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VW up!: First drive review

VW up!

Interesting first drive review here of the new VW up!.

In the U.S., the idea of a car smaller than a Mini conjures mental images of a cramped interior, no trunk space, and a wheezing, gutless engine. (That the Smart Fortwo is one of the only cars sold here shorter than a Mini supports this impression.) It’s always been a different story in other parts of the world, with some such cars enjoying a cultlike following. Volkswagen’s tiny cars have flirted with this sort of immortality on occasion (read a brief history of tiny VWs here), and the company is hoping for similar success with its new Up!, an entirely new minicar being launched in Europe next spring.

For its 139.4-inch length, the Up! has an unusually long wheelbase of 95.3 inches. It is rather wide, too, at 64.6 inches. The four wheels are pushed way out to the four corners, not only helping improve its proportions, but—more important—creating more space for passengers. The trunk can hold nine cubic feet, a number that increases to 34 with the rear seats folded. And, while the rear seats in other cars of this size often are left down because they are absolutely inhospitable, the rear seats of the Up! offer a reasonable amount of headroom. Unless the front-row occupants push their seats all the way back, rear-seat legroom is fine, too.