My driving companion on the Fox launch, a tall athletic girl, wanted to ride in the back for a while. I was about to pull over when she undid her seatbelt. This would be interesting: a tall person clambering from front seat to back in a sub-Polo-sized car. But the expected gymnastic contortion and awkward jostling didn’t happen, and she slid back easily, then almost yelled with excitement: ‘There’s miles of room back here’.
Interior space is the single most impressive feature of the new Lupo-replacing VW Fox, driven for the first time in Autocar last week and tested here in base 1.2-litre petrol form. The smallest petrol engine is also the sweetest in the range, and despite the little three-cylinder’s modest power (55 bhp compared to 75bhp for the 1.4 petrol and 70bhp for the 1.4 diesel) it feels the best match for the Fox, and gives decent acceleration.
We didn’t make enough of the sheer roominess of the car last week, but rest assured, it’s very spacious, with a sliding rear seat giving you the choice between Golf-rivalling boot space and Golf-beating rear legroom. It’s tall, deceptively so, which gives an upright seating position – and in the back, the deep floor leaves you with plenty of knee-room. The rear seat folds and flips upward to give a huge flat-floored space in the load bay.
Some critics on the launch thought the styling – and in fact the whole car – lacked character, but I disagree. The Fox is the kind of simple, unpretentious small car you’d fall in love with if you owned, the sort that if you rented one for a week you wouldn’t want to give back. It is a proper VW, not trying to be anything other than cheap, reliable and highly effective transport, and it will have mass appeal as a highly practical and well-built second family car. If the pricing people at VW can make the base 1.2 Fox close to £6500 in Britain, they won’t be able to import enough of them.