By: IOL Motoring Staff
You might deem it premature for Volkswagen's Up hatchback to be receiving a facelift less than two years after it was launched here, but remember that it took more than three years to reach us in the first place.
The midlife makeover brings some mild styling enhancements and specification upgrades, while the three-door body style has been dropped from the local line-up.
Yet while European customers now have the option of a 66kW 1-litre TSI turbopetrol engine, our only option remains the familiar but adequate normally aspirated 1-litre unit, rated at 55kW and 95Nm.
The design changes, as you'll see below, are on the subtle side, but there is a new set of headlights with LED daytime running lights as well as a thicker grille and the plastic 'island' in the lower bumper now has a bowtie shape.
New wheel designs, side mirrors with integrated indicators and redesigned taillights round off the external design changes. Inside, the dashboard styling panel has a new 'print-effect' surface and ambient lighting is now available on the options list. Furthermore, all but the entry-level Take Up now have a multi-function leather-covered steering wheel.
Up Beats for sound fanatics
The Up now joins the Polo in offering a 'beats' edition which is fitted with a 300-watt BeatsAudio sound system and some unique styling items, including 'Radial' 15-inch alloys, contrasting side mirrors and ‘beats’ design decals. The six-speaker sound system fitted to this new 'Up Beats' edition also features an amplifier and separate subwoofer.
This or the Vivo?
The Up remains one of the smallest vehicles on the market, with an overall length of just 3600mm, but it's a very space-efficient car with a wheelbase that almost matches the Polo Vivo (2407 versus 2462) and the little Up is almost as wide too, at 1641 to 1650mm.
Pricing for the new range starts at R164 700 versus R170 300 for the cheapest Polo Vivo, meaning it's going to be a toss-up for many brand fans shopping in this segment. Ultimately the Up will appeal to the trendier set while those looking for a larger and more traditional package are likely to stick with the Vivo.
Range, features and pricing
1.0 Take Up - R164 700
Standard kit includes air conditioning, Composition Radio (CD, MP3, SD card), remote central locking, electric windows (front), height-adjustable steering wheel, front and side airbags, ABS, ESC stability control and tyre pressure loss indicator.
1.0 Move Up - R178 300
Adds: Composition Colour infotainment system with 12.7cm colour touch-screen as well as Bluetooth connectivity and USB port, leather multi-function steering wheel, electrically adjustable and heated mirrors, 60:40 split/folding rear bench, body coloured exterior mirrors and door handles and chromed interior door handles.
1.0 Cross Up - R194 700
Adds: 'Cross' design elements including 16-inch alloy wheels, unique bumpers, black protective side and wheel arch mouldings, light silver side mirrors, silver anodised roof rails and ambient cabin lighting.
1.0 Beats Up - R194 700
Over and above the Move Up features, the Beats Up gains 15-inch alloy wheels, Beats Audio 300 watt sound system, 'Maps + More' smart-phone integration, red or black wing mirrors, rear tinted glass, interior mats with red stitching, 3D-effect upper dashpad, seatbelts with red striping and 'beats' cloth upholstery.
What else can I get at the price?
Citroen C1 1.0 VTi Feel - 51kW/116Nm - R149 900
Fiat 500 0.9 TwinAir Pop - 63kW/145Nm - R179 900
Ford Figo 1.5 Trend 5dr - 82kW/136Nm - R182 900
Kia Picanto 1.2 EX - 65kW/120Nm - R183 995
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL - 63kW/113Nm - R164 300
Hyundai Grand i10 1.25 Motion - 64kW/120Nm - R179 900
Renault Sandero 0.9T Dynamique - 66kW/135Nm - R173 900
Toyota Etios 1.5 Xs 5dr - 66kW/132Nm - R172 600
VW Polo Vivo 1.4 Conceptline - 55kW/132Nm - R170 300