Saturday, July 6, 2013
Why the VW Up GT could be the perfect car for West Lancashire
I worked this out the other day when I was buzzing down the country lanes the other day, in a bottom-of-the-range Volkswagen Up. The cheapest car Europe’s biggest car company makes – if you discount its cheaper but otherwise identical cousins, the Skoda Citigo and the SEAT Mii – is one I’ve just the best part of 2,000 miles with. It’s a flawed gem of a car because it comes with as many drawbacks as it does delights – but that’s why I’m convinced this tiny city tot is perfect if you’re darting around the outskirts of Ormskirk.
Its 1.0 litre, triple-cylinder engine is perfect, for instance, for dealing with the rash of 20mph speed limits recently imposed across much of the borough, but it’s very hard work on the motorway. When you put your down, the sixty horses beneath the bonnet don’t rampage to the rescue – they call a meeting, to discuss at length how best to deal with the unexpected demand for some oomph. Eventually, long after the overtaking opportunity’s gone, they reluctantly deal you some speed.
The Up’s also hampered by a tiny boot, but by far its most annoying feature is the lack of fuel range. It’s superbly good at sipping the unleaded rather than downing it like a student at a freshers party, but because it’ll only take £45’s worth you’re forever stopping to fill it up on longer trips. These however, are minor moans about a motor I’ve really grown fond of. I love the faintly Porsche-esque throb the three cylinder motor makes – at least it sounds fast – and that it offers handling, rather than grip, through the bends. It’s also cheap to buy and run, pleasing to behold and far better trimmed on the inside than its Citroen, Peugeot and Fiat rivals.
Its petite proportions mean it’s perfectly sized for the narrow lanes which cris-cross West Lancashire, the suspension’s smooth enough to iron out the bits the county council haven’t got around to mending yet, and the handling means you can tackle the many corners with confidence. In fact, all it needs is a bit more power, to deal with the climb over Parbold Hill.
Luckily, VW has realised this and is getting ready to release the Up GT, the 109bhp hot hatch version, any day now. If they sort out it out with a bigger fuel tank, it really could be the perfect car for West Lancashire’s roads.
Can’t wait to find out.