheels on our test car but they proved to be incredibly popular. Their 40-series low profile was also not as choppy as I expected.

Where we drove: Eish, just about everywhere! From jammed highways to city traffic, village parking, suburban speed bumps and rutted farm tracks. As mentioned, this up! impressed us with its decent ride quality and reminded us of its practicality – there’s a 251L boot with hidden compartment and space saver spare wheel.

An up! also has ample of room for tall drivers – I can vouch for that. Rear space is a bit minimalist but I origami’d my frame in for a quick trip behind a short front passenger. Comfort is ok, leg-room so-so and head-room surprisingly good. The rear windows only tilt open a few inches (with lock mechanism).

Watch out for: Umm, it’s not very powerful and the five gear ratios are quite far apart. Most of the time you’ll need to cane the 1L three-pot petrol hamster mill to unleash its 55kW or 95Nm. With an unladen weight of 820kg, single occupancy is a bit more fun and the motor responds with more verve and a husky growl.

VWSA claims 0-100km/h in 13.2 seconds (we got 13.75) and 171km/h top whack. That means your overtaking moves should be laced with patience and/or bravery. The upside is claimed average fuel use of 4.6L/100km from the 35L tank. Our decidedly un-average weekly test yielded just above six, which we were happy with.

Why you’ll want one: Volkswagen quality, modern luxuries, decent safety items and a surprising amount of space wrapped in a cheeky shape with cool colour details. Childless interests can also be directed at the cheaper three-door variants while urban cowboys should consider the new Cross up!


Engine:                 999cc in-line three-cylinder Petrol
Transmission:    5-speed Manual, FWD
Max. Power:       55kW @ 6,200rpm
Max. Torque:      95Nm @ 3,000rpm
Avg cons.:           4.6L/100km (claimed)
0-100km/h:         13.2 seconds (claimed)
Top Speed:         171 km/h (claimed)
List Price:           N$ 189,100 (September 2016)



0-10km/h: 0,69 seconds
0-20km/h: 1,52 seconds
0-30km/h: 2,37 seconds
0-40km/h: 3,29 seconds
0-50km/h: 4,47 seconds
0-60km/h: 5,89 seconds
0-70km/h: 7,39 seconds
0-80km/h: 8,92 seconds
0-90km/h: 11,13 seconds
0-100km/h: 13,75 seconds
0-110km/h: 16,58 seconds
0-120km/h: 19,63 seconds
0-130km/h: 25,26 seconds

0-100m: 8,23 seconds @ 75,57km/h
0-200m: 12,41 seconds @ 95,06km/h
0-300m: 15,96 seconds @ 107,73km/h
0-400m: 19,14 seconds @ 118,55km/h

0-10mph: 1,11 seconds
0-20mph: 2,57 seconds
0-30mph: 4,36 seconds
0-40mph: 6,56 seconds
0-50mph: 8,98 seconds
0-60mph: 12,83 seconds
0-70mph: 17,38 seconds
0-80mph: 24,55 seconds

1/4 mile: 19,21 seconds @ 73,83 mph

Altitude: 60m

All data captured by Racelogic® Performance Box

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